RECIPE: 4 Ingredient Fermented Coleslaw

Don’t ask me to explain it, but hipsters love to ferment things.

Beer is a given. But also tea (kombucha). Soy (tempeh). Milk (kefir). And now…vegetables. Yes, the rise in “craft” vegetable production can be seen across the urban landscape – from every food truck serving up kimchi tacos to every hippie grocery store hocking $10 juniper-scented saurkraut.

And they’re not wrong. Fermented foods are incredibly good for you. Something like 80% of your immune system exists in your digestive system and fermented foods are the fastest way to load up on all those probiotics you’ve been hearing about. They’re also delicious and are an easy way to add loads of flavour to any sandwich, salad, soup or bowl of bibimbap.

So…while you might feel like the whole thing is a little “trendy” or even a little gross…Here’s a super easy recipe for those of you who might be feeling just a little curious and are interested in taking a step into fermented waters.

RECIPE: 4 Ingredient Fermented Coleslaw

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  • 1 large head of green cabbage
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 tbsp course pink salt
  • 2 cloves garlic


  1. Remove outer leaves from cabbage and set aside for later.
  2. Shred vegetables with a knife, grater or food processor.
  3. Combine shredded carrots and cabbage in a large metal bowl, then sprinkle with salt.
  4. Using your hands, massage salt into vegetables for 3-4 minutes until cabbage has wilted. Vegetables will release water as they wilt.
  5. Pack coleslaw mixture into several mason jars or one large jar (like the one pictured above), making sure there are no pockets of air and that vegetables are submerged in their own liquid (you can add the remainder from the bowl to each jar).
  6. Cover coleslaw mixture with reserved cabbage leaves (these keep air from getting in and help keeps vegetables submerged).
  7. Leave the jar out for 3-4 days. Open the jar daily to ensure vegetables are submerged and to relieve any air pressure that may have built up in the jar. When packing down vegetables, always use a wooden utensil rather than metal as this can affect the fermentation process.
  8. After 3-4 days, taste the mixture. If it tasty sour, bubbly and a little spicy it is perfect! Just refrigerate and the coleslaw will keep for 2-3 months in the fridge.

Note: if this is your first time fermenting, you might want to check out this video, this kimchi recipe or this safety guide

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  • Reply Karina October 18, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    The cabbage did not leave enough water to cover all of the coleslaw, should I add water or just leave it with air pockets?

    • Reply the healthy hipster October 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Yes! Just enough to cover the cabbage. Then just pack it down with your fist to push out the bubbles!

    • Reply JD August 2, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      I recommend buying some ‘Glass Fermentation Weights’ which are just little round glass disks you put on top of the cabbage (or other Fermentos) to keep the product submerged. They work great and are inexpensive. I bought the “Pickle Pebbles, and they are okay, but the diameter was not as great as I expected. There are others that a close diameter to the width of a Mason jar.


      • Reply the healthy hipster August 3, 2015 at 11:55 am

        SMART! I’ll look for them 🙂

  • Reply Kalee July 31, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    I saw garlic listed in ingredients, but you did not describe what to do with it.

  • Reply Shelley October 28, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Can I add onions to this recipe?

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