No-Mayo Spicy Coleslaw

The first time I ever went to summer camp, ruined me for life for the taste of  mayonnaise.  The camp , from my limited memory of being 6 yrs old, was fun but the lunch menu left something to be desired. Being hungry you ate what you had in front of you. These were  the days before vending machines and I don’t remember a cafeteria at this place. Just some shack and it seems like it was in the back of a rather large home. What I remember clear as day was what was on the menu nearly every single day I went there. White bread sandwiches with american cheese and way to much mayo. That was it.  Sitting in the hot sun eating that day after day can ruin a person to hate mayo for life.  I can eat mayo but if it is touching cheese in any way forget about it.

I know it sound silly but it’s one of those weird quirks about me. I would rather hold the mayo than eat it.

Now cole slaw is one of those things you can’t seem to avoid that has mayo. I love cole slaw if done right. I hate it to sweet and I hate it really slathered in mayo. It’s a hit or miss kind of thing.  I’ll try to doctor something up when I am out but if it is just to bad it’s a real bummer. I’ll admit I like a little spice in my coleslaw. You don’t find that to often.

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I wish I could remember where I found the following recipe for a no-mayo spicy cole slaw. It’s simple to make and healthier for you to if you consider all the things wrong with mayo to begin with.  Give this a try next time your cooking up a steak or heading to a BBQ. You wont have to worry about food poisoning as much trying to keep the mayo ice-cold.

Just a note, I used canned diced chili jalapeno in mine. Just an easy short cut.  Looking at it my picture above looks like an ad for Trader Joe’s doesn’t it? Everything was bought there or already in my kitchen from there. I confess I am Trader Joe junkie. I miss Whole Foods for the interesting selection of vegetables but it’s only up the street. Not too much longer and it will be Farmer’s Market Season and I can head up to the little farm store in the neighborhood.

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Spicy No-Mayo Coleslaw

serves 8

    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
    • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 small clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chile, like jalapeño, Thai, serrano, or habanero, or to taste (optional)
    • 1/4 cup peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil
    • 6 cups cored and shredded Napa, Savoy, green, and/or red cabbage
    • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced or shredded
    • 1/3 cup chopped scallion, more or less
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl, along with the garlic and chile. Add the oil a little at a time, whisking all the while.
  2. Combine the cabbage, bell pepper, and scallion and toss with the dressing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. (It’s best to let the slaw rest for an hour or so to allow the flavors to mellow; the cabbage will also soften a bit and exude some juice. You can let it sit longer, up to 24 hours, if you like. Drain the slaw before continuing.) Just before serving, toss with the parsley.

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