Healthy Coleslaw with Apples
Maple Dijon Apple Coleslaw is a healthy recipe with crisp cabbage and juicy shredded apples mixed with dried cranberries and a creamy dressing. This slightly sweet and savory salad is made without mayo and lightened up with Greek yogurt plus the zip of Dijon mustard. Enjoy this quick and easy side dish any time of the year because when the kiddos gobble it up, you know it’s gotta be the best cole slaw recipe ever.
My hubby is not a picky eater, but truth be told, he would totally prefer to forego veggies. Occasionally, if you catch him in the right mood, he will admit that cheesy mashed cauliflower is actually pretty good. But if he could live on meat, chips, and ice cream for the rest of his life, he would be a happy camper.
At one point, though, he imposed a cabbage ban on the house. I finally told him that I was going to make myself Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts whether he ate them or not. AND, if he was going to keep perfecting his barbecue technique with his smoker and making all kinds of brisket and pulled pork and ribs, then you better believe I need coleslaw. But he was not going to eat it.
That is until I made this Maple Dijon Apple Coleslaw. Now it is part of our regular menu, whether we share with friends summer barbecues or potlucks or enjoy on a busy weeknight with crockpot apple cider chicken or grilled cheese and butternut squash soup.
It’s tasty and so easy with only seven ingredients, plus salt and pepper. And I bet it will convert the so-called cabbage-haters in your house too!
Healthy Coleslaw with Apples
All of my boys enjoy this sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy apple slaw recipe. The cabbage or bagged slaw mix gives it that characteristic crunch. Apples add a bit of sweet, fresh flavor. Dried cranberries are sweet-tart chewy little bits that add a different texture.
And let’s talk about that dressing. It is smooth and tangy, with the zing of Dijon mustard and the subtle but flavorful sweetness of maple syrup. But wait, this rich and creamy apple slaw is actually healthy too! Seriously?
Can coleslaw be healthy?
Typically coleslaw can be a bit of a calorie bomb when made with gobs of mayonnaise. But this is a healthy coleslaw recipe.
What’s the trick to coleslaw without mayo? Greek yogurt. When you toss your slaw mix in this lightened-up dressing, you get a healthy veggie side dish perfect for any meal.
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
For the apple slaw salad base, you’ll need:
- Coleslaw mix – I switch between the one that is all cabbage and the one that includes red cabbage and carrots. Both are equally tasty. You can also use shredded cabbage, or a mixture of cabbage and finely julienned carrots.
- Apples – I typically peel my apples, but that is up to you. Then you can either cut it into matchsticks with a knife, shred it, or spiralize it.
- Dried cranberries – raisins or golden raisins are great alternatives too.
What is in the coleslaw dressing?
- Plain Greek yogurt – nonfat, whole, or anything in between, just not flavored.
- Dijon mustard – I almost always use Grey Poupon
- Maple syrup – definitely use real maple syrup, not just pancake syrup. It truly adds to the flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar – a basic cider vinegar will do, or you can use a raw apple cider vinegar like Bragg’s.
- Salt and pepper
How to make apple slaw (my preferred method):
- Make the salad base: toss all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Make the dressing: whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix the coleslaw: pour the dressing over the salad base and toss everything together.
- Serve or store: serve immediately if you like a crisp slaw, or cover and store in the fridge for a few hours or overnight if you prefer a softer texture.
OR (Brianne’s tip to save a bowl)
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add the slaw mix, apples, and craisins, and toss everything together.
Apple Coleslaw Recipe FAQs:
How do you shred cabbage for coleslaw?
Personally, I like to save time and grab a bag of coleslaw mix, since it is fairly inexpensive. But to save even more money, you can shred a head of cabbage.
- Rinse the head of cabbage and remove the outermost leaves. Slice off the bottom of the stem if needed so it can stand flat on the cutting board.
- Cut the cabbage in half from top to bottom, then into quarters.
- Make a diagonal cut in each quarter to cut out the thick stem.
- Lay one wedge flat side down on the cutting board and cut into thin slices.
- Cut those slices in half horizontally and run your knife through horizontally a few more times to get the size of shreds you prefer.
- Repeat with the remaining wedges.
How do you shred apples?
- I usually grate my apples with a box grater or this paddle grater because it is quicker.
- For a bit more of a crunchy texture, you can use a knife to cut the apple into matchsticks. Cat the apple from the core and cut very thin slices, then cut each slice into thin matchsticks.
- You can also use a spiralizer, then cut the apple spirals into smaller pieces. The kids love this.
Will coleslaw apples turn brown?
The acid in the vinegar and Greek yogurt will keep the apples from browning.
How long can you keep homemade coleslaw?
It will keep covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Can you freeze coleslaw?
I do not recommend freezing coleslaw. Neither Greek yogurt nor cabbage freeze and thaw well. Both tend to release moisture and you will end up with a watery slaw.
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What food goes with coleslaw?
- Honey Balsamic Grilled Flat Iron Steak is so tender and juicy.
- Apple Cider Dijon Marinated Tip Roast is an easy, lean beef roast that has some of the same flavors as this cole slaw recipe.
- Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork is a simple way to make flavorful pulled pork to enjoy that classic summer barbecue and slaw combo.
- BBQ Rubbed Crockpot Turkey Breast doesn’t take much effort to make moist and flavorful turkey to pair with your healthy coleslaw recipe.
- Or put it on top of these Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potato Fries.
More healthy salads and sides with Greek yogurt
- Greek Yogurt Deviled Eggs
- Cheddar Bacon Ranch Potato Salad without Mayo
- Sweet Pineapple Cole Slaw
- Cranberry Zucchini Slaw from Inside Bru Crew Life
Maple Dijon Apple Coleslaw Recipe
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Maple Dijon Apple Coleslaw
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup can also use honey
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- one 10-15 oz. bag cole slaw mix or about 4-5 cups shredded cabbage (just green or a mix of red and green cabbage)
- 1 medium apple shredded or spiralized and chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- In a medium bowl, combine the Greek yogurt, mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and stir until smooth and combined.
- In a large bowl, toss together the cole slaw mix or cabbage, apples, and dried cranberries.
- Pour the dressing over the slaw and stir to distribute evenly.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Will keep for a couple days, but it will get softer and less crunchy.
Originally published on Oct 11, 2016
My family thinks this Maple Dijon Apple Coleslaw is the best way to make cole slaw with its combination of sweet and savory flavors, plus crisp and creamy textures. And you don’t sacrifice any of the creaminess when you use Greek yogurt instead mayonnaise to make a healthy side dish without mayo.