Sugar-Free Orange-Coconut Coleslaw with Chopped Pecans (Low Carb, Gluten Free)

My Orange Coconut Coleslaw with Chopped Pecans Recipe
My sugar-free
Orange-Coconut Coleslaw Recipe

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When you're trying to keep carbs down to a minimum, food can get boring pretty quickly, especially if you're eating the same old thing day after day. I didn't realize how difficult it was to stay below 20 net carbs a day until recently.

In 2007, my motivation for dieting was quite high. Eating lots of chicken breast and steamed vegetables on the side was fine, but I no longer have the drive to be thin, so I'm finding motivation for dieting to be a bit thin this time around.

Boredom really does put your whole low-carb diet at risk.

If it wasn't for the borderline diabetes, I'd probably have bailed by now and gone back to how we were eating in Utah, moderate carb and gluten free. Especially, since I've only lost 10 pounds eating at very low-carb levels and seem to have hit a plateau already.

With no incentive for ketogenic living, you're more likely to return to your old habits and eating style, so it's important to choose your foods carefully.

Whether you're low carb, diabetic, or gluten free, the solution to boredom is to find options that are so tasty you won't feel like you're on a diet. And luckily, this Orange-Coconut Coleslaw that I came up with last week does exactly that.

Thanks to the addition of orange-flavored Torani sugar-free syrup, this unique coleslaw recipe is packed full of flavor and richness, yet quick and easy enough that you can toss it together in a matter of minutes for your next barbecue or picnic.

Most of the time it takes to make this delicious salad is sitting time in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld together.

Pinterest Image: My Orange-Coconut Coleslaw Recipe

Problem with Sugar-Free Coleslaw

Coleslaw is characteristically sweet.

I didn't realize why until I tried to make the dressing with a sugar alternative. Apparently, the sugar in the recipe causes the mayonnaise to thin out, so unlike a typical thick-and-rich salad dressing that you'd use on a lettuce salad, coleslaw dressing is both thin and light.

The standard low-carb solution is to thin the mayonnaise down using a little bit of heavy cream, so I tried that first.

But it didn't work very well.

I like to make enough salad for several meals, and after allowing the thinned salad to sit in the refrigerator overnight, it thickened right back up again. You couldn't even tell that I'd added any cream. Hubby likes traditional coleslaw dressing, so he refused to eat the leftovers. I ended up throwing most of that batch out.

It wasn't until we started collecting Torani sugar-free syrups that I stumbled onto the answer. Since these syrups are super thin, and not thick like pancake syrup, it did a good job of thinning out the mayonnaise and kept the dressing tasty and light.

Sugar-Free Coconut

There are several different types of sugar-free coconut on the market today:
  • flaked
  • shavings
  • desiccated
  • shredded
  • chips
They are available online at Amazon, VitaCost, Netrition, and other retailers. I used the desiccated version (unsweetened and dried) in this recipe:
(Available at Amazon)

But only because I didn't know that the others existed until after I'd already purchased that type from Vitacost. The dried form is tiny bits of coconut, finely shredded, so they offer a lot of flavor and a little bit of chew. The three tablespoons called for in the recipe were 2 net carbs.

The larger pieces that you get from flaked, shavings, and shredded varieties would be more like the coconut you can buy at the grocery store, but without the sugar. Chips are even larger but wouldn't be well suited for coleslaw, unless you want big, round chips of coconut in your salad.

If you use a different type of coconut than I did, you'll have to readjust the carb count of the recipe.

Orange-Coconut Coleslaw with Chopped Pecans


1 pound tri-colored coleslaw mix (7-1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons unsweetened, desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup orange-flavored Torani sugar-free syrup, or more
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic Seasoning Mix
1 teaspoon celery seeds


Put the cole slaw mix, coconut, and pecans in a large bowl. For the dressing, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, syrup, and spices. Stir well, then toss with the cabbage, coconut, and nuts. Allow the salad to sit in the refrigerator for several hours to chill, or chill overnight for the best flavor.

If the dressing happens to thicken up, just add another squirt of syrup and stir to coat well.