Red Cabbage, Apple & Fennel Slaw with Maple Walnuts

a plate red cabbage, Apple & Fennel Slaw with Maple Walnuts

If asked to list some popular barbecue sides, coleslaw might well be mentioned, it’s often the nod to having some vegetables at a bbq. Coleslaw doesn’t need to play second fiddle to the rest of a meal – with the right ingredients it can be the star all on its own. Red Cabbage, Apple & Fennel Slaw with Maple Walnuts is perfect for sharing or as a spectacular side dish for any meal.

Forget your old-ideas about coleslaw, it doesn’t need to be a bland mayo laden dish, like familiar fast food or convenience store versions. Crisp and tangy with a hint of bitter-sweet; red cabbage, apple and fennel slaw with maple walnuts work wonderfully together. It’s packed full of contrasting, but complimentary flavours and textures. I especially enjoy this dish when the main four ingredients are just coming into season at the late end of summer and early autumn, but all of them are generally in store all year.

I use red cabbage because I like the colour, but this dish will work with a green cabbage, a savoy cabbage or even kale. For a nut-free dish, pumpkin or sunflower seeds are the perfect nut alternatives.

Serves 4-6

Red Cabbage, Apple & Fennel Slaw

  • 1 crisp apple
  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1/2 red cabbage
  • juice 1/2 lemon

Maple Walnuts

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup


  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive or walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • sea salt to taste

Coat walnut pieces in maple syrup and spread on a lined baking tray, bake at 180ºC for about 10 minutes, until golden.

Use a mandolin (with a guard), food processor to thinly slice the ingredients. Stack the apple slices and julienne (cut into matchsticks) – you don’t need to peel them.

Finely chopped any fennel fronds for garnish.

Toss the apple and fennel in lemon juice to prevent browning.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, taste and adjust if needed.

Toss ingredients together in a bowl and drizzle in dressing and pile on a plate or bowl. Garnish with fennel fronds.

If you are looking for more wholefood plant-based dishes to cook on your BBQ have a look at some of these posts: Lentil & Walnut Kofte, a Kūmara steak, Barbecued Corn with Jalapeño salsa or add this colourful potato salad to your sharing table.

Do you have an abundance of red cabbage and would like to preserve it? Fermented Red Cabbage Curtido is a tasty and healthy side to add to your meals.

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