The Easiest-Ever Mayo-Free Coleslaw For Your Pulled Pork Sandwich

Mayo-free coleslaw for a pulled pork sandwich

Pulled pork is truly one of the best inventions to come out of the south. Cheap cuts of pork like the shoulder are rubbed with spices and slowly smoked or broiled until it falls apart with a single poke of the fork. The end result is a pile of luscious, mouth-meltingly soft pork that can be tossed with your favorite barbecue sauce and piled high on a bun.

Even when you are planning on feeding a crowd, it is always possible to end up with leftover pulled pork. This is actually a great thing, since leftover pork is even more flavorful after marinating overnight! When looking for a leftover pulled pork recipe, you can't go wrong with a good sandwich. There are all sorts of sauces and toppings you can include, but almost everyone agrees that coleslaw is a must.

Unfortunately, a lot of people miss out on this essential part of a good pulled pork sandwich because they are not a fan of mayo. Whether you gag at the taste of mayo or just want to cut back on the calories a bit, it is helpful to know how to make a tasty mayo-free coleslaw. The right recipe can be perfect for sandwiches, and it is also a tasty side at any cookout or dinner party.

Mayo-Free Coleslaw For Your Pulled Pork Sandwich

The Ultimate Guide to Making Mayo-Free Coleslaw

The key to making a good mayo-free coleslaw is all about the wait time. Without mayonnaise to coat each leaf with the spices and dressing, you need to give your cabbage a little time to soak up all the flavors you use. Another method I used to make sure the coleslaw got as much flavor as possible is using a higher vinegar to oil ratio than you get in a usual coleslaw. Mustard has a naturally emulsifying property, so it helps to keep the oil and vinegar from separating while the slaw sits. To get an absolutely delicious coleslaw that does not need mayo to be packed with flavor, follow this guide.


  • ½ head green cabbage
  • ¼ head red cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 green onions
  • ¼ olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard or 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step-by-step Instructions

1. Finely chop the cabbage and carrots into thin, julienned strips. Chop the green onions into small pieces.

2. Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and toss to combine.

3. Put the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, celery seed, sugar, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and one teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Stir vigorously until the dressing is thoroughly combined.

4. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and toss them until each piece is coated in dressing.

5. Taste the slaw and see if it needs more salt and pepper.

6. Place the slaw in the fridge until chilled, for at least two hours. It can be left in the fridge for up to 24 hours before eating. Stir before serving.

 7. Enjoy your mayonnaise-free coleslaw with your tasty pulled pork sandwich!

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The Easiest-Ever Mayo-Free Coleslaw For Your Pulled Pork Sandwich (52 downloads)

Mayo-free coleslaw recipe

Pro tips

  • If you have a food processor, use the slicer attachment to quickly shred your vegetables into thin strips.
  • Those who aren't a fan of cabbage can just swap out the cabbage for an equal amount of broccoli in this recipe to get a good mayo-free broccoli slaw.
  • Taste the slaw and see if it needs more seasoning after it is chilled. Taste buds register flavor less at lower temperatures, so you may need more salt and sugar to get the perfect taste.
  • To get each shred of veggie perfectly coated, try pouring the slaw and the dressing in a big ziploc bag and tossing it around

Tips for Serving the Perfect Pulled Pork and Coleslaw Sandwich

Now that you know how to make a delicious mayo-free coleslaw, it is time to assemble your pulled pork sandwich and use up all that leftover pulled pork! The truth is that you only really need three things: the bun, the pork, and the coleslaw. If you want the most basic version of a pulled pork sandwich, all you have to do is split your bun in two and load it up with coleslaw and pulled pork. Keep in mind that it works best when you put your coleslaw on top, because otherwise the sandwich can get a little top heavy.

To spice things up a little, be sure to add in a barbecue sauce. With the tanginess of the coleslaw, my favorite choice is the classic Kansas City barbecue style. This type of tomato based sauce is sweet, tangy, and just a little spicy thanks to the blend of ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, and cayenne. However, depending on your tastes, you might like a spicy mustard-based South Carolina sauce or a thin, vinegar-based Western Carolina sauce.

After you sort out your sauce, it is time to consider more toppings. Pickles are another foolproof choice that adds a little tanginess and crunch to your sandwich. Buttering the bun before you assemble everything is another way to add flavor to the sandwich, and those who love cheese might enjoy a good slice of melty pepper jack or cheddar on their sandwich. Of course, the sky's the limit when it comes to pulled pork sandwiches. I've had sandwiches with everything from avocado to mac and cheese on them, and it turns out that just about anything tastes delicious when combined with some truly excellent pulled pork.

Pulled pork sandwich

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, a pulled pork sandwich and mayo-free coleslaw can be anything you want it to be. Following this guide will give you a truly delicious, no-fail meal, but if you want, you can always throw in your favorite crunchy veggie or family barbecue sauce recipe for a personal spin. Leave me a comment below with tips on how you personalize your coleslaw and pulled pork sandwiches!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is coleslaw dressing made of?

How bad is coleslaw for you?

How do you fix watery coleslaw?

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