Growing up, my family ate corned beef, cabbage, and homemade french fries every St. Paddy’s Day to honor my mother’s Irish heritage. I’ll be honest – it wasn’t my favorite meal as a kid and I was grateful I only had to eat it once a year.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second child that I started to love corned beef. Specifically, corned beef reubens. To my surprise, these tasty sandwiches became my number one craving throughout my second pregnancy! Even though my love for corned beef didn’t occur at first bite, it will have a place on my plate now and not just on March 17th

Yet I have one beef with the reuben – I am not a fan of sauerkraut. No matter how you slice it, sauerkraut just doesn’t cut it for me. So what’s a girl to do when the hankering comes for a reuben? Well, if I’m dining at a restaurant I always inquire about the slaw and ask if it’s cream-based or the signature sauerkraut. If so, I “86-it” (because your girl has a lactose sensitivity & you already know my feelings towards the latter option 😉 ). But if the reuben is made with a vinegar-based slaw, my menu choice is easily decided. 

I’m sure you’re thinking, “all this run-around for a sandwich?” Yeah. What can I say? I may be a foodie, but I also like what I like. That is why more times than not I choose to make reubens at home so I can control the ingredients, preparation, and nutritional value. It was during one of those “at home” reuben meals that I concocted this vinegar-based, sweet and savory, coleslaw recipe! I think it serves as a unique alternative to the traditional sauerkraut you’d find on reubens. Bonus: It also works well as a side dish alongside corned beef, grilled sausages, or brats!

Tangy Apple Slaw

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish or way more as a topping on sandwiches

Prep Time: About 5 minutes

Total Time: <15 minutes


  • 14oz bag of coleslaw mix
  • ½ cup of apple (granny smith, honeycrisp or other sweet & crunchy varietal), cut into matchsticks or tiny diced (I’ve made it with various types of apples, granny smith being my fave, & have prepped the apple both ways so choose whichever you prefer)
  • ½ cup of red onion, diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp of black pepper

Let’s do this!

  1. Prep the onion by peeling, washing, and dicing it. Prep the apple by rinsing it and cutting it whichever way you prefer. 
  2. In a large bowl (or I use a 8-cup/64oz size Tupperware container), whisk together the EVOO, apple cider vinegar, garlic clove, grainy Dijon, salt and pepper. 
  3. Add the coleslaw mix to the dressing, stirring to combine (or if using a Tupperware container, place the lid on top and shake to combine). Stir in the onion and apple until everything is mixed together. 
  4. Enjoy! 

Note: This slaw tastes best if served immediately. 

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