Skip to Content

Vegan Poppy Seed Coleslaw

How to make vegan coleslaw with poppy seed dressing

You might be wondering – do I really need a recipe for vegan poppy seed coleslaw in my recipe collection/on my Pinterest Board, etc.? My answer is – yes!

This recipe for vegan coleslaw with poppy seed dressing is easy to make using simple, easy to find ingredients.

It comes in handy when you’re heading to a potluck, summer cookout, etc., and need to find a quick recipe that doesn’t just go with everything – you want it to be a potential crowd pleaser.

Vegan poppyseed coleslaw easy recipe

Note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you make a purchase through my blog, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Whenever I went out for lunch back in my pre-vegan days, I would almost always order coleslaw if it was on the menu. What’s not to love? This’s crunchy, slightly sweet vegetable side dish is the perfect comfort food that’s also kind of sort of healthy (not always but still ?).

Fast forward to my vegan present. Of course, I’ve had coleslaw in the eight years since I went vegan. I’ve even made some more exotic coleslaw versions like my vegan chipotle coleslaw and my Asian-style slaw with peanut sauce.

But as good as the “alternative” coleslaw varieties are, every now and then we find ourselves in need of that classic, traditional flavor and crunch of “regular” coleslaw.

That’s when this vegan poppyseed coleslaw recipe comes in handy.

Of course, you can just leave the poppyseeds out if you like, but I find that they add a nice crunch and an interesting, slightly nutty flavor hint.

Vegan coleslaw with creamy poppy seed dressing

Ingredients in Vegan Poppy Seed Coleslaw

(To find the ingredient amounts that this recipe calls for, please scroll down to the printable recipe card below.)

Cabbage. The basis of any coleslaw recipe. You can’t beat its toothsome crunch and a subtle hint of spiciness. I like using a combination of purple and green shredded cabbage in my vegan coleslaw to make its colors pop.

If you only have one type of cabbage on hand, feel free to use just that.

Carrots. Another popular coleslaw ingredient. Shredded carrots add a touch of sweetness and balance out the flavors of this dish. Use the side of the box grater with the largest holes to shred them here.

By the way, did you know that beta-carotene, the nutritional compound carrots are famous for, is absorbed better if we eat carrots with foods that contain fat?

You’re in luck with my vegan coleslaw here: the creamy poppy seed dressing I’m using in this recipe contains plant-based fats, so this coleslaw isn’t just tasty – it’s also healthy! ?

Red radishes. This isn’t an ingredient you’ll see in most coleslaw recipes, but trust me – it works really well here, bot for the flavor and for color. Shred them on the same side of the box grater that you use for shredding carrots.

Vegan mayo. I’m taking an easy road by using store-bought vegan mayonnaise in this poppy seed dressing.

My go-to vegan mayo is Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart, but you can use other brands if you’d like. Avocado oil-based vegan mayo by Chosen Foods or Sir Kensington for example.

Don’t want to use mayo? Try a similar amount of coconut cream (be aware that it will give your dressing a hint of coconut flavor). Or cashew cream (raw cashews blended with water in 1:1 proportion).

Raw poppy seeds. These little black specks add a nutty, slightly fruity flavor that screams summer to me.

Here’s the deal about poppy seeds: they are rich in magnesium, calcium and fiber, but they also have a tough outer layer that pevents those nutrients from being absorbed by our bodes.

There are two things we can do to fix this (and make the poppyseeds tastier along the way):

  • We can either soak them in water for a couple hours before making the dressing – this will soften the tough outer layer.
  • We can use a clean coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle to grind them a bit – this will crack the outer layer and let the nutrients come out easier.

Red wine vinegar. This is a versatile type of vinegar that’s less intense than balsamic or white vinegar. It adds a subtle note of sweetness and just the right amount of zing.

Pure maple syrup. A perfect liquid sweetener for use in dressings, sauces, etc. Unlike sugar, it won’t add a grainy texture that you could often find in homemade dressings if the sugar hasn’t dissolved all the way.

Granulated garlic. One of the most used seasonings in my spice cabinet. It’s perfect when I’m looking for a touch of garlicky flavor but don’t need the extra volume and texture of (and the mess of dealing with) fresh garlic cloves.

Salt and pepper. The final touch in any recipe. Need I say more?

Creamy vegan poppy seed dressing for cole slaw

How Many Calories are in Poppy Seed Coleslaw?

My vegan poppy seed coleslaw has approximately 139 calories per one-cup serving. The exact number of calories will depend on the brand of vegan mayonnaise you use, etc.

To see the full nutritional information, scroll down to the bottom of the recipe card below.

How to Make Vegan Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing

PREPARE THE VEGETABLES. Rinse the cabbage and radishes; peel the carrot. Then finely chop the cabbage, and shred the radishes and the carrot on the side of the box grater with the largest holes.

Combine the vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

OPTIONAL STEP: Using a clean coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the poppy seeds for a few seconds. This cracks their tough outer shell and makes them more flavorful.

(Alternatively, you can soak the poppy seeds in water for 1-2 hours – this will soften their outer shell.)

MAKE THE POPPYSEED DRESSING. In a small bowl, combine vegan mayo, red wine vinegar, poppy seeds, pure maple syrup, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper.

Whisk the mixture until it’s uniform. It’s OK if the dressing looks thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

TO FINISH: Pour the poppy seed dressing over the shredded vegetable mixture. Toss well to spread the dressing evenly.

Serve right away, or let cool in the fridge for 30 minutes, then toss again before serving.

Easy vegan poppyseed coleslaw recipe step by step

What Does Vegan PoppySeed Coleslaw Go With?

This vegan poppyseed coleslaw can be paired with any foods you’d serve with regular coleslaw.

For example, I love it as a side dish for my vegan BBQ chickpeas or my homemade barbecue seitan. It’s also great with my vegan baked BBQ tofu sandwich.

Other great pairings include my Southern-style slow cooker vegan collard greens and my smoky vegan Instant Pot black eyed peas.

Just about any sandwiches or barbecue cookout staples will work with this vegan coleslaw.

Yield: 4 servings

Vegan Poppy Seed Coleslaw Recipe

Vegan coleslaw with poppy seed dressing

This vegan coleslaw with creamy poppy seed dressing is easy and quick to make from simple everyday ingredients. A perfect vegan side dish for any occasion, from casual family dinners to BBQ cookouts. Vegan, gluten free (if made with gluten free vegan mayo), egg free, dairy free.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 3 cups shredded cabbage*
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup shredded red radishes

For the Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup vegan mayo**
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • Salt, pepper to taste


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine shredded cabbage, carrots, and radishes. Mix well.
  2. OPTIONAL: Using a clean coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the poppy seeds for 5-7 seconds (this cracks their tough outer shell and releases more flavor).
  3. MAKE THE POPPY SEED DRESSING: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients, from vegan mayo to salt and pepper, until the mixture is uniform. It's OK if the dressing looks thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. TO FINISH: Pour the poppy seed dressing over the shredded vegetable mixture. Toss well to spread the dressing evenly. Serve right away or let cool in the fridge for 30 min.


* Feel free to use a combination of green and purple cabbage for more color. I used 1 cup purple and 2 cups green cabbage to make coleslaw you see in the pictures.

** I use Vegenaise, but any other brand will work too.

Recommended Products

This recipe contains affiliate links to If you make a purchase through affiliate links on my blog, I receive a very small commission that helps me run this blog, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 139Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 6gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g

Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.

Follow Vegan Runner Eats on Pinterest for more recipes!

If you want to Pin this recipe, click on the round pin button at the top of this card.

I hope you enjoy my vegan coleslaw with poppy seed dressing at your next cookout party or a potluck!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, share it with your friends on social media! And stick around for more awesomeness – subscribe to Vegan Runner Eats to receive the latest posts (I’ll send you a free copy of my vegan dinner recipe e-book as a thank you), or follow the blog on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.

Skip to Recipe