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Healthy Coleslaw: A High Protein Southwest Coleslaw Recipe

I’m certain coleslaw was on my top 5 least favorite foods of all time for most of my adolescence, despite never actually trying it. As a kid, raw vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and other green things were yucky. And adding them to an unknown white sauce didn’t help. As I evolved, I began eating vegetables of all kinds and even mustered up the bravery to try coleslaw for the first time ever. It was topping a southern-style BBQ sandwich, and it was magical.

This was probably around the time I started paying attention to food and nutrition for performance, and I was saddened to discover coleslaw was actually very high calorie. So, here we are years later and I’m bringing you a high protein, healthy coleslaw recipe that will add a spicy crunch to any meal. While one serving of your average coleslaw has around 200 calories, this entire recipe has 180 calories, 21 grams of protein, and weighs nearly one pound. It’s a high volume eating superstar.

A healthy coleslaw recipe with a higher protein, spicy twist. This coleslaw makes a perfect side dish or topping for barbecue sandwiches, tacos, or any dish in need of a bit of spice or southwest flavor.

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Healthy Coleslaw Ingredients

In usual fashion, this recipe is crazy simple and can be prepped and ready in less than 5 minutes. Our core ingredient for the coleslaw sauce will be a usual suspect, Greek yogurt. In addition to the yogurt, you’ll want some type of vinegar, though the recipe calls for apple cider vinegar. This is purely based on taste preference, as the proposed health benefits of apple cider vinegar are predominantly just hype. But that’s a topic for a separate article.

Outside of these two ingredients, your spices can vary based on your preference. Since this is a southwest coleslaw, the recipe calls for a bit of cayenne pepper for a nice spicy flavor. This, along with the chili powder, provides a nice red tint to the sauce as well. At the higher end (1 tsp), this coleslaw is quite spicy, but tolerance to spicy foods varies greatly so you may want to taste test before adding the coleslaw mix to the sauce.

Pulled pork and BBQ sandwiches have never been easier or faster than now. This Instant Pot pulled pork recipe has four ingredients and unbelieve macros with roughly 16 grams of protein in a 136 calorie serving. This recipe is also crock pot friendly!

For the coleslaw mix, the recipe calls for bagged or pre-mixed coleslaw. If you want to use fresh sliced cabbage and other veggies, be my guest. If you go with bagged, I recommend mixing a broccoli slaw and super greens slaw together, if you can find the latter. The only other note here would be on the amount of coleslaw you mix with the sauce. I touch on it in the recipe, but you can tweak the amount of coleslaw added to change the level of moisture in your coleslaw. I like a slightly runny coleslaw, and the 8 ounces in the base recipe will create that. If you want a dry coleslaw similar to pickled cabbage, you may want to add 10-12 (or even up to 16 ounces) of coleslaw to the sauce.

Okay that’s a wrap. This coleslaw would go perfectly on BBQ or something like tacos using my Crispy Carnitas or Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice and Pan Roasted Corn and Black Beans Bowls

A healthy coleslaw recipe with a higher protein, spicy twist. This coleslaw makes a perfect side dish or topping for barbecue sandwiches, tacos, or any dish in need of a bit of spice or southwest flavor.

Healthy Southwest Coleslaw

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

A higher protein, lower calorie spin on traditional southwest coleslaw that's perfect for BBQ sandwiches, tacos, or as a side dish. 


  • 3/4 C (170g) Fat-Free Greek Yogurt, plain
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) Apple Cider Vinegar, any vinegar will do
  • 1 Tbsp (15g) Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp (5mL) Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 C Stevia or 0-Cal Sweetener
  • 8 oz Bagged Coleslaw or Broccoli Slaw, for a drier slaw, use 12-16 ounces here


  1. Mix all ingredients besides coleslaw in a large mixing bowl until all spices are evenly mixed and no lumps remain.
  2. Add coleslaw and toss until fully coated. (The recipe calls for 8 ounces, and this produces a "wet" coleslaw. If you like your slaw a bit drier, you can simply add more coleslaw mix.)
  3. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. I've found this to taste best after refrigerating for several hours. This coleslaw should store for at least 3 days in the refrigerator but possibly longer. 


Each serving has 0 Smart Points

Entire Recipe (462g): 180 Calories | 21P | 24C | 0F --- 1/8 Recipe (58g - about 1/4 C): 23 Calories | 2.6P | 3C | 0F

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 58 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 23Unsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 2.6g

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A healthy coleslaw recipe with a higher protein, spicy twist. This coleslaw makes a perfect side dish or topping for barbecue sandwiches, tacos, or any dish in need of a bit of spice or southwest flavor.


Wednesday 29th of January 2020

I tried the southwest coleslaw apprehensively. I don't usually like a creamy coleslaw. I was happily surprised at how good it was. I served it to others and they loved it. The spicy kick added the goodness needed for a creamy coleslaw. I didn't mix up the whole recipe and was able to use it for 2+ more lunches/dinner. I used the tricolor mix from Sprouts and chobani greek yogurt. I served it with a pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwich dinner. Will make again!


Sunday 24th of November 2019

I've made this the original way but also made a spinoff bacon version of it! For that version I did maybe half the amount of yogurt and added in Walden Farms creamy bacon dressing and it was SO good! I also upped the spices and added a bit of sriracha to this version and it was a hit. Definitely tasted better the longer it sat too.

Taylor Gates

Friday 23rd of August 2019

I hate coleslaw. I mean I hate it... but this knocked my socks off. I love that I don’t feel gross after eating it and it has a kick ! Will make again.


Sunday 24th of February 2019

I only used 1 tbsp cider vinegar and added 1 tbsp honey. i probably will scale back on the cayenne next time as well. otherwise it was delicious!!


Wednesday 20th of November 2019

Love this with the BBQ pulled pork!!!!’

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