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A Homemade Coleslaw Recipe – Lahana Salatası

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Is there a classic coleslaw recipe in existence? Well, probably not.

Coleslaw salad is one of those universal dishes that’s eaten in many countries around the world. And each has its own variation.

The only constant is the presence of shredded or finely chopped cabbage. After that, you can get slightly inventive.

Cabbage Salad Recipe

In Turkey, coleslaw is Lahana Salatası (cabbage salad) and we make our own version quite often.

Apart from the fact that it’s super tasty and quick and easy to make, it’s also a great way to use up all that cabbage.

Well, if you buy a huge white cabbage to make kapuska, for example, you’re still left with quite a glut – especially when there’s only two of you.

Nothing goes to waste in our house, though. A mountain of homemade coleslaw soon sorts out that bagful of cabbage stems and leaves that are lingering in the fridge.

White Cabbage At Çalış Market
Red cabbages look more manageable on the markets of Fethiye

Think Small, Think Colour

But what about if you don’t want to be faced with coming up with lots of cabbage recipes just so you’re not wasting food?

The ginormous white cabbages in Turkey can seem quite daunting if you’re not cooking for a large group.

Its colourful counterpart, however, looks much more manageable, don’t you think? Almost cute, in fact. It also makes for a colourful coleslaw salad.

Yes, we don’t want you to go thinking we make coleslaw just to get rid of leftovers. It’s a great salad in its own right.

And sometimes, we buy a small red cabbage from the market purely to make coleslaw. And that’s what we’re going to do now.

This is our recipe for coleslaw made with red cabbage.

Red Cabbage Coleslaw Recipe

Because, certainly for us, here in Turkey, there is no need to be buying ready made coleslaw from the shops. Or ready made anything, for that matter, when it comes to side dishes.

We make all our own meze and salads.

Your own coleslaw ingredients will be much fresher, crunchier, tastier and you can personalise it by choosing how much or how little of each ingredient you want.

And prep time?

Well, however long it takes you to chop and grate a few vegetables.

Carrots, Apple & Cabbage In A Bowl
Our colourful coleslaw ingredients

This coleslaw recipe makes a generous amount, so is perfect for when you’re entertaining – or for putting back in the fridge for keeping to yourself; by which time, you’ll have a lovely pinkness to it, too, from your red cabbage.

A Turkish Aegean Coleslaw

Where this becomes a more Turkish or Aegean coleslaw recipe is a move away from the perhaps more familiar mayonnaise dressing.

We do use a little bit just to remove the sharpness from the flavour but our main ‘creamy’ ingredient in this coleslaw recipe is natural yoghurt.

We’re using full fat Turkish süzme yoghurt, obviously, but if you can’t get that, thick Greek natural yoghurt will do the same job.

In Fethiye, we buy our süzme yoghurt from the market or the local shops around the fish market. It’s homemade and sold by weight.

The stall holders now also do a half fat version. Just look for the fridges that advertise ‘yarım yağlı’ if you prefer low fat versions.

Sweetness And Bite

For a bit of sweetness, we’re using grated apple and some grated carrot.

And, for a bit of bite, our coleslaw recipe has a sliced onion, a good squeeze of lemon juice, a touch of dijon mustard and a little sprinkling of cumin, too.

If you want to go even sweeter, the juice of an orange works wonders.

See, you can play with this coleslaw salad to suit yourself. Gotta love dishes like this where you can do taste tests as you go.

A close up of coleslaw ingredients before mixing. Grated carrot, shredded red cabbage and dollops of natural yoghurt are visible.
Just add everything to your bowl and mix

And it really is just a case of putting all those ingredients into a large bowl and giving them a good old mix.

See how colourful and healthy it all looks in the early evening sunshine.

A Summery Salad Recipe – But Winter Coleslaw Ingredients

Oddly, it’s one of those situations again where we tend to make coleslaw more often in winter, just like our homemade guacamole.

Well, what else are you gonna do when cabbages are so prevalent on the market? And carrots. And citrus fruits.

All part of the fun of trying to eat seasonally in Turkey. Turning winter into summer sometimes, in our house.

It’s that easy.

By the time you’ve done everything and given all your coleslaw ingredients a good old mix up, you should have something resembling the photo below.

Aegean Coleslaw Recipe
Winter ingredients for our coleslaw

And now it’s just a case of doing a taste test.

Add more of what you think is necessary – sometimes, we add a splash of vinegar, depending on how tangy the lemons are.

Sometimes we’ll add more mustard and sometimes we’ll add more apple – it depends what flavours we’re in the mood for.

Time To Enjoy Your Coleslaw

And how to eat your coleslaw?

Well, that’s entirely up to you, of course. It’ll keep in the fridge for two or three days so you can get creative with it.

If we’re not making rice or a side serving of bulgur, we love it as a cold, fresh alternative. It’s great as a sandwich filling.

But most of all, most of all, we love our homemade coleslaw served like this:

Coleslaw made with red cabbage is piled into a jacket potato
Coleslaw goes perfectly with baked potato

Yes! Turkey has the perfect type of potato for making baked potatoes. Sarı patates – yellow potato.

An obvious name from the fluffy yellow potato you can see in the photo.

Kumpir is a famous street food in Turkey (a baked potato with a ridiculous array of fillings) and we often experiment with baked potatoes at home.

But if we’re keeping life simple; a ginormous oven baked potato with a thick crispy skin and filled with homemade coleslaw.

Ahh, bliss!

How To Make Coleslaw Salad

So, let’s make our Turkish Aegean coleslaw…

Coleslaw made with red cabbage is piled into a jacket potato
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A Homemade Coleslaw Recipe (Lahana Salatası)

This healthy recipe for coleslaw is slightly different to others in that it mainly uses natural yoghurt rather than mayonnaise for its creaminess. We often use red cabbage (as in this recipe) rather than white cabbage just for a bit of colour.
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Course Meze
Cuisine Turkish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 140kcal
Author Turkey’s For Life


  • 1 small red cabbage thin outer leaves removed
  • 2 large carrots washed, peeled & grated
  • 1 medium onion peeled & thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium sweet green apple washed
  • 3 tablespoons süzme yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 dessert spoonful mayonnaise
  • 1 dessert spoonful dijon mustard or mild mustard
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 orange juiced (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes


  • Cut your red cabbage into quarters, lengthways
  • Remove the thick stem from the bottom of each quarter
  • Now slice each quarter, thinly across the heart so that you end up with lots of shredded cabbage
  • Add to a large bowl
  • Add your grated carrot to the bowl along with the sliced onion
  • Slice your apple into quarters, lengthways and remove the core from each quarter
  • Grate the flesh into the bowl and discard the skin that will be leftover in your hand
  • Now add your lemon juice (this will help prevent your grated apple from going brown)
  • Add your mayonnaise, mustard and yoghurt
  • Stir your mixture together and do a taste test
  • If you like a sweeter coleslaw, add the orange juice
  • Loosen your mixture with a drizzle of olive oil and add your cumin and chilli (if using)
  • Mix everything together and do another taste test
  • Add more of whatever you think is necessary


  • As with all of our recipes, the calorie count is just a rough guide, depending on how much or how little of each of the coleslaw ingredients you use.
  • The calories in our coleslaw recipe are per serving, based on 6 servings.
  • Coleslaw is really versatile and can be used as a side dish, a sandwich filling and, as we like to do, a baked potato filling.


Serving: 1Calories: 140kcal
Tried this recipe?Please consider Leaving a Review!
  • Most coleslaw recipes use white cabbage. We sometimes use red because we love the colour and also because they’re a more suitable size for us – white cabbages in Turkey are huge. If you use white cabbage, just make sure it’s a firm, crunchy one.
  • For a more indulgent (and more Turkish) coleslaw, you can add walnuts, too. Yummy!
  • We have lots of ideas here if you want to make your own Turkish dishes at home.

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Thursday 27th of March 2014

Made mine yesterday julia, it was nice but didn't look as good as yours. Just have to try again. :)()))

Turkey's For Life

Friday 28th of March 2014

Aww, maybe it's the colourful veg we have here that makes ours look like that. :)

Backto Bodrum

Wednesday 26th of March 2014

I always seem to have half a red cabbage in the fridge that ends up being binned. I'll stick a "coleslaw post it note on the next one. I went off coleslaw when my daughter was younger as she referred to it as coldsore. She's 21 now so I should be able to get over it.

Turkey's For Life

Friday 28th of March 2014

Ha ha, yeah, coleslaw is definitely a better name for it! Hope you can manage to make some. :)


Monday 24th of March 2014

I see you are developing a nice taste for food blogging. Gorgeous. Turkish food ranges among the best in the world, in my opinion.

Turkey's For Life

Tuesday 25th of March 2014

We try to concentrate on Turkish food over the weekends and this is the overspill as we couldn't post on Sunday. :)

Anne Mackle

Monday 24th of March 2014

This looks lovely. I 'be never used yogurt in coleslaw but really must try it as its healthier. I've never tasted yogurt as nice as the kind in Turkey it's amazing.

Turkey's For Life

Monday 24th of March 2014

The thick Turkish süzme yoghurt is just lovely isn't it and yes, so much healthier than mayonnaise. We're not big mayo fans (from the jar/bottle) so this yoghurt option suits us perfectly. :)

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