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Sweet and Savory Citrus Purple Coleslaw

Add a pop of purple to your plate with Purple Coleslaw! It’s a cinch to make with a colorful medley of cabbage, carrots, green onions, and pumpkin seeds -all of which get tossed in a sweet, savory, and citrusy homemade vinaigrette that truly sets this slaw apart from the rest!

purple coleslaw in a white serving bowl with a peppermill

Can you use purple cabbage for coleslaw? 🤔 You bet. Coleslaws are typically a mixture of purple cabbage, aka red cabbage, green cabbage, napa cabbage, and savoy cabbage, but there’s no reason not to devote coleslaw to one color.

This quick and easy coleslaw recipe showcases beautiful purple cabbage in the best way! It’s combined with sweet carrots, zesty scallions, and pumpkin seeds for extra crunch.

It gets better. The mixture of crisp-fresh veggies and wholesome nuts gets saturated in the ultimate no-mayo coleslaw dressing. Instead of mayo, the dressing is made with rich olive or avocado oil and red wine vinegar sweetened with coconut sugar and orange juice and seasoned with garlic powder and bouillon.

I got the idea to use bouillon in coleslaw from my neighbor and good friend, Krista. I attended a Christian Seder Supper at her church, and this purple cabbage salad was my favorite part of the meal. So, of course, I asked Krista for the recipe, and she informed me that it was from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design cookbook.

That said, this sweet and savory citrus purple coleslaw is my slaw version of that purple cabbage salad, and it’s fantastic.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This gorgeous purple slaw is just as delicious as it looks.
  • It makes a 10-person serving of slaw, so it’s the perfect healthy side dish for potlucks, outdoor parties, and year-round gatherings.
  • It goes great with pulled pork, fish tacos, burgers, and everything in between!

Ingredients You’ll Need

ingredients for purple coleslaw measured out on a counter
  • Purple cabbage – The starring ingredient! In this post, I will show you how to shred purple cabbage for coleslaw, but if you want to grab a bag of pre-shredded purple cabbage, go for it. Feel free to chop it more finely in a food processor if you like a diced slaw texture.
  • Carrots – I typically peel and grate whole carrots, but to save yourself the step, feel free to grab a bag of shredded carrots.
  • Scallions – Adds mild onion flavor and a pop of green to the slaw.
  • Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds- An unusual coleslaw ingredient, yes, but they’re perfect in this recipe. You can also use pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, and pecans here.
  • Olive oil & red wine vinegar – This is the base of the vinaigrette-style dressing. Instead of red wine vinegar, free to use white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
  • Coconut sugar – Adding sweetener to the dressing helps ease any bitter cabbage flavors. You can also use brown sugar or a brown sugar substitute.
  • Orange juice -It brightens up the dressing with a sweet-citrusy flavor.
  • Bouillon cube or chicken base– The secret to the mouthwatering flavors. You can use a vegetable or chicken-flavor bouillon cube, one small packet of liquid concentrate, or one teaspoon of consomme powder. I always have a jar of Better Than Bouillon roasted chicken base in the refrigerator, so I often use a teaspoon of the chicken base for the bouillon in this recipe since it dissolves easily. 
  • Spices & seasonings – Bouillon brings most of the flavor, so all you need is garlic powder, freshly ground black pepper, and salt.

How To Make Coleslaw with Purple Cabbage

collage photo of making purple coleslaw adding in ingredients and tossing to mix

Step 1: Prep purple cabbage. Remove any damaged outer leaves from the head of the red cabbage and wash well. With the core end facing down, slice the head into quarters, then make an angled cut into each quarter to remove the core. Slice the quarters into thin strips and place them in a large bowl. If you like a finer dice, you can also do this in a food processor.

slicing purple cabbage on a cutting board

Step 2: Combine purple cabbage with dry ingredients. Add grated carrots, scallions, and sprouted pumpkin seeds (or pine nuts) to the bowl of shredded red cabbage and toss to combine.

Step 3: Make coleslaw dressing. Add oil, vinegar, orange juice, coconut sugar, bouillon, and garlic powder to a small bowl. Whisk to combine (or shake it up in a mason jar) and season with salt and pepper. Make sure that the bouillon is dissolved before adding the dressing to the slaw.

Step 4: Toss coleslaw with dressing and chill. Drizzle the dressing over the dry coleslaw mixture and toss to incorporate. Then, cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for at least 1 hour to incorporate the complex flavors better. Before serving, toss the coleslaw once more and season to taste with salt and pepper.

side view of a bowl of purple coleslaw with parsley around it

Recipe Tips

  • Instead of shredding the cabbage with a knife, use a mandoline slicer for evenly sliced red cabbage with consistent texture in every bite.
  • You can add the dressing ingredients to a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid and shake the container until the dressing is emulsified. I like combining the ingredients for salads and coleslaw in Mason jars. They’re eco-friendly -and they look pretty cute!
  • If you are planning to serve this purple coleslaw at a gathering, you can save time by tossing the dry coleslaw ingredients and dressing together early in the day, then keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Variations

Fruit & veggie add-ins – Transform this coleslaw into a purple cabbage salad with extra fruit and vegetables. Add green cabbage varieties, chopped kale, mandarin oranges, shredded apples, pears, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, turnips, etc. Thinly sliced red bell pepper (or any color) also complements this coleslaw well. Dried cranberries are also great in this sweet-savory combo.

Make it spicy – To add a fiery flavor, you can add thin slices of jalapeno with the spine and seeds removed. You can also add heat to the dressing with a pinch of smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, or cayenne.

Fresh herbs – Garnish your purple salad with freshly chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, or tarragon to enhance flavors and improve the presentation.

Storing

This recipe makes a large batch of purple cabbage salad, but have no fear! The flavors will continue to bloom as the coleslaw stands in the fridge. You can keep the leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days, and the cabbage will hold its crunch.

Recipe FAQ

How do you use leftover purple coleslaw?

The hardest part is deciding which one of the many ways to serve red cabbage slaw you’d like to try first. It’s delightful served alongside smoked and grilled meats like brisket and BBQ chicken. You can also pile it on fish tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, corned beef sandwiches, juicy burgers, healthy grain bowls, etc.

Is this no-mayo coleslaw recipe also vegan?

The majority of the ingredients are inherently vegan except for bouillon cubes. Fortunately, there are plenty of vegan bouillon cubes in stores and online.

Can I use green cabbage instead of red cabbage?

Of course, but know that red cabbage has a deeper, earthy flavor with peppery undertones, so the slaw will not taste the same. If you’re looking for a flavorful green cabbage coleslaw, check out Caribbean lime coleslaw.

More Ways To Enjoy Cabbage

Baked Cabbage Casserole

Easy Braised Red Cabbage

Warm Steak and Cabbage Salad

Homemade Raw Saurkraut

Low Carb Reuben Sandwich Wrap

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close up photo of a serving bowl of purple coleslaw with a sprig of parsley garnish on top

Sweet and Savory Citrus Purple Coleslaw

 A colorful medley of cabbage, carrots, green onions, and pumpkin seeds tossed in a sweet, savory, and citrusy homemade vinaigrette.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 150kcal
Author: Amee

Ingredients

  • 16 oz shredded purple cabbage (1 small head)
  • 3 carrots grated
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup raw sprouted pumpkin seeds pine nuts, almonds, pecans, and walnuts are also great here!
  • 4 Tbsp coconut sugar you can also use a brown sugar substitute or regular brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil or olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 vegetable or chicken-flavor bouillon cube or 1 tsp roasted chicken base, one small packet of liquid concentrate, or 1 tsp dried consomme powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Remove the first couple outer layers of cabbage, wash and cut out the hard stem. Slice in half and then in quarters.
  • Slice thin strips of cabbage and place them into a large bowl.
  • Place the shredded cabbage, carrots, scallions, and pumpkin seeds into a large bowl.
  • In a jar or cruet, mix the coconut sugar, vinegar, orange juice, oil, bouillon cube (or chicken concentrate), garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Close and shake until thoroughly mixed. You can also whisk the dressing in a bowl until combined.
  • Make sure that the bouillon is completely dissolved and pour the dressing over the salad.
  • Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors mix for at least 1 hour.
  • Can prepare early in the day or the day before serving. Toss well before serving, season with a little extra salt and pepper, if desired, and enjoy.

Notes

  • Slicing Tip-Instead of shredding the cabbage with a knife, use a mandoline slicer for evenly sliced red cabbage with consistent texture in every bite. You can also shred the cabbage in a food processor to your desired texture.
  • Time Saver– If you are planning to serve this purple coleslaw at a gathering, you can save time by tossing the dry coleslaw ingredients and dressing together early in the day, then keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
  • Fruit & veggie add-ins – Transform this coleslaw into a purple cabbage salad with extra fruit and vegetables. Add green cabbage varieties, chopped kale, mandarin oranges, shredded apples, pears, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, turnips, etc. Thinly sliced red bell pepper (or any color) also complements this coleslaw well. Dried cranberries are also great in this sweet-savory combo.
  • Make it spicy – To add a fiery flavor, you can add thin slices of jalapeno with the spine and seeds removed. You can also add heat to the dressing with a pinch of smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, or cayenne.
  • Fresh herbs – Garnish your purple salad with freshly chopped herbs like parsley, cilantro, dill, or tarragon to enhance flavors and improve the presentation.

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 207mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3608IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg
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Amee Livingston
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9 Comments

  1. I am totally salivating. Just when I am in the mood to try a veg pickle kind of dish. But I think I’ll try this one. The colors on that cabbage look great. We usually get the cream colored variety.

    Lovely blog. 🙂

  2. Dear Amee,

    I cannot help myself, I rewrite every recipe I come across, so I do apologize for changing things around a bit but I have to say this was a really nice salad and it will become one of my regular dishes. Thank you for sharing it.

    Zsuzsa

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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