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. Made the creamy version add added a good handful of pumpkin seeds for a little more crunch as I had no bell pepper. Lovely, not too smothered in dressing but with just enough for binding and flavor. Lovely flavor to the dressing. Good alterative to regular slaw (in fact, for me, preferable to cabbage). Thanks.

    1. You’re so very welcome, Gee. We feel exactly the same as you—a lovely late-summer switch from coleslaw. Looking forward to hearing which recipe from the site you try next…

  2. At first I thought this said, “Zucchini Straw,” and I thought, “how clever!” 😉

    Well, heck. Whatever you call it, I love this take on slaw. My mom was the queen of creative zucchini use, and I bet she’d have loved this, too.

  3. I used this recipe with the creamy slaw dressing. I added some large boiled shrimp and put over a bed of lettuce. Best shrimp salad I ever had. Served at a picnic and got nothing but raves!

  4. Yes! Thank you. I have two large zuchs on my counter right now, waiting for the right recipe to come along. And now I have it.

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