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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, 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.

Did you make this recipe?


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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