The Side Show

A Crunchy Coleslaw With Dairy-Free Tahini Dressing

You never imagined it possible to be so excited about coleslaw.

Coleslaw lovers unite! Is there anything better than a side of sweet, tangy, crunchy cabbage? Especially in the early spring months, when a snappy coleslaw can revive your taste buds after weeks of stews and soups. And for those of you who think of coleslaw as a vehicle for mayonnaise (read: saturated fat and cholesterol), yes, there is a healthy and equally as delicious alternative for making your dairy-free coleslaw creamy: Tahini.

Tahini is the perfect substitute for mayonnaise. The smooth sesame paste is high in healthy unsaturated fats, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron and especially calcium—it delivers 12% of your daily requirement in just two tablespoons!

Another key ingredient for this coleslaw is miso, the salty, fermented Japanese condiment traditionally used in soups, sauces, and for pickling. It has a wonderful umami flavor that rounds out dressings. And, in addition to its minerals and vitamins (especially B12), it is an excellent source of beneficial bacteria. Most often you will find miso derived from soybeans, but varieties of rice, barley, and other grains exist too. Opt for non-GMO miso, like this brand. (I personally use brown rice miso, as I prefer its flavor.)

Cabbage and carrots are some of the cheapest items at the grocery store. They are low in calories, high in fiber, neutral in flavor, can add bulk to any meal and last weeks in cold storage. What’s not to love?

Well, served raw, they are really, really crunchy. This is a double-edged sword. If lazily chopped and tossed into a salad, your mouth has to work overtime to break down the fibrous material. However, if patiently shredded into long strands, you will be rewarded with a delicate, snappy salad. Raw dishes, such as coleslaw, depend not only on their dressing but on the correct ‘‘mouth feel.’’ The texture must be eater-friendly and not too much work.



  • ½ a medium green or purple cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • ¼ red onion or 2 green onions

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 squirt of natural sweetener (ie: honey, stevia, agave, etc.)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, combine the miso and tahini. Whisk until they form a thick, tan-colored mixture. Add the lime juice and vinegar and whisk vigorously. A chemical reaction will cause the mixture to foam and thicken into a dry paste. Whisk in the garlic powder, celery seeds, and the natural sweetener of your choice. Add enough water to make a creamy dressing consistency (¼ – ⅓ cup).
  2. Prepare your cabbage by peeling off any soft or bruised outer leaves. Lay the cabbage flat-side down on a cutting board and slice long shreds. Be patient and aim for consistency versus speed. Thinner shreds = a better coleslaw. Peel and shred the carrots. Finely mince the red onion or green onions. Add the vegetables to the mixing bowl and toss with the dressing.
  3. The coleslaw is ready to eat now. However, if you have the time, cover the coleslaw and place in the fridge for a few hours. The vegetables will soften and the flavors will intensify.

To serve alongside:


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