Zucchini Slaw Two Ways

This zucchini slaw–made with thinly sliced zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper, and scallions–can turn out two ways: one with mayo, another with vinaigrette. You’ll never give zucchini away again.

A plate of zucchini slaw two ways with strips of zucchini, yellow summer squash, bell pepper and two dressings

In this inspired riff on coleslaw, zucchini stands in for cabbage. Consider it our love note to anyone who’s ever ended up with crazy amounts of zucchini in their garden. The only difficult part about the recipe is deciding whether you want a rich and creamy dressing with mayo and mustard or a sweetly tart vinaigrette enhanced with sugar.

Actually, there’s another decision you get to make. And that’s how to slice your squash. The perfectionist streak in us prefers the pleasing precise appearance of zucchini julienned with a chef’s knife or one of those handy julienne peelers, although the practical side of us likes to save a little time and trouble by tossing the vegetables in a food processor. Originally published August 30, 2010.Sara Foster

Zucchini Slaw Two Ways

  • Quick Glance
  • (6)
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
4.8/5 - 6 reviews
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  • For the zucchini slaw
  • For the creamy slaw dressing
  • For the sweet and tart dressing


Prep the zucchini slaw

Combine the zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, scallions, bell pepper, if using, and parsley in a large bowl or, if you want to try both dressings, divvy the veggies between a couple bowls.

Make the creamy slaw dressing

Whisk the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Make the sweet and tart slaw dressing

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds, if using, in a jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake the jar until the sugar dissolves. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Assemble the slaw

Drizzle the veggies with either the creamy slaw dressing or the sweet and tart slaw dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat. You can refrigerate the slaw for a little while, although it’s best to serve it shortly after dressing it so it doesn’t become soggy or weepy.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Using extra zucchini instead of cabbage in slaw is brilliant, not to mention a very sneaky way to get choosy eaters to gobble up zucchini and squash. Both dressings are delicious. The creamy dressing’s hint of Dijon packs an elegant punch and the vinegar-based dressing is light and fresh and fat-free!

The zucchini slaw comes together in the time it takes to grill a few steaks or chicken breasts, thanks to a trip through the food processor. I can’t wait to try this slaw on a pulled-pork sandwich.

I noticed that both versions of this slaw do not keep well, but maybe that’s due to the oppressive heat and humidity we’re experiencing right now. Dress the zucchini right before serving and stir it occasionally.

I’m not a huge fan of raw veggies, so you’ll never find me using raw zucchini in place of pasta or anything like that. But this zucchini slaw two ways was really good. I used the julienne blade on my mandoline for the squash and carrots, but I think a shredding blade on a food processor would do the same thing only faster. It took some work to julienne the bell pepper to a similar size, and I think a small dice would provide the same crunch with easier knife skills.

You do need the carrot and bell pepper to give the coleslaw a little crunch and texture. My zucchini and summer squash ended up pretty soft in the final dish. I made the creamy dressing. I didn’t actually like it upon first taste because I thought it was too tangy from the mustard and vinegar but after mixing it into the coleslaw and letting it sit for a few minutes, it all melded together just fine. I did need another sprinkle of salt on the coleslaw to fine-tune the flavor.

I found a lot of liquid drained from the veggies within a half hour of making the slaw. But you can mix it right before serving and it won’t seep all over the plate—just be aware that the bottom of the bowl will collect a lot of liquid. Because it uses up so much squash (yes, I have some in the garden), I can definitely see this standing in for more traditional cabbage coleslaw this summer.


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  1. I made this recipe and substituted finely chopped onions for the scallions/green onions as that’s what I had on hand. I made the creamy dressing but added sunflower seeds and garnished with some raisins…it was great!

  2. I made this salad with the creamy dressing. I followed the recipe but then added a heaping teaspoon of honey and a crushed clove of garlic to the dressing. This was tasty and I’d definitely make this again.

  3. The sweet and tart version has been a go-to since Leite’s published this years ago. It’s an amazing way to eat your vegetables – definitely a crowd-pleaser!

  4. I don’t like cooked zucchini. Raw is the way to go. It also makes a great kimchi or kraut when lactofermented. My mother never made mayo based cole slaw, always vinegar and oil, no sugar. I lived in the deep south for a few years and I had to call mine Italian cole slaw so people would eat it when they were expecting mayo. It was a hit. Typical ingredients of cabbage and grated carrot but I would add celery, green onion and a fresh herb like cilantro or oregano. Black pepper and red pepper flakes were a must, sometimes fresh jalapeno. My friends would ask for it if they were having a get-together. So my zucchini slaw just acts as a cabbage substitute, but not in a bad way. The last batch I made I used homemade chile oil made from Thai chile. Nice and zesty. Sometimes I’ll use sesame oil and add fresh minced ginger for an Asian flavor. There are so many ways to dress up raw zucchini. Personally, I prefer the smaller ones so I don’t have too many seeds, otherwise, I just scoop the seeds out. Btw, if your slaw becomes weepy, simply strain it.

  5. YUM! Made the Sweet and Tart version, I only used about half the sugar and added celery seeds instead of poppy seeds. I have leftovers, can’t wait to bring it to work for lunch tomorrow. My co-workers are always looking for my recipes! They are going to LOVE this!

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