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This easy vinegar coleslaw recipe is a refreshing summer side dish that pairs well with veggie burgers, sloppy joes, skewers, and more!

Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe
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Finding a good easy coleslaw recipe is deceptively difficult. Or maybe we’re just slaw-challenged. For whatever reason, of the many we’ve tried over the years, we’ve yet to find one we truly liked. They’ve been too oily, too cabbage-y, you name it. Finally, we’ve found one we enjoy, this easy coleslaw recipe with vinegar inspired by the “Fresh” cookbook by Jennifer Houston and Ruth Tal. We’ve enjoyed the book’s “fresh” take on meatless eating, based on recipes from the restaurants with the same name (located in Toronto, unfortunately for us!).

We adapted this easy vinegar coleslaw recipe from their healthy coleslaw recipe, and found it to be flavorful, delicious, and yes, fresh! It was a great side to pair with some Two-Bean Sloppy Joes. And, we were able to use some green cabbage from our local farmer’s market. Keep reading for the easy vinegar coleslaw recipe!

No Mayo coleslaw

All about vinegar coleslaw!

The main ingredients for this easy coleslaw recipe with vinegar are red onion, red and green cabbage, and celery. Although this is a simple recipe, the mix of these budget-friendly vegetables make for a healthy coleslaw recipe that won’t weigh you down.

Unlike many slaw recipes, this vinegar based coleslaw tastes best right away and doesn’t need any time in the fridge to let the flavors combine. The tangy vinaigrette easily soaks into the cabbage, making this a great dish to whip up at the last minute. It’s also alternative to the mayo-based creamy coleslaw dressing, for potlucks where food sits out on a table for a few hours in the sun.

Want a different variation? Try our Red Cabbage Slaw, Creamy Coleslaw, or Broccoli Slaw instead!

Serving this vinegar coleslaw

Serve your homemade vinegar coleslaw with veggie burgers, skewers, and any other summer dishes you enjoy. This recipe serves four to six people and can easily be doubled to feed a larger crowd. If you don’t plan on serving this slaw right away, we recommend prepping the vegetables and dressing ahead of time and storing them separately. Then, when you’re ready to serve simply mix everything together and dig in!

coleslaw recipe vinegar

Video: How to cut cabbage

The only challenging part about making a coleslaw recipe with vinegar is how to cut the cabbage! Alex and I have recently learned a trick to cutting cabbage that makes it much easier to cut. We used to just cut it in half and then hack at it until we got some uneven “shreds.” After we learned this little trick to how to cut cabbage, making a coleslaw or cabbage salad has been a breeze! See the video below of me showing how to cut cabbage in our home kitchen.

And that’s it!

Ok, are you convinced to try our vinegar coleslaw recipe? Want to try your hand at our method for how to cut cabbage? Let us know if you try it, and what you think in the comments below!

Vinegar coleslaw

This vinegar coleslaw recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and plant-based.

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Easy vinegar coleslaw recipe | No Mayo coleslaw

Easy Vinegar Coleslaw Recipe

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


This easy vinegar coleslaw recipe is a refreshing summer side dish that pairs well with veggie burgers, sloppy joes, skewers, and more!


  • 1/2 head green cabbage (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 head red cabbage (about 4 cups)
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon dill
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Thinly slice the cabbage and measure out 8 cups. Thinly slice the onion and the celery.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, cider vinegar, dill, chili powder, and kosher salt. Whisk in the olive oil tablespoon by tablespoon until a creamy emulsion forms. 
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, red onion, and celery with the dressing. Add ground black pepper to taste, and additional salt as necessary. Serve immediately. (Note: The slaw is best served the day that it is made; leftovers do not save well. One idea is to only add dressing to the vegetables that you plan to eat.)


Inspired by Fresh

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Looking for more healthy side dishes? 

Outside of this easy vinegar coleslaw recipe, here are a few of our favorite side dish recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Diane Fager says:

    tastes great. you guys totally know how to cook

  2. Julie says:

    I made it yesterday, with a slight modification on vinegar as I did not have any rice vinegar and served it paired with zucchini blinis, some ewe yogurt and fresh herbs and a simple carott salad for a healthy dinner. It was pretty good, thanks!

  3. Laura F says:

    I made this last night to go along with your two-bean sloppy joe’s recipe, as suggested. Really enjoyed it! I didn’t have any rice vinegar, so I just used all cider vinegar and it tasted just fine.

  4. Courtney Jones says:

    My mom always made coleslaw when I was a kid and I just cringed at the amount of creamy dressing involved. I recently had a similar coleslaw to the one in your post – something lighter and less rich – and I fell in love. This recipe looks great. I never would have thought of adding chili powder! Great idea to boost flavour :)

    Beautiful photos :)

    1. Sonja says:

      Thanks! We’ll have to check yours out too :)

  5. Kate says:

    I love slicing apart a head of red cabbage, as the inside is like a glorious maze woven of nature. Every head looks so different and the color is lustrous and rich.

    I’ve loved cabbage salad since I was a little kid. Even more so now, with the love of kale and other crunchy things to add to it.

  6. Sylvie (A Pot of Tea) says:

    That looks crunchy, fresh and pretty.

  7. Jen says:

    It looks very fresh and pretty!

  8. Emilia says:

    This looks amazing! I love slaw and this one looks particularly good; I’ve never thought of adding chili powder, but I can’t wait to try it. What a delightful kick :)