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Ruby Coleslaw : Easy Summer Salad

Ruby Coleslaw in white serving dish
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Ruby Coleslaw is my new favorite salad! Perfect for summer picnics, barbecues and potlucks, it’s a vinegar-based coleslaw that uses all the scrumptious red and purple veggies I could find. The thinly sliced vegetables marinate in a DELISH lightly sweet and tangy dressing. It’s a unique summer salad your friends and family will love. Plus, the jewel-tone color is absolutely gorgeous!

Coleslaw is a summertime staple. I like it in all it’s forms, creamy mayonnaise-based coleslaws and vinegar-based ones, too. But, I also like mixing it up a little. Nobody wants to eat the same things over and over. Ruby Coleslaw is a unique slaw that brings some delicious variety to summer menus.

Ticking all the “good for you boxes”, Ruby Coleslaw is health food you’ll love to eat. Yes. Healthy food can be delicious food. I know you already knew that, right?

purple cabbage, red onion, radishes, beet and red bell pepper on a cutting board

This coleslaw is gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. The purple cabbage is loaded with fiber and antioxidants, plus Vitamins K and C. (Love cabbage recipes? Check out my Ground Beef and Cabbage, too.) The beets add folate, manganese, iron, potassium and Vitamin C. Red onions add more antioxidants, manganese, as well as Vitamins B6 & C. Radishes and Bell peppers put this delicious salad over the top in vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. If being beautiful and delicious isn’t enough, you have to get excited that Ruby Coleslaw is a powerhouse of nutrition.

Prepping the Vegetables

5 common fresh vegetables is all you’ll need to toss this pretty salad together. Grab a medium head of purple cabbage, a red onion, a beet, radishes and a red bell pepper.

Start by cutting the head of cabbage in half. You’ll only be using half in this recipe so you can wrap the rest and store it in the fridge to use later in the week.

halved cabbage with core removed

Just like green cabbage, the purple cabbage has a center core. It’s easy to see once you cut it in half. Cut around that core and remove it.

Now, turn the cabbage over, placing the cut side down, on your cutting board. Slice the cabbage into very thin strips.

purple cabbage sliced into thin strips

Now, turn your cutting board so you can cut the cabbage in the other direction. Cutting the long strips into thirds or fourths makes for more manageable, bite-size pieces after the salad has marinated. Place the cut cabbage into a large salad bowl that has a lid. I try to use glass, since that ruby color may transfer to your bowl if you use plastic.

hand cut purple cabbage on a cutting board

Use a small red onion or cut a large one in half or thirds. We love pickled red onion, so half is more my speed. Cut the onion into very thin slices and then cut the round slices into thirds or fourths to create thin, short strips of red onion. Add the onion to the cabbage in your salad bowl.

red onion sliced into thin strips on a cutting board

Tips for Handling Raw Beets

The good news? The color is gorgeous. You can even use beet juice as natural coloring for your Easter eggs!

The challenge. These WILL stain your hands. It will wash and wear away in about 24 hours, but there will be stains. If that will be a problem, grab a pair of disposable kitchen gloves to protect your hands.

The juice from the beets can also stain countertops and cutting boards (anything porous, really). Wipe it off immediately to prevent it from soaking in and leaving a stain.

To avoid any issues, I typically work over a piece of parchment or waxed paper when I peel them. And for grating, I put parchment paper over my cutting board.

Peel the rough outer skin off the beet. Then use the largest hole side on a *box grater, to grate the beet. Lift the parchment paper and slide the grated beet into the bowl with the cabbage and onions.

grated beet with box grater on a cutting board covered with parchment paper

Cut the radishes for Ruby Coleslaw into thin slices and then halve them.

Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and cut it in half. Wrap the other half and store in the fridge for another recipe. Cut the bell pepper half into thins strips and then halve them to make them more bite-size.

Add the radishes and bell peppers to the salad bowl with your other veggies. All that’s left to do is whisk up the yummy dressing and pour it over the coleslaw, so it can begin marinating.

Make the Dressing for Ruby Coleslaw

This dressing is pretty standard for marinated salads and vegetables. It needs an acid, a healthy oil, a small amount of sweet and some herbs and spices for seasoning. You can whisk it up in a bowl or shake it up in a tightly covered pint jar. Do what’s easiest for you.

salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar: avocado oil, red wine vinegar, stone ground mustard, honey, parsley, celery seed, salt and pepper.

I almost always use avocado oil for dressings, since it really doesn’t interfere with any of the other flavors. Olive oil DOES have a stronger flavor, but it would also be a good choice for this dressing if you enjoy it.

Apple cider vinegar is the one I most often have on hand, but also love this dressing with red wine vinegar. Sometimes, I even use half and half.

I choose raw local honey as the sweetener simply because I try to avoid processed sugar where it makes sense. It’s in enough other foods that I buy or bake, so I don’t also need it in my salad dressing.

finished dressing for Ruby Coleslaw in a mason jar

I also add stone ground mustard for an extra zing of acid and flavor.

The herbs and seasonings are simple: salt and black pepper, celery seed and parsley.

Place everything into your bowl or jar and whisk them, or shake them, until everything is combined.

Pouring dressing over Ruby Coleslaw

Pour the dressing over the salad. Stir to coat all the cut vegetables and then cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. Honestly, the best flavor will be after 8 or 10 hours or overnight.

You’ll be treated to a gorgeous ruby colored salad the next time you open that bowl. The beets will have added not only their high nutrient value, but also their color to every vegetable in your slaw. The whole salad will take on a jewel-tone ruby color. And thus, the name.

Add Ruby Coleslaw to your meal rotation this summer for scrumptious, refreshing flavor, powerhouse nutrition and beauty on the plate.

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Ruby Coleslaw in a white serving dish

Ruby Coleslaw

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x


You only need about 15 minutes to prep this scrumptious and beautiful coleslaw.  It will need to marinate for at least 4 hours, but as with most marinated vegetables is at its premium best after being in the fridge overnight.  Perfect for picnics, barbecues and summer gatherings.


Units Scale

For the Slaw:

  • 1/2 a medium red cabbage, shredded or cut into thin slices
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, halved & then thinly sliced
  • 1 medium beet, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of avocado or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw organic honey
  • 2 Tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley)
  • 2 teaspoons of celery seed
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Cut the head of cabbage in half and remove the core in one half.  Store the other half in the fridge for a future recipe.
  2. Lay the cored cabbage half, flat side down, on a cutting board.  Cut the cabbage in very thin slices.  Then turn the board and cut through the slices the other way, cutting them into thirds or fourths, so they are more bite-sized pieces.
  3. Peel the beet.  Discard the peels and grate the beet on the largest holes side of your box grater.
  4. Slice the onion in half and store one half for later use.  Place the flat side of the other onion down and then cut it into thin slices.  Separate the slices into individual strips.
  5. Cut the radishes into thin slices and then halve them.
  6. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and cut it in half. Wrap the other half and store in the fridge for another recipe. Cut the bell pepper half into thins strips and then halve them to make them more bite-size.
  7. Add the radishes and bell peppers to the salad bowl with your other veggies.
  8. Make the dressing by placing all dressing ingredients into a mason jar.  Cover tightly and shake until ingredients are blended.
  9. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and toss to coat all the veggies.
  10. Store the coleslaw in an airtight container in the fridge to allow the vegetables to marinate.  Overnight marinating will yield the best flavor, but a minimum of 4 hours is absolutely necessary.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad, Side Dish
  • Method: Marinated
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cole slaw, slaw, cabbage, beets, radishes, red onion, red bell pepper, salad

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glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

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