Originally posted July 3, 2014. Updated June 2015. 

Coleslaw was never the type of salad I craved. Not only did I find it hard to eat because the cabbage was sliced into a stringy mass, the dressing always seemed too sweet. I don’t remember eating coleslaw with a dressing I found appealing–they were always overly sweet or too creamy–two qualities that I only enjoy in the form of ice cream.

Recently, I was asked to prepare a sweet barbecue chicken sandwich recipe. The fully plated version called for the sandwich to be paired with coleslaw. When I read that detail, I think my facial muscles automatically contorted into a cringe as flashbacks of super-sweet and creamy coleslaw flooded my mind. From that moment on, I was on a mission to create a coleslaw recipe that I liked–whether I ate the slaw on its own or added it into a sandwich.

Trying my best to keep calories on the lower-end (I am a dietitian, after all!), I experimented with dressings containing both full-fat and light mayonnaise varieties and….Greek yogurt. This year, my dear RD colleague, Toby Amidor wrote a book entitled The Greek Yogurt Kitchen. It has a ton of amazing Greek yogurt recipes and her book inspired me to experiment with this ingredient in my dressing recipe. I discovered that the yogurt kept the creamy consistency I was shooting for while adding the tangy-flavor I liked. (Thanks Toby! My “Ma-yo” dressing title is in your honor.) I like how the additional ingredients, like earthy ground paprika, a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of brown sugar balance out the flavors nicely.

After experimenting with this recipe (several times!) with my family, I think I found the right combination. Now when I think of coleslaw, I think of this version…and I love it!

Tangy Coleslaw with Ma-yo Dressing

Serves: 6-8
Time: 15 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon season salt
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/8 (“a pinch”) brown sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • 4 cups (about 1/2 head) cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (2-3 medium) carrots, grated


  1. In a large salad bowl, combine all dressing ingredients together and whisk.  Set aside
  2. Add cabbage and carrots to the large bowl with the dressing. Use tongs to incorporate all ingredients together.
  3. Chill coleslaw in refrigerator and serve.

*Note: Garnish with lemon slices and freshly grated carrot. Can also add chopped cilantro or parsley for added color and flavor.