This Irish coleslaw is made with green and purple cabbage, carrots, red pepper and jicama then tossed in a creamy yogurt-based vinegar dressing.

Coleslaw recipe on two stacked plates.
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I actually laughed out loud re-reading this recipe post as it was published exactly six days into my blogging career back in 2011. A solid 12+ years later, I thankfully know how to make food look a little more appetizing and wouldn’t be so stupid to label something “Irish” just because I happened to be using a common Irish ingredient (cabbage) and was headed there that week for vacation.

That said, I’m leaving the title alone and still calling this recipe Irish coleslaw because it does have the basics down, it just takes a few liberties as well. Maybe Irish fusion coleslaw would be more appropriate.

When this post was originally written I had some random refrigerator ingredients that had to be used up hence why both jicama and red pepper got incorporated into this creamy yogurt-based vinegar coleslaw recipe.

Regardless of the authenticity, it works well and ends up being quite a delicious side dish to anything from corned beef to a summer BBQ option. It keeps well and this recipe makes a hefty portion so leftovers will likely be in your future.

Ingredients for Irish coleslaw in a large glass bowl on a beige kitchen towel.

Ingredients to make Irish coleslaw

  • Green cabbage
  • Red cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Red bell pepper
  • Jicama
  • Raisins (optional)

I know the raisins seem weird but if you like them (I realize they’re a polarizing ingredient), trust me in that they bring a wonderful bite of sweetness to the otherwise tangy, vegetable heavy coleslaw.

Red pepper and jicama are also obviously not typical coleslaw ingredients but I love both the crunch and flavor they bring to this recipe. Omit them if you prefer (jicama is great as baked chips or fries too).

Yogurt based coleslaw dressing in a small glass bowl with a whisk.

The ingredients for the dressing include:

  • Plain yogurt
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Most Irish coleslaw recipes are heavy on the mayonnaise. I’ve never enjoyed mayo-heavy slaws or salads and much prefer to swap out plain yogurt instead. This healthier tuna waldorf salad is one of the tastier recreations of that method. Using plain yogurt in this coleslaw still lends the creamy texture without the calorie load and goopy consistency of mayonnaise.

Dijon is common in an Irish coleslaw for a hint of tangy flavor but I like to accentuate and play up this taste as well with the addition of a little apple cider vinegar. Once everything is tossed together, the end result is kind of a cross between a creamy and vinegar-based coleslaw and really, the best of both worlds.

Overhead shot of Irish coleslaw in a glass bowl with dressing poured on top.

How to make this Irish coleslaw recipe

There are two options when it comes to shredding the vegetables for coleslaw: the easy way of buying pre-shredded bagged coleslaw mix or shredding your own.

I won’t judge if you’re short on time and don’t want the hassle of chopping or breaking out the food processor and opt for the store bought convenience of a coleslaw mix. But if you have the time, use those grating attachments for your food processor and shred your own veggies. It’s so much fresher and way more cost effective.

Once the vegetables are all shredded, add to a large bowl.

Add all the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and toss well until fully coated. 

The coleslaw can be served immediately at room temperature or covered and refrigerated until later.

Tossed Irish coleslaw recipe in a bowl with a wooden serving spoon.

Is coleslaw really Irish?

No, in fact, coleslaw originated in the Netherlands. 

However, it has gained popularity in Ireland since the mid 1950s and because of its use of cabbage, many assume it comes from Ireland where St. Patrick’s Day has popularized the Irish dish of corned beef and cabbage to such a great extent, the assumption seems reasonable.

In modern day Ireland, coleslaw is often served as a side dish in pubs and commonly used on deli sandwiches in between slices of meat and bread.

How do you stop creamy coleslaw from separating?

If you plan to let this coleslaw recipe sit for a long time, there’s a chance the water from the vegetables will result in the creamy yogurt dressing separating from the slaw. While you can still eat the slaw this way (just give it a good toss again before serving), there’s a trick to stopping this from happening.

The use of xanthan gum or guar gum. I keep xanthan gum on hand for thickening smoothies or this healthier shamrock shake and a little goes a very long way. Don’t be tempted to overuse it. The result will be a goopy disaster.

If you plan to use this ingredient, add just ⅛ teaspoon to the dressing before whisking together.

Overhead shot of Irish coleslaw recipe on a plate with bowl and serving spoon in the background.

More side dishes like this to try:

Jicama salad is crunchy, light and refreshing. Like coleslaw, it’s perfect for complementing a summer cookout meal. It goes exceptionally well with Mexican food.

This sweet honey dijon red cabbage slaw includes endive and green apple slices for a tangy coleslaw that works well for fall. Pair it with a pork chop meal for dinner.

If you’re all for a tangy coleslaw, fermented red cabbage is the ultimate condiment.

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5 from 38 votes

Irish Coleslaw

Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Coleslaw recipe on two stacked plates.
This Irish coleslaw is made with jicama, red pepper, cabbage and raisins and tossed in a yogurt vinegar dressing.

Ingredients 

For the Coleslaw

  • 1/2 small head of green or savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 small head of red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely shredded
  • 1 medium sized jicama, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • salt/pepper to taste

For the Dressing

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum, optional – see notes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Thinly shred and slice all vegetables and combine in a large bowl with chopped raisins.
  • Whisk together all dressing ingredients and add to bowl with vegetables.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Toss well until well coated and serve or refrigerate.

Notes

*Xanthan gum will help keep the creamy dressing from separating if the coleslaw will be sitting for a long period of time. Guar gum can also be used.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 2gFat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 180mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Irish
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Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I don’t care if it’s not necessarily authentic; this cole slaw was great! I made it for some pulled pork sandwiches and my husband was raving about the cole slaw. That’s a first. 😆 Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. I needed to jazz up an otherwise quite dull sandwich; yes, I chose the lazy way out and used the food processor, but whos going to judge? This was the lift the sandwich needed, I have some leftovers so I’m going to do the same tomorrow – thanks!

  3. We actually grew our own jicama this year and I was searching around for creative ways to use it and found this. Love love love it. I never would have thought to use jicama with cole slaw or to use yogurt, but it’s delicious.

  4. This coleslaw is the best! I’m not usually a coleslaw person, but this one changed my mind. It’s got a great tang and it’s not too sweet. I could eat it all day long.

  5. I love the fresh greens. Green and red cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, jicama, raisins, with seasoning perfection. Healthy and tasty!