Whether you’re on the keto diet, managing health conditions, or simply trying to eat healthier, you may find yourself trying to avoid cane sugar. This can prove quite a challenge during barbeque season, with sugar-laden barbeque sauce, coleslaw, and desserts.
There’s no reason to avoid coleslaw this summer if you’re on a sugar-free diet. Store-bought coleslaw and traditional coleslaw recipes have a lot of added sugar, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make this delicious healthy coleslaw recipe without any cane sugar!
With crunchy veggies and creamy dressing, coleslaw is a great way to get some veggies in with your barbeque sides. It is easy to make with simple ingredients and is the perfect side dish for a wide variety of meals.
Cabbage: A good coleslaw has both green cabbage and red cabbage. I like to use a ratio of about four parts green cabbage to one part red cabbage. Slice the cabbages thinly for the best texture and the highest surface area for dressing to stick to.
Carrots: You can buy matchstick carrots at the grocery store or shred whole carrots to get the ideal size for coleslaw.
Onions: Onions add loads of flavor to this coleslaw. This recipe calls for yellow onions, but red onions are also delicious in coleslaw. Slice them very thinly so they aren’t overpowering.
Coleslaw dressing: We will use mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, a sugar substitute, and salt and pepper to make this super simple sugar-free coleslaw dressing. The sugar substitute can be omitted for a less sweet dressing if desired.
How to Make Coleslaw without Sugar
If you are avoiding sugar for any reason, you may be wondering if you can still enjoy coleslaw. It can be surprising how many common savory dishes have sugar in them!
Fortunately, there are a lot of options for making a sugar-free coleslaw. There are many sugar substitutes available with different flavors and sweetness levels. Here are a few that you can use in your coleslaw:
- Maple syrup
- Agave nectar
- Monk fruit
- Coconut sugar
- Date syrup
Alternatively, you can skip the sweetener altogether and embrace a more savory coleslaw.
Which sugar-free sweetener is ideal will depend on your reasons for being sugar-free, your preferences, and availability in your area.
Be sure to check the conversion of sugar to your sweetener of choice. Some of them may be substituted at a 1:1 ratio, but others will require a different amount to achieve the same sweetness.
How to Shred Cabbage and Carrots
You can purchase a bag of coleslaw mix in the produce section at your local grocery store for this recipe. If you prefer to make your own, however, there are a couple of different ways to chop your cabbage.
Before chopping your veggies, remove the outer leaves of your head of cabbage and peel your carrots.
- Run the cabbage through a food processor. This is the fastest way, though it does require more setup and more dishes. Be sure that your food processor has the disk in place rather than the blade. The shredding option is typically too fine for coleslaw, so use the slicing setting for your disk. For carrots, use the shredding disk.
- Chop cabbage manually with a knife and cutting board. This method takes a little bit more time, but it is simpler and dirties just two small dishes. Chop your cabbage into ⅛ – ¼ inch thick slices. For the carrots, use a grater by hand.
What to Serve with Coleslaw
Coleslaw is a great side dish for a lot of different meals. I like to treat it as the salad in a meal and pair it with a protein and another side. Here are a few ideas:
Main dishes: Coleslaw goes great with pulled pork, ribs, burgers, or fried chicken.
How to Store Coleslaw
Coleslaw is a great make-ahead dish; it stays good in the fridge and even develops more flavor over time. Whether you want to meal prep your coleslaw or you find yourself with leftovers, packing it up properly will allow you to enjoy this easy side dish later.
To store coleslaw, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. If you like your cabbage super crunchy, I would recommend storing the dressing separately from the veggies and combining them right before you serve the coleslaw.
How to Make Sugar-Free Coleslaw Keto-Friendly
This recipe is keto-friendly as written if you use a keto-friendly sweetener. Some of the sugar substitutes, while healthier than cane sugar, are not approved for a low-carb diet.
Stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol are three sugar alternatives that are healthy and popular for those on the keto diet.
- Try using white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or red wine vinegar instead of apple cider. The flavor will be less tangy and more smooth.
- Add green onions to your salad for a different onion choice.
- Make a broccoli slaw by using finely chopped broccoli crowns and shredded broccoli stems instead of cabbage.
- Make it vegan by using vegan mayo in your dressing.