This vegan coleslaw recipe features shredded cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and green onions tossed in a tangy, oil-free, sesame ginger dressing. It’s extremely easy to make, and it’s bursting with bright and tangy flavors! Add texture, color, and layers of flavor to any meal with this delicious dish.
This tangy vegan coleslaw features shredded red and green cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and green onions and it’s tossed in the most delicious and zippy sesame ginger dressing! This easy vegan side dish is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and superfoods, and it’s a healthy twist on traditional creamy coleslaw because this version is made with no mayo!
You can use this vegan slaw for tacos, piled high on veggie burgers, or as a side dish to baked almond butter tofu and broccoli. This family-favorite recipe is easy to make and it’s perfect to bring a big bowl to family gatherings, to a potluck with friends, or to make for the Fourth of July!
How to Make Vegan Coleslaw
Put all of the vegan coleslaw dressing ingredients into a small blender cup (I used a Nutribullet blender) and blend on high until the sauce is smooth and creamy. If you don’t have a blender, you can make the coleslaw dressing by hand. Whisk together the almond butter, tahini, tamari, lime juice, rice vinegar, hot sauce, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Grate the fresh ginger and garlic and stir it into the dressing.
Put the thinly sliced cabbage (learn how to easily shred cabbage, here), carrots, cilantro, and green onions into a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture in the bowl and toss it well to evenly distribute the dressing. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for one hour to chill.
What Goes With it?
I usually serve this vegan coleslaw as a side dish to lentil sloppy joes, vegan BLT sandwiches or as a topping on vegan pulled pork sliders or vegan pork tacos. It’s also a great option to bring to potlucks, BBQs, and family gatherings.
Can I Make it in Advance?
Vegan coleslaw tastes best when it’s made fresh, but you can make it one day in advance if you need to. If you want to prep the coleslaw more than one day in advance, you can do this by prepping the vegetables (except the cilantro because it will turn brown) and making the dressing, but don’t dress the salad until you’re ready to eat it. Store the vegetables and dressing in separate containers in the fridge.
How Long Does it Last in the Refrigerator?
The sesame ginger vegan coleslaw will stay fresh for 3-5 days if stored properly in an airtight container in the fridge. After 3 days, it may get a little soggy, but you can drain the excess liquid before serving if there’s a lot.
How to Keep Coleslaw From Getting Soggy?
After a few days in the fridge, the cabbage tends to release water and makes the slaw a little soggy. There is a way to stop this, but I don’t usually do it because it requires an extra step that I usually don’t plan the time to do. The excess liquid doesn’t bother me, I just drain it before I serve the coleslaw.
If you want to do the extra step to stop the cabbage from releasing excess liquid, slice the cabbage and put it a large colander in the sink before you add it to the bowl with the rest of the coleslaw ingredients. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of salt over the cabbage and mix it in with your fingers. Let it sit for about 2 hours, and the salt will pull the water out of the cabbage. Rinse the cabbage well to get all the salt off, dry it in a salad spinner, and then follow the recipe instructions to make the coleslaw.
Can You Freeze it?
No, don’t freeze this vegan cabbage coleslaw. Cabbage doesn’t retain it’s texture once it’s frozen and defrosted. The only way I like to freeze cabbage is if it’s in vegan cabbage soup or lentil cabbage rolls. However, you can freeze the sesame ginger dressing separately if you want to.
Ways to Adapt this Recipe
This vegan cabbage slaw is delicious enjoyed as a side dish to almost any main course, but you can switch it up to enjoy it in a few different ways:
- Add Rice Noodles: Turn this coleslaw into a substantial meal by mixing 2-3 packs of (my favorite) cooked gluten-free millet and brown rice ramen noodles. This meal can be enjoyed hot or cold.
- Spring Rolls: Don’t dress the coleslaw. Instead, fill a rice paper wrapper with a hearty serving of the plain cabbage, cilantro, carrots, green onions, and cooked vermicelli noodles, and wrap it up. Use the coleslaw dressing as a sauce to dip the spring rolls in.
- Tofu Wraps: Use the sesame ginger coleslaw as a filling in these baked tofu wraps. It’s an easy way to add more vegetables to your meal!
- Make a Salad: Mix 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach with 1-2 cups of the coleslaw to jazz up your daily salad + add extra fiber!
- Add Plant-Based Protein: Add a boost of protein to the vegan slaw by adding 1 cup of cooked edamame. It will taste delicious and the bright green color will add even more color to this already colorful dish.
Substitutions & FAQ
- Cabbage Substitutions: You can use all green cabbage or all red cabbage to make this vegan coleslaw. You could also substitute broccoli slaw or napa cabbage instead of the red or green cabbage.
- Carrot Substitutions: Thinly sliced pieces of bell peppers, jicama, golden beets, parsnips, or zucchini can be used instead of carrot sticks.
- Almond Butter Substitutions: You can substitute peanut butter or sun butter (nut-free) for almond butter.
- Tahini Substitutions: Instead of using tahini, you can add 1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds to the coleslaw or add 1 tsp of sesame oil to the dressing.
- Rice Vinegar Substitutions: You can use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar instead of the rice vinegar.
- Tamari Substitutions: Soy sauce or coconut aminos can be used instead of tamari.
- Can I use dried ginger? Fresh ginger is best to use in the vegan coleslaw dressing, but you can use dried ginger if that’s what you have on hand. Start with 1 tsp of dried ginger and add more to taste.
- What can I do with the cilantro stems? Don’t throw out the cilantro stems, they’re 100% edible and contain a lot of flavor! Just chop up the stems and add it to the coleslaw or you can use the stems to make this vegan chipotle mayo.
- Use a bag of pre-shredded cabbage or carrots to save time and make this vegan slaw even easier to assemble.
- If you don’t want the coleslaw to get soggy after a few days in the fridge, you can salt the cabbage before you dress it to draw out the excess liquid. It’s an extra step, but it’s worth the effort if you want to skip the drip.
- After you cut off the piece of ginger that you’re going to use for the dressing, use a spoon to peel the skin off the rest of the ginger knob. Put the peeled ginger in an airtight container and store it in the freezer until the next time you need fresh ginger. It will stay fresh for months and freezing the ginger makes it so easy to grate!
- Store the leftover coleslaw in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Vegan Sesame Ginger Coleslaw
- Small Blender Cup
- Large Mixing Bowl
Sesame Ginger Dressing -
- 5 cups green cabbage thinly sliced
- 5 cups red cabbage thinly sliced
- 2 cups carrots thinly sliced
- 1 cup cilantro roughly chopped (add more to taste)
- 1 cup green onions sliced
- Put 2 tbsp almond butter, 1 tbsp tahini, 2 tbsp tamari, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp hot sauce, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 garlic clove, and a 2-inch knob of ginger into a small blender cup and blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- Put the thinly sliced red and green cabbage, carrots, green onions, and cilantro into a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.
- Cover and put the coleslaw in the fridge to chill for 1 hour before serving.
- Use a bag of pre-shredded carrots to save time and make this vegan coleslaw even easier to assemble.
- If you don't want the slaw to get soggy after a few days in the fridge, you can salt the cabbage before you dress it to draw out the excess liquid. It's an extra step, but it's worth the effort if you want to skip the drip.
- After you cut off the piece of ginger that you're going to use for the dressing, use a spoon to peel the skin off the rest of the ginger knob. Put the peeled ginger in an airtight container and store it in the freezer until the next time you need fresh ginger. It will stay fresh for months and freezing the ginger makes it so easy to grate!
- Store the leftover coleslaw in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
*This recipe was originally shared on 4/25/15, but I updated it with better recipe instructions on 7/2/20.