Sweet, crunchy and spicy, coleslaw made healthy

Coleslaw is a staple side with barbecue and Tex-Mex style dishes because of the cool, refreshing crunch it adds to a heavier meal. I’ve always been a fan of citrus or vinegar-based slaws rather than traditional mayonnaise-based ones. The acidity from this type of slaw pairs well with the sauces and flavors that are common in BBQ and Tex-Mex dishes. The lighter dressing also helps brings out the natural flavors of the veggies in the coleslaw.

For today’s Healthy Recipe, I made a modified version of AICR’s fiesta slaw featuring a variety of colorful bell peppers instead of traditional cabbage and carrots. Bell peppers are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C. Additionally, they contain numerous phytochemicals, which may help reduce your risk of cancer.

I love that this recipe includes a variety of naturally sweet, crunchy and spicy ingredients – the sweetness from the orange juice, mango and apple cut some of the heat from the jalapeño pepper.

It’s also one of the most vibrant veggie sides I’ve ever made. I always emphasize the importance of eating a rainbow to my patients and clients. The colors in foods represent different nutrients and phytochemicals, so the more (naturally) colorful your foods are the better! Veggiespic1_SG

This recipe was quick and easy to make and only required chopping the veggies and using a food processor to make the dressing (which could also be done in a blender if you don’t have a food processor).



I paired the slaw with fish tacos, but it would also go great with chicken, pork or another poultry dish. Additionally, it can keep for several days in the refrigerator and be used as a topping on salads or in wraps to add some crunch and flavor to your weekday lunches.



Fiesta Slaw, citrus-based and packed with veggies


What unique ingredients could you use to spruce up traditional coleslaw?

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is a registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.

One thought on “Sweet, crunchy and spicy, coleslaw made healthy

  1. Thank you for the Slaw idea recipe. It’s so simple it could be used as a basis for vegetarian, vegan or meat meal ( by adding the appropriate PROTEIN or combination protein) for a balanced meal. The addition of herbs would be just finish it off. Dianne

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