Gluten Free Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

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!

48 replies on “Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw”

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).

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!

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!

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!

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.

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!

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!!

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!

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

[…] Potato cakes are the last word in frugality. Any dish that takes leftover mash and transforms it into a different meal entirely – with the help of only a handful of extra ingredients – deserves a great deal of praise indeed. Of course, you may wish to serve your Gluten Free Potato Cakes with a little something else – smoked mackerel is a particular favourite – but they are just as satisfying with a side salad or slaw. […]

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