Better yet? It’s not just a summer side dish.

No offense to mayo lovers everywhere (you know who you are), but isn't it time we had a great side dish for our backyard barbecues (or really any meal in any season) that:

  • A: Didn't add extra fat and calories
  • B: Didn't go bad fast at room temp
  • C: Allowed the veggies to play more of a starring role

I mean, I like a classic coleslaw as much as the next girl, but let's be honest, those mostly taste like the dressing and the vegetables are just a delivery service and texture. Sometimes I want all that crunch with a lighter dressing that enhances the natural flavor of the ingredients, and preferably one that can sit for a day and still be delicious.

The no-mayo salad of my dreams: Jade Slaw

I came up with this green slaw over two decades ago to fulfill all those wishes, and it has been in regular rotation ever since. You can make it for your family quickly for a weeknight supper or multiply it up endlessly for entertaining. No mayo means it can sit out at room temp without you worrying about it getting dangerous, and while it is extra crunchy the day you make it, it is still wonderful for a day or two in the fridge. 

More to love about Jade Slaw

It works with pretty much any protein, and all the ingredients are available year-round, so it has no specific season. Make it all summer for your backyard grilling meals or pull it out as a perfect contrast to your fall and winter braises and roasts. Sometimes I will make a lunch out of it by topping with a grilled chicken thigh, a can of olive-oil packed tuna, or a pile of crumbled goat cheese. It is light enough to work as a brunch dish, and elegant enough to make for a holiday side.

Credit: Getty / luchezar

How to make Jade Slaw

Serves 4-6

1 bag of "angel hair" style pre-shredded green cabbage, or ½ small head green cabbage finely shredded

1 head fennel, halved, cored, and sliced paper thin

1 green apple, julienned fine

½ large or 1 whole small jicama, julienned fine

2 hearts of celery, sliced fine

½ cup chopped parsley


¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated ginger 

1/3 cup canola oil

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Pinch salt

Mix dressing ingredients together until well emulsified. Toss veggies and apples with dressing until thoroughly coated. Let sit a minimum of 1 hour for flavors to blend, then taste for seasoning and balance. Keep well chilled until time to serve! You can garnish with roasted peanuts or fried Chinese noodles (or both) if you want extra crunch.