After a low carb salad recipe? You can’t go wrong with our super creamy, spicy keto coleslaw that is filled with shredded raw cabbage, anise-like fennel and mixed through with a creamy Tabasco dressing!
Why You’ll Love Spicy Keto Coleslaw
Carbs in coleslaw are low, while the spiciness from the fresh green chillies and a spicy Tabasco dressing help boost metabolism!
The traditional sweet carrot found in coleslaws has been replaced by shaved fennel instead. Those anise-like notes with the hint of spiciness work a treat!
The Tabasco dressing is a winner too! Filled with some much-needed fats for our keto friends, it really rounds out this simple salad well. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds through this keto coleslaw recipe to add a little nuttiness to the salad.
Oh, and did I mention it only takes 15 minutes?
What is Keto Diet?
The ketogenic diet has taken the world by storm. With the likes of Kim Kardashian, Lebron James, Halle Berry and Adriana Lima all endorsing the keto diet, it’s no wonder it’s so popular.
For those who are not familiar with the concept, the keto diet is all about reducing carbs and increasing your fat intake. A typical keto diet would look something like 60% to 75% of calories from fat, 15% to 30% of calories from protein, and the rest of the calories from carbs.
After about a week, your body goes into ketosis. This means that your body no longer has enough carbs to use for energy. The body then starts making ketones, an organic compound which your body uses instead of carbs.
It is at this point that your body converts fat to fuel because you need energy. As you can imagine, this leads to weight loss.
To put it differently, you are essentially depriving your body of its preferred fuel source, which is glucose. Without sugar, your body starts to produce an alternative fuel called ketones which can be found in your stored fats.
To reduce the glucose levels until your body is deprived, keto dieters limit themselves to about 20 to 50 grams of carbs. That is an incredibly small allowance and equates to one medium banana. For the body to produce ketones, you also have to increase your fat-rich foods quite dramatically.
Staying on a keto diet certainly takes discipline. Thankfully there are so many resources out there if this is a path you’re thinking of taking. At The Devil Wears Salad, our Spicy Keto Coleslaw recipe is a small contribution to your dietary repertoire.
Origin of Coleslaw
It is believed that coleslaw was probably consumed way back in ancient Roman times. However, the coleslaw we know and love today could not have possibly been cited until the 18th century as mayonnaise was not available until then.
The term “coleslaw” is perhaps a partial translation from the Dutch term “koolsla”, which means “cabbage salad”. “Cole” originates from the Latin colis meaning “cabbage” and is the origin of the Dutch word as well.
When the Dutch started going to America, it, of course, brought along its many customs and culinary favourites. The coleslaw was one of the many foods that made a long-lasting impression and now plays an essential role in American cuisine.
Flavour/Texture: Like all coleslaws, they are shredded raw vegetables that are crunchy to eat. This coleslaw is a traditional creamy coleslaw that is created for our keto friends.
The flavour isn’t very traditional, with only the green cabbage as the mainstay. Fennel is used instead of carrot, eliminating the natural sweetness and replaces it with strong anise-like tastes.
Green chillies and Tabasco sauce makes this coleslaw nice and spicy too!
Ease: Really easy salad to make. All you’re doing is slicing the cabbage and fennel, dry toasting the black sesame seeds and mixing the dressing.
Time: The recipe takes 40 minutes, with 30 minutes spent drawing the water content out of the cabbage with salt. This is an important step to prevent the whole salad from turning into a soggy mess. I’m sure you’ve seen many creamy coleslaws ending up in a puddle of sauce.
You can make the dressing and dry toast the sesame seeds while you’re waiting. You’ll even be able to start the other parts of your dinner too. The minimum time is 30 minutes, but you can let it sit for longer if need be.
Green cabbage: Just a small head of green cabbage will suffice. If you can’t find a small one, half of the large one will be enough too.
Fennel: About half of regular-sized fennel will be enough too. It’s about finding the right balance, so the anise flavours do not overpower the coleslaw.
Green chilli: Get the larger peppers or chillies rather than the bird’s eye ones as they would be too spicy! Unless that’s what you like, then please go for it!
Black sesame seeds: Gives the coleslaw those lovely nutty flavours. Dry toasting them will bring out their flavours even more.
Mayonnaise: Get good flavoured mayonnaise with high-fat content.
Sour cream: Full fat sour cream will be required for this recipe. The light sour creams don’t have enough “oomph” in my book!
Apple cider vinegar: Gives the coleslaw the tartness it needs.
Tabasco sauce: Love adding this tart, spicy sauce to give the salad a lift. The amount used is entirely up to your internal Scoville measure and tolerance!
Salt: It needs more than just a pinch of salt for this recipe to draw out the water from the cabbage. And then additional salt to taste.
Pepper: To taste
How to Prepare the Cabbage
Remove the core of the green cabbage by cutting a V shape, so the rest of the cabbage is intact.
Cut the cabbage in half. Slice each quarter thinly.
How to Prepare the Rest of the Salad
Cut the top off the fennel and keep the fennel fronds. Remove the core of the fennel by cutting a V shape. Cut into quarters and lay it down on its flat side and slice thinly. Keep 3 of the nicest slices aside for garnish.
Cut green chilli in half, remove the seeds and slice into thin matchsticks.
Dry toast the black sesame seeds in a small fry pan for 1-2 minutes.
How to Make the Tabasco Dressing
In a small mixing bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar and Tabasco sauce.
Whisk until well combined.
How to Assemble the Low Carb Coleslaw
In a large mixing bowl, add the green cabbage, fennel, green chilli, black sesame seeds and dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss until well combined.
Place the spicy coleslaw on a serving platter.
Place 3 of the best slices of fennel on top to the side.
Pick the fennel fronds and garnish coleslaw.
Variations and Substitutions
Type of cabbage: You can use green, red or a combination of both coloured cabbages for this recipe. But it must contain cabbage to form the base of this coleslaw.
Fennel substitute: Kohlrabi would make for a great replacement for fennel. While it doesn’t have the same pungent anise-like flavours, it does have peppery notes that will work. The crunch of the vegetable is also perfect for the coleslaw.
Fennel frond substitute: If you decide you’d rather use kohlrabi, substitute the fennel fronds with dill.
Green chilli replacement: Any fresh chilli or peppers will work. Jalapeños will be a welcome addition if you prefer to use them or if easier to find.
Spiciness level: if you like it really spicy to get the metabolism going, keep the seeds in the green chilli or add more tobacco sauce in the dressing.
No black sesame seeds: You can use either white sesame seeds or nigella seeds.
Great Mains for This Salad
Grilled Steak Kabobs: Tender sirloin steak marinated overnight then grilled until caramelized with veggies and onions! This is such an easy and healthy summer dinner recipe, perfect for cookouts or even a low carb weeknight family meal! No better way to finish off the meal than to accompany it with this keto friendly spicy coleslaw. Yum!
Keto Fried Shrimp: These super-crispy keto fried shrimp are coated in seasoned low-carb breadcrumbs and fried to a beautiful golden brown. They’re perfect as an appetizer or a main course and are even better than the restaurant variety! Add some much needed vegetables for a full meal by serving it up with this spicy coleslaw.
Sous Vide Wagyu Steak: Learn how to make perfect sous vide steaks each and every time. Serve it up with this easy to make coleslaw and make a meal of it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Over time, the traditional coleslaw has transitioned into many different interpretations. However, the underlying definition is a salad that contains thin shredded raw cabbage that is tossed through with mayonnaise or a vinaigrette.
All other additional ingredients added to the coleslaw is just a different variation of its origin. Our low carb coleslaw with Tabasco dressing is an example of how we can always mix it up a bit.
According to TABASCO®, their original sauce is made of peppers, vinegar and salt. It is aged in oak barrels for up to three years in Louisiana before the much-loved sauce is bottled for world export.
TABASCO® Original Red Pepper Sauce was created by Edmund McIlhenny in 1868 and has been used by the McIlhenny family for nearly 150 years. It has a Scoville heat rating of about 2500-5000 and contains zero calories, fat or carbohydrates. It is also gluten free, kosher and halal.
Yes, you can, but you must ensure you remove the water content from the cabbage before doing so. Just add salt to shredded cabbage and let it sit in a colander over a bowl for a minimum of 30 minutes. The salt will draw out the water from the cabbage.
This way, the coleslaw doesn’t end up in a soggy mess.
That’s it! How incredibly easy and quick is this keto coleslaw? Apart from being keto-friendly or low carb, it is a really delicious version of coleslaw, perfect for pulled pork burgers, BBQ or a simple salad to have for a mid-week dinner.
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If you’d like to create your own salad and have an ingredient you’d like to hero, we have some great pairing suggestions to help you work out what flavours go well together.
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Spicy Keto Coleslaw
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- Remove the core of the green cabbage by cutting a V shape so the rest of the cabbage is intact. Cut the cabbage in half. Slice each quarter thinly.
- Cut the top off the fennel and keep the fennel fronds. Remove the core of the fennel by cutting a V shape. Cut into quarters and lay it down on its flat side and slice thinly. Keep 3 of the nicest slices aside for garnish.
- Cut green chilli in half, remove the seeds and slice into thin matchsticks.
- Dry toast the black sesame seeds in a small fry pan for 1-2 minutes.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar and Tabasco sauce.
- Whisk until well combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the green cabbage, fennel, green chilli, black sesame seeds and dressing. Season with salt and pepper and toss until well combined.
- Place the spicy coleslaw on a serving platter.
- Place 3 of the best slices of fennel on top to the side.
- Pick the fennel fronds and garnish coleslaw.
- You can substitute the green cabbage with red cabbage or add both.
- You can substitute the fennel with kohlrabi or add both.
- You can replace fennel fronds with some dill.
- If you like it really spicy to get the metabolism going, keep the seeds in the green chilli or add more tobacco sauce in the dressing.
- You can use either white sesame seeds or nigella seeds if you can’t get black sesame seeds.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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