Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw

Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw

One of the lasting horrors of my youth is white cabbage drenched in poor quality mayonnaise. In other words, good ol’ fashioned coleslaw is to me the stuff of nightmares. I don’t know what it is about mayonnaise, but it brings out the ill-making sulphurous nature of cabbage and tends to spoil it, particularly after a short amount of time has elapsed. This Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw recipe is different; it’s crunchy, flavoursome and light – the perfect vegan accompaniment to delights like falafel, or chickpea burgers.

Slaw ought always to be simple, crunchy and full of a variety of textures. For instance, slaw is a great opportunity to make use of that lonely bag of small seeds at the very back of your well-stocked pantry. Linseeds and sesame seeds function particularly well in this capacity, though sunflower kernels would also perform admirably.

Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw

The most important thing to remember when making your slaw is to chop all the ingredients very finely. It’s important to remember that no one wants to chew their way through half a pound of red cabbage – take your time and slice the vegetables into 1-2mm chunks. If you have a mandolin (the kitchen utensil, not the instrument) then use that – it’ll make perfect spiced red cabbage slaw, assuming you don’t lop off a digit or two (seriously, be careful).

Do you have any favourite slaw recipes? Perhaps you’re a fan of mayonnaise drenched white cabbage that tastes like the rough end of an active volcano? I’m always open to ideas!

Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw

Serves 4-6


  • 1 very small red cabbage, finely sliced
  • ½ a red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 2 tbsp linseeds
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp hot chili flakes
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs (mint, coriander)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare all your ingredients and mix thoroughly in a large bowl. Serve as a side dish, tossing the slaw each time.

Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw

Cost: Red cabbage is so cheap – the specimen I used in this slaw set me back a mere 35p! Since the remaining ingredients are also relatively inexpensive, the entire confection should set you back no more than 70p!

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48 comments on “Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw

  1. Frenchfoodfool
    June 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Excellent approach to cabbage, thanks for that!
    I slightly disagree with the coleslaw bashing, if I may. It CAN be nice but it all depends on a couple of things: The cabbage has to be shredded meticulously; it has to be salted (and softened) for a quite a while before being used; the mayonnaise has to be home-made and excellent and perfectly seasoned; the coleslaw – that’s where I fully agree with you – has to be eaten right away (and may not be allowed to sit around in the fridge for half a week).

  2. countrywoodsmoke
    June 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Wonderful recipe Nick, love the colours, a good slaw is almost always in my fridge over the summer is a family staple.

  3. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    June 30, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Delicious! Love a slaw, and also love the mayo version, providing the mayonnaise is homemade. Mandolines are the work of the devil, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve injured myself on one! But they’re almost essential to get the fine even cut…

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Yes – I accept that home made mayo is acceptable!

  4. cookinginsens
    July 1, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Very pretty photo. I like coleslaw with mayonnaise but I also make one like yours with vinegar instead of lemon. I’ll try the lemon next time 🙂

  5. chef mimi
    July 1, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Absolutely beautiful.

  6. leftoverrecipes
    July 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Beautiful! Just the thing I need for the next BBQ at my place 🙂

  7. Anissa "Li'l Bit" Mathias
    July 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Looks yummy!

  8. Viviane@Taste-Buds
    July 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    This looks so much better than a regular slaw, I can think of a million crudités to add to it: radishes and carrots to name a few, I’d eat it as a standalone salad.

  9. Viviane@Taste-Buds
    July 1, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Oops I missed the carrots in the recipe lol

  10. baconbiscuit212
    July 2, 2013 at 3:54 am

    This looks really terrific, Nick! I think the addition of the seeds is genius. Linseeds? I wonder if that is what we call flaxseeds . . .

  11. Korena in the Kitchen
    July 2, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I worked at the deli in a grocery store when I was in high school, and it put me off coleslaw for years because it was made with this thick, gloppy, glue-like dressing that came in a giant tub. Yech. I’ve since come around and I do actually like creamy coleslaw, but yours looks really tasty!

  12. my sleepy kitchen
    July 2, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I’m totally with you on the mayo-free slaw; I didn’t like “coleslaw” until a couple years ago when I realized it doesn’t always have to be bathed in mayonnaise. I love it with a little yogurt and sunflower seeds mixed in as well, but I’ll have to try adding cumin seeds in to my next batch – sounds great!

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      I shall try yoghurt in a slaw soon – perhaps I’ll even do a recipe soon! Thanks.

  13. DellaCucinaPovera
    July 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I’m right on board with you on those childhood traumas. I could dig into this slaw, though 🙂 Thanks!

  14. Meredith
    July 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I know what you mean– there is a lot of bad slaw out there in the world. I am not opposed to creamy slaw, but I also love a lime cilantro slaw (not creamy, but the cabbage is very thinly sliced). The one you have made is so beautiful!

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      There is indeed! I may try it with yoghurt soon…

  15. Karen
    July 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Nice mix of textures and flavors in you slaw.

  16. ivan30075
    July 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    If I were going to have mayonnaise, and I might well, then it will be in a bowl of its own – a dollop added at the very last moment. I might try fennel seed in your recipe in place of the cumin seed just as a variation (and I have a lot of it). I can’t wait for the chick-pea fritter recipe; it should be a match made in heaven.
    I shall try this at the weekend, which looks like having weather to suit such Mediterranean delights. You went to Spain at just the right time, so it would seem.

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Yes, mayo by the side is acceptable. Spain was great, but the weather has followed me – delightful.

  17. taplatt
    July 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I love red cabbage, too. Sometimes I’ll make a tahini-lemon juice-olive oil dressing for cabbage salads.

  18. Sophia
    July 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Yes, totally agree re the horrors of the classic coleslaw. I am sure it can be nice if feshly made using homemade mayonnaise but I certainly have never come across coleslaw, whether homemade or in a restaurant setting, that was able to convince me of its virtues. But I do love a good cabbage salad or slaw, not sure which term is appropriate if you don’t use the typical mayonnaise.

    My favourite way of preparing red or white cabbage is to start by slicing the cabbage very thinly, and yes, a mandoline is the perfect way of getting even thin slices. Next you need to mix the cabbage with plenty of salt and leave it to stand somewhere for around 1, ideally with someing heavy on to of the cabbage to help release the water from the cabbage. You then wash all that salt off the cabbage before dressing it with some neutral tasting oil, some vinegar and salt and pepper. For a more traditional German cabbage salad you could add cumin seeds as well, but I prefer the simple version.

    And this type of cabbage salad I can eat by the bucket, either on its own but even better if served alongside some grilled meats or indeed if used to fill some sliced Turkish flatbread that’s already been stuffed with some grilled lamb kofte, some crumbled feta, fresh tomatoes, some pickled chilies and a garlicky and minty yoghurt sauce – summer dish perfection!

    • frugalfeeding
      July 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      I could eat so much of this too. You’re clearly a slaw aficionado.

  19. PS MacMurray
    July 7, 2013 at 12:17 am

    It has been a while since I’ve caught up with your blog. Glad to have some time this evening. I’ll have your version of coleslaw anytime over “mayonnaise drenched white cabbage that tastes like the rough end of an active volcano.” I remember working in a sandwich shop, years ago. They sold different salad mixtures, including mayonnaise drenched slaw that was refreshed every day for three days straight by adding a bit of slaw and yet more mayo. The sight of this changed me forever I think!!

  20. Alice @ Nom Nom Cat
    July 9, 2013 at 6:10 am

    i prefer vinegary slaws over mayo-based ones, so i’ll have to try this recipe! more importantly, those are gorgeous photos. i’ve never seen red cabbage look quite so attractive :3


  21. MzDezy
    July 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Ugh is all I can say about mayo drenched slaw! I live in Columbus, OH and that is the type of coleslaw that everyone here loves. Originally I’m from NE Ohio and there we’re all about vinegar slaws…I miss it. I recently made a peach coleslaw! I love to see variations..I will have to try this recipe out!

    • frugalfeeding
      August 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      I’m glad you agree with my way of thinking. Mayo slaw is a bit gross.

  22. lovinghomemade
    August 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Making this tomorrow. Thanks!

  23. Danielle Elizabeth
    August 13, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Currently going mad for my recent invention of Kaleslaw teehee! Kale, sweet peppers and red onion or spring onion. Dressed in a sweet soy dressing (dark soy sauce, lemon juice, maple syrup and sesame oil). So good! Gonna try this, sounds lovely, and I like red cabbage lots

  24. thekalechronicles
    October 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    Yum! Cumin in slaw.

  25. Food to Fitness
    December 5, 2013 at 5:04 am

    Great recipe. Bright and healthy, thanks for sharing.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks – very healthy indeed. Plenty of nutrients!

  26. plasterer bristol
    December 17, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Yummy!! not tried this before, sounds lovely. Thanks for sharing.


  27. Thomas Coleman
    September 5, 2016 at 3:41 am

    thank you for the spiced red cabbage slaw recipe as I was not sure what this was. I am going to try this tomorrow. It looks and sounds very delicious

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