Skip to main content

Slaws Create a Fun Twist on Salad

Contributors: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN

Reviewers: Academy Nutrition Information Services Team

Published: September 27, 2019

Reviewed: November 28, 2023

Slaws Create a Fun Twist on Salad
warrengoldswain/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Looking for a new way to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables? Slaws are perfect, easy-to-prepare dishes. There are plenty of varieties and the ingredients to include, making them a brilliant twist on salads.

While there are countless slaw variations, two traditional coleslaw ingredients are cabbage and carrots — both of which boast healthy nutrition profiles.

One cup of raw, shredded cabbage offers around 20 calories and provides 2 grams of dietary fiber. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and provides phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important nutrients for eye health. Carrots also are low in calories and packed with nutritional benefits: ½ cup of grated carrot has 23 calories, provides 1.5 grams of fiber, is an excellent source of vitamin A, and also contains lutein and zeaxanthin.

You can further boost the nutrition profile of your slaw by incorporating other ingredients. Cut thin ribbons of broccoli, bok choy, Swiss chard, kale, beets, green papaya, apples, jicama or mango. Use a traditional mayonnaise dressing with fresh herbs, or change it up with a light rice vinaigrette or sesame-soy tahini combination. Add even more dietary fiber and a dose of protein with chickpeas, lentils or cubed tofu.

Need some slaw inspiration? Here are some variations certain to please any palate.

  • Sweet-but-tart slaws: Made with sweet dressings and flavorful vinegars, these slaws often include sweet fruits such as pineapple, apple or raisins. Dried cranberries, toasted almonds or thinly sliced fennel are other flavor enhancers.
  • Creamy slaws: These mayonnaise-based slaws can be deliciously spicy when made with mustards and horseradish. Substitute mayonnaise with plain Greek yogurt and add broccoli, broccolini, chilies or red pepper flakes for more crunch and heat.
  • Asian-inspired slaws: With no creamy ingredients and fewer added sugars than traditional coleslaw, they're commonly made with ingredients such as ginger, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, green onions, dry noodles and peanuts.
  • Cabbage-free slaws: These variations are considered slaws because of the way the vegetables, fruits or other ingredients are finely chopped and tossed together.

Sweet peppers, radicchio and squashes make for a colorful slaw as well. So be creative the next time you are browsing your grocery produce section. Your slaw recipe could be a big hit at the next family meal.

Find a Nutrition Expert

Looking for credible nutrition information and recommendations? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' network of credentialed food and nutrition practitioners are ready to help!