Crispy, crunchy, smoky, and salty. And if that’s not enough, Bacon Coleslaw also happens to be keto and Whole30. Fresh, shredded veggies and crumbly bacon and a tangy vinegar and whole grain mustard dressing = side dish heaven. Goes great with (and on) both hot and cold meals, or straight outta the bowl!
I know, I know… coleslaw is picnic food; it’s BBQ food; it’s summertime food. You’re thinking this recipe would have been great 2 months ago, while I’m thinking “My god I’ve slow cooked so much meat already and it just turned October… how am I going to keep things interesting?”
Well, Reader, I’m gonna smother sandwich after sandwich in this bacon coleslaw while the days are still longer than the nights and save worrying about sauerkraut for after the snow starts falling.
Coleslaw on sandwiches is something I have researched extensively. And by researched extensively, I mean eaten a lot of. From the “Rachel,” birthed in the delis of New York, to Pittsburgh’s own glorious Primanti Brothers, to the BBQ revolutionaries down south that smother their pulled pork in it – I salute all of these monuments to good taste. These are all decidedly different, yet delicious sandwich experiences, all woven together in the fabric of American cuisine by one common thread: Cabbage. Go figure.
LTO on a sandwich is classic. And coleslaw is ubiquitous. But coleslaw in place (or in addition to) typical sandwich garnish is for bold culinary rebels! It’s like the quasi-healthy version of people who put fries on sandwiches (and Primanti Bros does both, so double gold star for them) – everyone does it now, but it still feels somehow…dangerous. All that crunch? And drippy bonus sauce? Love it!
And maybe to our children’s children it will just be business as usual, but for those of us who remember when things like fries and slaw came on the side, and only on the side, this feels gluttonous. And I’m here for it. So if we’re gonna glut – especially if we’re gonna really take that bull by the horns and toss in some bacon – let’s at least try to make things slightly healthier for us, shall we?
What makes this coleslaw keto?
Let’s all say it together now – NO SUGAR! No sweetener of any kind. Nada, zip, zero, zilch. And get ready to really clutch your pearls, cause there isn’t any mayo in this slaw either.
Here’s the thing, as puckery as it is, apple cider vinegar already has naturally sweet undertones. It’s the Sour Patch Kids of vinegars basically. We’re going for tangy here, not sweet. It’s a perfectly savory balance to the smoke and salt of the bacon.
And let’s be honest, who amongst us wouldn’t take bacon over sugar any day of the week?
How to make keto coleslaw
Even if you’re shredding the veggies by hand, this slaw comes together in under 20 minutes. Like any good coleslaw, you’ll want to budget in time for marinating.
- Shred cabbage and carrots and combine with green onions and parsley in a large bowl.
- Cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from fat, pat dry, and crumble over vegetables.
- Blend your dressing ingredients in a small bowl by whisking until emulsified.
- Pour over your veggies and bacon. Toss to coat evenly. Marinate at room temperature 1 hour for best flavor and texture.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Flavor and texture in a good coleslaw develops over time, so let it sit for an hour before serving.
- You want the bacon just crispy enough to crumble by hand, not chewy or burnt..
- Don’t substitute for a different mustard like yellow or Dijon – not only are the grains essential, but they have very different consistencies and it would alter the finished product.
Can I use bagged coleslaw mix?
Sure, but you want the veggies as crisp as possible for this bacon coleslaw so, I highly recommend instead of using bagged slaw that’s been sealed in a bag with its own moisture, you prepare it fresh. But you do you. For 4 cups you want about 16 oz. of bagged mix.
What to serve with keto coleslaw?
I believe my position regarding slaw on sandwiches is clear, but if you’re strict keto then sandwiches are a non-starter. The good news? Coleslaw is so much more than a condiment.
- Serve it in a bowl with basically any shredded meat – pulled pork, pulled chicken, etc. – with some diced avocado.
- As a side dish, again with basically anything – crispy chicken thighs, buffalo wings, and grilled steak are all great options.
- Hear me out – breakfast. I love a good savory breakfast recipe, and bacon coleslaw topped with runny eggs is perfection.
More super slaw dishes you’ll love
- Apple Cider Vinegar Coleslaw
- Ginger Scallion Pork Poppers with Citrusy Asian Slaw
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with No-Mayo Coleslaw
- Crunchy Kale Slaw
- Juicy Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Apple Jicama Slaw
Did you make this keto coleslaw? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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Bacon Coleslaw (Keto, Whole30)Print Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 6 slices thick-cut bacon
- 1 small head cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced, about 4 cups
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- ½ c shredded carrots
- ½ c parsley
- Combine the cabbage, carrots, green onions, and parsley in a large bowl.
- Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove using a slotted spoon, drain, then crumble.
- Allow the bacon fat to cool a bit, then transfer 4 tbsp (1/4) to a glass mixing cup or small bowl. Add the vinegar, mustard, black pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk until emulsified. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt or pepper as needed.
- Pour the dressing over the vegetables and add the crumbled bacon. Toss to combine. Marinate 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.
- Whole30: use whole30 compliant bacon and mustard (sugar free for both) - check your labels!
- If using pre-shredded cabbage, substitute 16 oz (about 4 cups)