How to make an unforgettable coleslaw

This quick and easy salad will be the draw card at your next backyard cookout or picnic in the park. It looks stunning and it's built with a medley of striking colours. You'll want to make this again and again. 

Exploring diverse and surprising flavours has always been my game. I guess I was lucky enough to enjoy all kinds of food from a young age. I was chomping on veggie sticks before my first teeth came through, I can recall all the times kids in the playground would point at the “weird lettuce” in my sandwich, and even today I raise a few eyebrows with my strange food obsessions (my currents are ginger and tahini). 

Everyone has a unique set of taste sensitivities, influenced by exposure to flavour, geographic location and even genetic factors.

As you grow up, your taste perceptions change as you open to new food experiences. 

I find it amazing that you could spend your entire life tasting every weird vegetable, fragrant spice and condiment without even scratching the surface. When it comes to your palate, the world is literally your oyster.

But I was never immune to disliking foods; because when it came to coleslaw it was a different story. I wasn’t a fan of mayo (this has thankfully changed), and my experience with coleslaw could be likened to eating thick, pasty goop. It was all cream and chemicals to my taste buds. 

Boy was I wrong. As it turns out, my narrow experience of this salad icon couldn’t have been further from the truth. When I learnt the foolproof way to creating fresh coleslaw without the mayo, my aversion quickly dissolved and I’m really glad it did.

The secret to a head-turning coleslaw salad. 

So I’ll share with you what I know about making unforgettable coleslaw that explodes with rainbow colour, texture and flavour. This slaw recipe is more than just a side. It can stand alone as a feature salad for picnics, a backyard barbecue with friends or shared at the worktable. You can (and should) use this recipe to lift the wow factor on your sandwiches and burgers. Plus it’s a lot of fun to make.

Forget the standard coleslaw you once knew and try this method instead. Scroll down the bottom of the page for the recipe.

Select a variety of colours and textures. 

Most salads begin with a base ingredient. In the land of coleslaw, this means a bed of shredded red and white cabbage and an even measure of carrot. Once you’ve done this, you’ve satisfied the traditional requirements for a slaw. 

Now you have some freedom to play around with ingredients that suit your style. This is where the fun begins. What works best are crisp veggies married with softer textures. 

For the crunch component, try veggies like red capsicum, sliced radish, cucumber and grilled corn. Mix this with avocado, baby spinach leaves and mango for a knockout combination. By choosing a variety of colours, your salad not only looks fantastic, it overflows with the kind of nutrients responsible for an unbeatable happy glow. So make sure you eat from the rainbow. 

Create lush and layered beauty in a bowl. 

Lately I’ve been inspired by the Poke bowl craze sweeping through urban Australia. It’s basically the salad bowl of the moment that combines vegetables, sashimi and rice. Some of the best ones look like mini works of art. The key is to segment the bowl into colours and layers of curly greens and fresh veggies, plus decorative finishes like sesame seeds, chilli, herbs and seaweed. 

By applying this Poke bowl concept to your own salad bowl, you can create fanfare of your own. Imagine the looks on everyone's faces when you show up with a beautifully layered salad to share around. 

Whip up this creamy no-mayo dressing. 

This zesty vinaigrette is light and vibrant without overpowering the ingredients in the salad. In a bowl, add 3 parts olive oil to 1 apple cider vinegar, plus the juice of ½ lime, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a squeeze of honey. Season to taste.

For a slightly creamier option try swap the mustard for 2 tablespoons of tahini. Made from sesame seeds, tahini has a rich and nutty taste that works brilliantly in dressings. Once the taste grows on you it will become your weapon in the kitchen (especially for vegans). 

If you want to step it up just a little, head to your back garden and pick a few herbs. For coleslaw I like to use a few basil or mint leaves. You’ll find basil and mango to be a perfect partnership. 

Have fun building an unforgettable coleslaw and wowing your guests with style.

Which unique ingredient will you add to your bowl? 

Click here for the full recipe. 


A coleslaw salad without the mayonnaise, Love My Salad

Salad story by

Callum Roberts

Callum Roberts

Food blogger / food writer

Life’s too short to eat average food, and vegetables and salads are anything but average. They’re packed with feel good chemicals, rainbow colours and flavours that dare you to explore the... Read more

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