Tangy and full of sweet honey flavor, this refreshing Vinegar Coleslaw recipe is full of tender veggies olive oil, sharp vinegar and tangy garlic! It’s easy to make, so flavorful, and the perfect dairy-free alternative to a classic potluck side!
Recipe By Leidi Rodriguez
I have an unpopular opinion to share with you all: I don’t love mayonnaise. Sure, I can tolerate it on a sandwich (if spread in moderation) but I’ve got my limits. Coleslaws are traditionally made using a mayonnaise-based dressing, so I often steer away from them.
I know, I know. That’s a hot take. But everyone’s got their thing right? A few years ago, I was introduced to vinegar-based slaws via a Salvadoran relish called curtido. This tangy, lightly fermented slaw is typically served with warm, stuffed tortillas aka pupusas.
That coleslaw experience completely changed my perspective and since then I’ve been on the hunt for the best vinaigrette dressed coleslaw. The hunt might just be over though.
Today’s sweet and zesty Vinegar Coleslaw with collard greens is nutritious, delicious, and so wildly easy to make! It’s perfect to serve as a side to your summer bbq or eaten all on its own.
This healthy coleslaw recipe with vinegar is full of tender, crunchy, flavorful vegetables. Each bite is juicy and uniquely textured! But, don’t worry, we’re not working with anything you couldn’t easily find at the market or already sitting in your own kitchen.
Let’s talk a little about the VIP ingredients here:
Collards are members of the cabbage family and a staple side dish in Southern cooking. They’ve got dark green leaves and tough stems. The flavor of collards is a cross between cabbage and hearty kale, sort of bitter with a mellow earthiness.
Honey is sweet, woody, and fruity. It coats the coleslaw in a layer of sticky goodness. I recommend using high-quality, bold honey.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is made out of fermented apples, so it has sort of a sweet and sour flavor to it. It’s the ingredient that gives this slaw a vibrant, acidic taste.
When combined with a liquid, ground mustard releases an essential oil that has a sharp flavor and fresh aroma. It sort of works as a flavor enhancer here.
Celery seed tastes a lot like celery, except that the seeds have a savory, earthy taste as well as a bitter flavor.
Coleslaw Recipe Vinegar Variations- Vegan Coleslaw
You don’t need to strictly follow this recipe for it to be delicious. In fact, I encourage you to work with what you have or simply think outside of the box!
Here are a few of the swaps you could make for this coleslaw recipe vinegar option:
- Collard Greens- kale, mustard greens, or Swiss chard
- Green Cabbage- red cabbage or shaved Brussels sprouts
- Red Bell Pepper- yellow, orange, or green bell pepper
- Red onion- shallots
- Honey- maple syrup
- Ground Mustard- yellow or Dijon mustard
- Celery Seed- celery salt, dill seeds, oregano
How To Make Vinegar Coleslaw
This sweet and tangy vinegar coleslaw comes together in just 15 minutes! Be sure to properly rinse and dry your vegetables before starting, especially the collard greens.
Fresh greens can hold a lot of dirt and grit, so they need a few cycles of rinsing in cold water.
Toss and combine the shredded and/or chopped veggies very thoroughly. A large salad bowl or salad spinner is helpful here!
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar-based vinaigrette. Pour the dressing over the slaw mix and toss to coat. You’ll want to taste the coleslaw at this point so that you can decide how you’d like to season it. Maybe you’d like it to be sweeter so you add more honey? Or maybe you’d like to add more of a peppery kick! Trust your taste buds!
You don’t need to wait to serve your slaw but I recommend refrigerating it for at least an hour. I prefer a chilled temperature and the flavors need time to settle.
What to Serve it with
I love serving this coleslaw as a bright, refreshing side at spring and summer bbqs! Its crisp and vibrant flavors perfectly cut through hearty meats and creamy sauces.
TIP: Collard Green Coleslaw can be made into a large, hearty salad by adding a protein, croutons, nuts and seeds, avocado, etc.
Can you make it ahead?
I actually recommend making this recipe a day or so ahead of time so the flavors have time to marinate and the veggies ferment a bit. Don’t get me wrong- it’s still delicious when eaten fresh, but the coleslaw just seems to get better with time.
How Long Does It Last In The Fridge?
After prepping, Collard Green Coleslaw should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
Grandbaby Cakes Best Summer BBQ Sides
Serve this sweet and tangy coleslaw with a few other of GBC’s delicious sunny day sides:
- Baked Potato Salad
- Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
- Corn Muffins
- Southern Collard Greens
- Southern Potato Salad
- Fried corn
- Corn salad
- Baked beans
For the Veggies
- 1/2 lb collard greens tough stems removed
- 1/2 head of medium sized green cabbage shredded or chopped
- 2 large carrots shredded
- 1 red bell pepper finely sliced
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
For the Dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1 garlic clove grated
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
For the Veggies
- Stack 3 or 4 collard leaves flat on the work surface. Roll tightly into a cylinder, hold together, and thinly slice to make narrow strips. Coarsely chop strips once sliced. Repeat with remaining collard leaves, and transfer to a large bowl.
- To the large bowl add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and onion. Toss to combine.
For the Dressing
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, ground mustard, celery seed, garlic, and a bit of salt and pepper.
- Pour the vinaigrette into the slaw mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste.
- Serve right away, or refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors meld and develop more flavor.