Lemon Tahini Cabbage Slaw

This creamy and tangy slaw is a citrusy twist on the traditional classic coleslaw. Packed with a sesame lemony flavor, this vegan, egg-free slaw goes great with veggie burgers, sandwiches, or falafel! It’s an easy vegan recipe to make but difficult to put down. You’ll love this new take on an old favorite.


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If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know  I’m a sucker for anything tahini – dips, desserts, and dressings, I love all of them. So when I came across the idea of creamy tahini coleslaw, my interest was definitely piqued.

When we were making a new veggie burger recipe and really wanted a crunch to add to it, this tahini slaw recipe sounded like the perfect match! And I’m so glad I tried it because – wow, the flavors

You’re going to love this terrific twist on your favorite crunchy burger topping and cookout side dish. It’s a decidedly savory slaw but also zippy with a slight sweetness and compelling flavor that sings in your mouth til the very last bite!

Pin this recipe for later.

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Coleslaw (no mayo)

  • Easy to make. This slaw may seem fancy, but it takes about 10 minutes to put together!
  • Delightfully different. The lemon tahini garlic sauce adds a tangy twist to traditional coleslaw that is going to keep you coming back for more.
  • Make it ahead of time. This is so perfect for parties or meal prep! The flavor in this slaw intensifies over time.
Overhead photo of all the ingredients you need to make lemon tahini slaw

Ingredients in WFPB Coleslaw

To make this tahini slaw, you’ll need just 4 ingredients for the coleslaw mix itself and 4 + spices for the tahini coleslaw dressing.

For the salad mix:

  • Coleslaw mix – In the interest of keeping things easy breezy, we used a bag of coleslaw mix for this recipe. I like the varieties that use shredded carrot and red cabbage along with the green cabbage for extra pretty color!
  • Scallions – thinly sliced
  • Capers – for a bit of a salty punch or briny vibe
  • Lemon zest – for a zip of flavor!

For the vegan oil free coleslaw dressing:

  • Tahini – The quality of the tahini you’re using is vital to the overall flavor here. Our go-to tahini brand is Soom! (They’re also a local Philly company!)
  • Lemon juice – I’d use fresh lemon juice if possible! If not, try to get a quality lemon juice like Lakewood Organic.
  • Garlic – You’ll blend up some fresh garlic in the dressing for an extra zing.
  • Agave nectar – This adds a touch of sweet to balance everything out.
  • Spice Cabinet – fine sea salt or kosher salt, onion powder, white pepper
Overhead photo of a round white plate piled high with lemon tahini slaw and lemon wedges in the upper left corner

Substitution Options for This Tahini Coleslaw Recipe

If you don’t have or can’t tolerate any of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember though, substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a not-always-pleasant difference in the final product. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you! 

For the coleslaw mix: In lieu of coleslaw mix, you can make your own coleslaw by shredding a head of crunchy cabbage. You can use green cabbage, purple cabbage, or a mix of both. Get wild and throw in some carrots or snap peas if you’d like! Microplane makes this really cool tool that shreds a head of cabbage easily if knife skills aren’t your thing. (They’re not mine, which is why I buy the bagged stuff lol!)

For the scallions: You can sub chives 1:1 for the green onions. They’ll have a more robust flavor, but you can also try thin sliced red onion or shallot.

For the capers: I haven’t tried this, but you may be able to sub green or kalamata olives. Just make sure to mince them up, so they can spread evenly throughout the slaw.

For the lemon zest: Feel free to skip this for less zest or use some lemon pepper seasoning! Lime zest can also work for a slightly different flavor.

For the garlic: If you don’t have garlic, minced shallots could work for a slightly different vibe. Or substitute 1/2 tsp jarred minced garlic for each clove or 1/8 tsp garlic powder for each clove.

For the agave: You can sub maple syrup or date syrup for the agave.

Lemon Tahini Apple Slaw

Add matchstick cut apples to this slaw to create a tasty Lemon Tahini Apple Slaw variation! I like to use Granny Smith apples for an added tartness, but any firm apple will work. Just peel the apple and slice to thin matchsticks, or use the vegetable and julienne peeler from Microplane. 

Add these last so they don’t oxidize and turn brown. You can also do them in advance and let them soak in some cold lemon water.

A grid of four photos showing the process of making vegan tahini slaw

How to Make This Vegan Coleslaw Recipe (no mayo)

This tahini slaw is so simple to make – even for the most novice of cooks!

Step 1: Make the WFPB coleslaw dressing. 

First, blend all the ingredients for the lemon tahini sauce in a small blender or food processor until the consistency of dressing is creamy.

Step 2: Make the green tahini slaw base.

Then, get out a large mixing bowl and combine cabbage or coleslaw mix, capers, lemon zest, and sliced scallions. 

Step 3: Assemble the creamy slaw.

Finally, fold the lemon tahini dressing into the cabbage mix in 2 batches. Add half of the tahini dressing, fold it into the mix and then add the other half and fold in again. This will really ensure the dressing is incorporated well. Taste the slaw and adjust seasoning as you see fit.

Step 4: Let the tahini slaw set.

For best results, let the slaw sit in the large bowl covered in your fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.

Overhead photo of a plate of green and purple cabbage slaw with oil-free tahini dressing

How to Serve This Tahini Coleslaw Recipe

This vegan slaw is a great side dish served at cookouts, BBQs, and other parties. 

It can also be meal prepped up to 5 days in advance and served alongside lunches and dinners like:

How to Store Leftover Lemon Tahini Slaw

This savory slaw makes fantastic leftovers and can be prepped up 1-2 days in advance!

In the fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.

In the freezer: I wouldn’t freeze the mixed coleslaw, but you can totally freeze the lemon tahini sauce. I like to freeze it in 2 Tbsp or 1/2 Cup Souper Cubes to defrost the perfect portions. Lemon tahini sauce should stay fresh in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Overhead photo of a round white plate with tahini slaw and lemon wedges

More Great Vegan Side Dish Recipes:

I hope you get every bit as much of a kick out of this tahini slaw as I did. It totally upped our cookout game around here!

When you give it a try, don’t forget to leave a star rating and review on the recipe below. We love when you bring us along on our kitchen adventures, and this also helps more people find our recipes.

Until next time!

Yield: 6 servings

Vegan Tahini Coleslaw

Overhead close up photo of peppery lemon tahini coleslaw garnished with ground black pepper

This creamy and tangy slaw is a citrusy twist on the traditional classic coleslaw. Packed with a sesame lemony flavor, this vegan, egg-free slaw goes great with veggie burgers, sandwiches, or falafel! It's an easy vegan recipe to make but difficult to put down. You’ll love this new take on an old favorite.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the salad mix:

  • 1 (14-oz.) bag coleslaw mix
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

For the lemon tahini sauce:

Instructions

  1. Blend all the ingredients for the lemon tahini sauce in a small blender or food processor until creamy.
  2. Toss the coleslaw mix, capers, lemon zest, and sliced scallions in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Fold the lemon tahini sauce into the cabbage mix in 2 batches. Taste the slaw and adjust seasoning as you see fit.
  4. For best results, let the slaw sit covered in your fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight before serving.
  5. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Notes

To make lemon tahini apple slaw:

Add matchstick cut apples to this slaw to create a tasty Lemon Tahini Apple Slaw variation! I like to use Granny Smith apples for an added tartness, but any firm apple will work.

Just peel the apple and slice to thin matchsticks, or use the vegetable and julienne peeler from Microplane. 

Add these last so they don’t oxidize and turn brown. You can also do them in advance and let them soak in some cold lemon water.

Substitution Options:

For the coleslaw mix: In lieu of coleslaw mix, you can make your own coleslaw by shredding a head of crunchy cabbage. You can use green cabbage, purple cabbage, or a mix of both. Get wild and throw in some carrots or snap peas if you’d like! Microplane makes this really cool tool that shreds a head of cabbage easily if knife skills aren’t your thing. (They’re not mine, which is why I buy the bagged stuff lol!)

For the scallions: You can sub chives 1:1 for the green onions. They'll have a more robust flavor, but you can also try thin sliced red onion or shallot.

For the capers: I haven’t tried this, but you may be able to sub green or kalamata olives. Just make sure to mince them up, so they can spread evenly throughout the slaw.

For the lemon zest: Feel free to skip this for less zest or use some lemon pepper seasoning! Lime zest can also work for a slightly different flavor.

For the garlic: If you don’t have garlic, minced shallots could work for a slightly different vibe. Or substitute 1/2 tsp jarred minced garlic for each clove or 1/8 tsp garlic powder for each clove.

For the agave: You can sub maple syrup or date syrup for the agave.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1/6 the recipe

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 166Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 385mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.

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2 Comments

  1. I just made this, with sweet onion whirred into the dressing, but no agave syrup, as I am not fond of sweet dressings. I added green beans that I picked from my garden along with the capers. It already tastes delicious, and I’m sure it will be even better tomorrow. Thank you!

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