The Best Coleslaw (with Greek Yogurt!)

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Homemade coleslaw has never tasted so good. Made with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, honey, and fresh herbs, this delicious side dish is guaranteed to please at your next backyard BBQ or summer picnic.

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Coleslaw is easily one of the most iconic dishes in the picnic fare category. Anywhere you can find baby back ribs or hot dogs, you can typically expect to find coleslaw alongside it.

As someone who grew up loving coleslaw, I knew I needed to come up with a healthier version. Enter: Coleslaw with Greek yogurt. Trust me, it’s a godsend.

I’ve made a few upgrades to the original coleslaw recipe to keep things healthy (more on that later) and let me tell you that you won’t be going back to the store-bought stuff anytime soon. This mouth-watering BBQ side dish tastes wonderful when paired with burgers, hot dogs, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork, and any other classic picnic dishes.

Tangy, creamy, and beyond flavorful—this dish promises to be an instant hit! Coleslaw lovers also won't want to miss this Creamy Mexican Coleslaw, Asian Kale Slaw, or No Mayo Pineapple Coconut Coleslaw.

Greek yogurt coleslaw with shredded carrots, cabbage, and herbs on a plate.

Key Ingredients and Swaps

Here are the key ingredients that you’ll need to make this delicious healthy coleslaw:

  • Cabbage: To keep this dish ultra colorful, I like to use a combination of green and purple cabbage. You can buy a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix (which often comes with shredded carrots, too) or buy heads of cabbage and shred them by hand.
  • Carrots: As I mentioned above, you can either get this in a pre-shredded coleslaw mix or buy whole carrots and shred them by hand.
  • Greek yogurt: I love using Greek yogurt as a lighter alternative to mayonnaise for the base of this healthier coleslaw recipe. Not only is it delightfully creamy and packed with protein, but it also adds a tangy flavor that pairs really well with the other flavors in the dish. If you don't like the tang of yogurt, swap in regular or light mayonnaise for half the yogurt. This mellows out the flavor.
  • White vinegar: This helps to achieve the signature tangy flavor of coleslaw. Feel free to swap this out for apple cider vinegar  or lemon juice if preferred.
  • Honey: To balance out the sharp and tangy flavors, I like to add a natural sweetener like honey. You can also swap for agave, pure maple syrup, or brown sugar if you want.
  • Fresh herbs: This is the fun part. Adding an assortment of your favorite fresh herbs is what makes this coleslaw recipe stand out above the rest. Parsley, chives, dill, cilantro, basil—choose your players!
  • Lemon juice: A little fresh lemon juice goes a long way to making the flavors pop more and bringing in some zest.

Is Vinegar Coleslaw Healthy?

Many people assume that traditional coleslaw is healthy because it’s a dish made up of colorful veggies. However, you would be surprised to learn just how unhealthy store-bought coleslaw can be. They’re typically slathered with high-fat mayonnaise and obscene amounts of sodium and sugar, basically negating the nutrient value of the vegetables.

This healthier coleslaw recipe swaps the mayo for Greek yogurt and white vinegar to create a low-carb dressing for a healthier version of the summertime classic. I’ve also limited the amount of salt used and used honey instead of sugar. By making coleslaw from scratch, you can control exactly what goes into it for a way healthier dish.

Shredded coleslaw with creamy yogurt dressing with fresh cilantro on a plate with a fork.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Coleslaw

Spoiler alert, this dish is super easy to prepare. That being said, it never hurts to learn a few tricks to make sure it’s a winner every time. Here are a few tips and techniques that I’ve learned over the years to help you make the best healthier coleslaw:

  • Salt your cabbage. To avoid watery coleslaw, salt your cabbage before using it. This helps to draw out any extra moisture and ensures that the coleslaw stays crisp for days. Just shred your cabbage, toss it with kosher salt, and let it sit for 20 minutes before giving it a rinse and patting it dry. No more runny coleslaw!
  • Switch things up. Feel free to add different ingredients to switch things up based on your flavor preferences. For extra nutrients and a delicious crunch, try adding shredded brussels sprouts or broccoli. You can really add any veggies and herbs you want based on what you have at home.
  • Play with ratios. Whether you’re Team Creamy Slaw or Team Vinegar Slaw, getting the ratio of cream-to-vinegar right is absolutely essential. Use this recipe as a base and play around with the ratios until you hit the ideal ratio for you.
  • Shred them to perfection. Call me a perfectionist but I’m a firm believer that the success of your slaw depends on how well-shredded your cabbage is. If I’m preparing ahead, I prefer thicker slices that won’t turn mushy over time but if I’m serving it right away, thin and crunchy slices are the best. My Creamy Mexican Coleslaw has an entire section dedicated to getting the perfect cut, so check that out!
  • Time things right. We can all agree that freshly-made coleslaw is the best, but how fresh is fresh? While you should let your coleslaw sit for some time to really let the flavors develop, an hour is more than enough time to do the trick and soften up your salad so that it’s just right.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this coleslaw with Greek yogurt recipe:

There’s always room for improvement and the great thing about this recipe is that it’s super customizable. Throw in some finely chopped chili peppers to spice things up or add a tangy cheese like feta or goat cheese to increase the depth of flavor. Have any fun ideas? I’d love to hear your take in the comments below!

The easiest ways to stop cabbage from bleeding in coleslaw are to toss it with a few tablespoons of vinegar before putting together the rest of the dish or rinse it with a combination of hot water and vinegar. Either one of these tricks should work well.

There are several great alternatives to white vinegar that you can try in this dish. Some of my top picks include apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar. Alternatively, you could leave out the vinegar altogether and increase the amount of fresh lemon juice.

Cabbage and carrot coleslaw with Greek yogurt and fresh herbs on three white plates.
The Recipe
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The Best Coleslaw (with Greek Yogurt!)

COOK TIME: 1 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 1 Hours, 10 Min
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  • 3 cups green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 3 cups purple cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 cup carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, chives, etc)
  • 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (or full fat)
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar ( or apple cider vinegar, more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey (more to taste)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed

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Make the dressing: Combine the Greek yogurt, white vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Coleslaw dressing with Greek yogurt, honey, white vinegar, and lemon juice.

Pour the dressing over the green cabbage, purple cabbage, carrots, and herbs, Toss to coat. Serve immediately or for a softer salad, let sit for 30-60 minutes in the fridge.

Shredded green cabbage, purple cabbage, carrots, cilantro, and yogurt dressing in a bowl.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 62
Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 438mg
Total Carbohydrate 12g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 8g
Protein 5g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On The Best Coleslaw (with Greek Yogurt!)
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April 6, 2022 - 09:32
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My whole life I've adored creamy coleslaw, not the vinegar version, the creamy kind. Since making the lifestyle change, that is a dish I have not made and I have missed it. This gives me hope! Going to try it payday!
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