Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad

I know there are some mayo haters out there.

But even if you don’t mind mayo, you probably won’t mind a lighter cabbage salad recipe.

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) - This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn't coated with gobs of mayo & you won't miss it!

I love cabbage salad and coleslaw, but if there was ever a way to take a virtually calorie-free and healthy food like cabbage and turn it into a diet derailer, all you have to do is coat it with cups of mayo and mission accomplished.

This healthy salad is light, fresh, and perfect for summer. In addition to being bikini-friendly, you don’t have to worry about the mayo factor and it spoiling if the salad is outside in warm temperatures.

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) - This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn't coated with gobs of mayo & you won't miss it!

It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free, and super fast and easy to make. Plan ahead so it can marinate for at least 6 hours in the fridge. Over time, the cabbage and vegetables soften and the flavors marry.

It’s made with an apple cider vinegar-based dressing so it’s pleasantly tangy, and the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar used for the entire recipe lighten sweeten the salad and balance the vinegar.

You can make it spicy by adding a pinch of cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes. Spicy slaw makes a great topper for burgers, sandwiches or you can pile it onto chips and wash them down with ice cold All-Natural 3-Ingredient Margaritas.

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) - This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn't coated with gobs of mayo & you won't miss it!

The bagged cabbage blend I used contained carrots, and I bulked up the salad and the crunch factor by adding orange bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, and edamame. The crunch factor is off the charts, and I love that.

You can also keep it plain Jane, minus any extra veggies, but I find myself gravitating toward the chewy edamame, juicy cucumbers, and crunchy peppers and picking those out first.

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) - This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn't coated with gobs of mayo & you won't miss it!

Use the recipe as a freezer, fridge, or pantry cleanout opportunity and toss in whatever you have from peas to pineapple to pepitas. It would be excellent dressed with peanut sauce for an Asian-inspired twist.

I estimate that for a 1 cup serving you’re looking at 50 calories max. I haven’t plugged in the data to an online calculator, but there’s only 60 calories in the 4 cups of the cabbage/carrot blend I used. Factor in the additional vegetables and the fat-free, low-cal dressing, and this is a very light recipe.

Value-based eating at it’s finest.

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) - This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn't coated with gobs of mayo & you won't miss it!

But you’re not compromising anything on taste. The sweet-and-tangy dressing is so good and makes you want bite after bite. Sweet-and-sour (or spicy) foods tent to do that. The more you have, the more you want.

You definitely won’t miss any gobs of mayo or those empty calories and fat grams as you crunch away on this.

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, GF) - This healthy cabbage salad/coleslaw isn't coated with gobs of mayo & you won't miss it!

Print Recipe

Skinny Mayo-Less Cabbage Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

This healthy salad is light, fresh, easy, and perfect for summer. It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free, and I estimate it contains less than 50 calories per 1 cup serving. The bagged cabbage blend I used contained carrots, and I bulked it up by adding orange bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, and edamame. Use what you have on hand and enjoy. Plan ahead so the salad can marinate for at least 6 hours and it can be made up to 24 hours in advance, noting that the longer it sits, the more water the vegetables will release. The sweet-and-tangy dressing is so satisfying and you'll want bite after bite. Healthy never tasted so good.

Yield: about 6 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 6+ hours, for marinating


1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 heaping tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
pinch salt, to taste
about 4 cups sliced green cabbage (I used half of a 16-ounce bagged blend of green cabbage and carrots)
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (I used orange)
1/2 cup corn (I used frozen straight from the freezer)
1/2 cup diced cucumbers
1/2 cup cooked edamame


  1. To a large mixing bowl, add the vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, salt, and whisk to combine.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Toss well to make sure everything has been well-coated.
  3. Transfer salad into a large Tupperware-type container with a lid, or cover mixing bowl with plasticwarp, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours; or up to 24 hours. If marinating longer than 6 hours, stir mixture once or twice to re-coat the vegetables evenly. Re-refirgerate until serving.
  4. Serve salad by itself, or on top of sandwiches or burgers, or as a chip or cracker dip. Salad will keep for up to 3 days. As time elapses, vegetables will release their juice and become softer, and amount of liquid in container will increase.

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  1. It’s the perfect recipe for summer: light, fresh, simple and sooooo easy to make. I love it!

  2. I always love trying your salads–so you know I’ll be all over this one too!! It looks light and refreshing with some zip from the acv. Funny you posted a cabbage recipe today because I planted nappa, carrots and beets in my little raised bed this year and everything is just starting to come up (so exciting–like watching that scoby form in my kombucha). I told Jon we’d be eating a lot of slaw later this summer!

    • Oh what are the ODDS that you planted that stuff and bam, a cabbage salad recipe from me. In 5+ yrs, Ive never made one and thought, okay, that’s new, I can do that :) Lmk if you try it and what you think!

  3. Oh I was drooling as I was reading.. can’t hurt to save another light recipe ;) I think I’ll bring this to our barbeque. It will be a big hit, I’m sure. Can’t wait to try :D thank you for sharing

  4. Must be a slaw kind of day… I’ve got a (mayo-less, also!) one on my site today as well! This looks great… LOVE the edamame. I can just imagine how addicting this is!

  5. This looks beautiful! I love kale in salads. Looks great! I’ll be honest. I’ve been scared to try it, too. But I keep hearing people like it, so maybe I’ll give it a try sometime :)

  6. Well this looks delicious and I might add it to our BBQ menu in a few weeks. Thanks for the recipe Averie! I was thinking an apple might be nice in here as well maybe a tart Granny Smith.

  7. I love salads with edamame in them…and the fact that its mayo free is awesome…I just learned on Dr. Oz the other day that you actually lose weight when you eat cabbage and it’s a cancer fighter…bring it on…

    • I know that cabbage is really good for you and I’ve heard it’s one of those foods like celery, it costs more for your body to break it down than it has caloric value and hey if Dr Oz says it, then it’s a fact :)

  8. What a beautiful salad, Averie! Apple cider vinegar sounds like it makes a delicious dressing, and I love the addition of edamame in here! One of my favorite salad ingredients! Pinned!

  9. I love salads like this and eat them all the time. Zucchini is a great addition too. I often add a little mustard and honey to the dressing. So good and now I’m craving it. Oh and it’s even better with balsamic and mustard as the dressing.

  10. This is the perfect summer/spring salad. YUM! :)

  11. This looks so fresh, flavorful, and crunchy! (That’s a good thing!) I’m one of those that is not a fan of mayo, which is why I usually don’t like salads like this one. Yours looks fantastic!

  12. I love cabbage salad more and more lately, and like you said, I can’t stand mayo. This looks so fresh and yummy! Sometimes I think that apple cider vinegar doesn’t get the attention it deserves :)

  13. I love cabbage salads! And mayo is hit or miss for me – sometimes it’s okay, but usually not a huge fan, so this is perfect! The plate you used in these photos are so cool! Pinned :) Hope you had a great weekend Averie!

  14. I love that this isn’t covered in mayo! Not necessarily for health reasons, but because I am not a huge mayo fan. Can’t wait to try this one Averie!

    • Thanks for stopping by and saying hi and congrats on your new house! I’ve been following along on everything :)

      And I know some people are just NOT into mayo – for no other reason that just the taste!

  15. Ain’t that the truth! Slaw totally defeats the purpose of cabbage, although boy do I like it! :) This tangy, lighter version looks absolutely incredible. I love how it would survive the heat of a cook out, but is perfect for a dinner or lunch. Pinned!

  16. Yum! Looks super light and fresh! I really like the addition of the edamame. I need to start eating healthier lunches, and this fits the bill.

  17. Perfect light lunch!

  18. What a great summer lunch recipe! Looks delicious!

  19. I love cabbage. So of course I love cole slaw. I love the colors in this version. Plus you could easily add chicken or chunks of salmon and really make a lunch salad out this recipe.

  20. I do love how versatile slaw can be.
    And if you dress it up right you really don’t need mayo.
    It’s weird how we both posted cabbage today!
    Yours is perfect for fish taco’s!

    • You know when I made this, I thought about actually doing it with fish tacos but that then seemed like way too much to prep and deal with…LOL And yes, great minds today :)

  21. Ha, after our email today, this made me laugh. I hate mayo, aioli and anything that remotely looks like it. Hence, I’ve never had coleslaw. But this? Needs to happen. Also? I need to try edamame. I know, right?

    • I can see you being picky about mayo, aioli, etc. And yes you totally do need to try edamame. LOL I think it was one of Skylar’s first foods. I can’t imagine life without it! ha!

  22. Mayo hater right here! This recipe is perfect for me! Pinned!

  23. Averie, I am myself not too much of a mayo person and this salad looks just delicious with all the crunch!

  24. I’m loving this mayo-less cabbage salad. As much as I enjoy a creamy dressing now and then, it does nothing for my waistline. I’m thinking this weekend will be the perfect time to give this salad a try! Pinned!

  25. I hate mayo, I love ACV and coleslaw. AND I just bought a head of cabbage and a gallon of ACV last night! AND I am going to a pot luck on Thursday. I know what I’m bringing!

    • I thought you’d like this one. Like raisins, and bananas, mayo is another food that until I started blogging I had no idea how many people were really really not into it!

  26. I’m all about a crunchy, fresh salad (without mayo). This is perfect for summer BBQs!

  27. For those of us post-menopausal, slightly “cooking” the cabbage in the microwave for a minute or two breaks it down a bit. Dare I say what my grandfather used to warn against, “Tie down the covers tonight!” – ?

  28. What a beautiful, bright summer salad! Totally making this salad this summer! Thank you for a great recipe, Averie!

  29. I love cabbage salad, and I have to admit that I don’t mind the mayo. But on days I want something light, this is a perfect version of cabbage salad. Thank you so much for sharing, Averie! :)

    • Thanks for saying you don’t mine mayo from time to time – I was beginning to think that everyone out there despises it and I may never be able to blog about it again :) LOL So many people have said they loathe it!

  30. the most colorful salad I have ever seen and you knocked it out of the ballpark with the combo of cabbage and edamame. my two favs for summer time

  31. This looks so good. As I was reading I was thinking of the parties/BBQ’s I am going to take it to. I love the idea of a little sweetness with the brown sugar but might have to try some cayenne too. Thanks for the great recipe…Pinned! I also pinned the pumpkin spice brown rice cranberry salad…yum!

  32. I have to admit, I’m a total mayo hater… and that is why this looks so delicious! Its so refreshing to see salads that are typically coated in mayo to be in their natural state. The colors are much more vibrant, and the dish looks fresh and tasty! Good job!

    • I think when veggies are fresh, most often, the less you do to them, coat them, smother, smear, change, etc them, the better! Focus on the fresh ‘n crispy taste is what I prefer!

  33. This is incredible! If I’m going to eat a lot of fat and calories, I don’t want it to be from coleslaw or mayo… It needs to be from chocolate, peanut butter, or ice cream instead! I love how you went with apple cider vinegar instead of Greek yogurt. I would’ve have thought of that, but that tang sounds delicious!

  34. So totally gorgeous for spring!! I got a bikini to squeeze into – this oughta help!!

  35. Heather Cannon Reply

    This looks AMAZING, but you lost me at ketchup……please tell me I can’t taste the ketchup AT ALL or that I can leave it out all together and I will make this salad this weekend. I LOVE cabbage salads!

  36. Scrolling through your blog I see so many fresh wholesome foods and it makes me so happy! It’s so refreshing to read all your recipes. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  37. I found this salad over on Pinterest. I love cabbage salads, but hate the calories in mayo based versions. I’ve linked to your recipe on this week’s healthy recipes roundup on my blog, and can’t wait to give it a try.

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