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Quick Cabbage Apple Slaw

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This Quick Cabbage Apple Slaw recipe is a delightful, refreshing choice when you’re looking to add a burst of flavor and color to your meals.

Red cabbage apple slaw with walnuts.

Its crisp texture and harmonious blend of sweet and tangy flavors make it an irresistible side dish for BBQs, family dinners, festive gatherings, or as a healthy snack. You’ll love how it effortlessly complements a variety of dishes, adding both nutrition and gourmet flair to your dining table.

A bowl of red cabbage slaw with wooden spoons.

❤️ Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Quick and Easy: This apple slaw can be prepared in just a few minutes, making it a perfect last-minute addition to any meal.
  • Healthy and Nutritious: Packed with vitamins and fiber, it’s a great way to add a nutritious boost to your diet.
  • Goes With Anything: Whether you’re pairing it with grilled cauliflower or tofu, or enjoying it as a light lunch, this slaw fits beautifully with a variety of main courses.
  • Delightful Textures: The crunch of fresh apples, cabbage, and pistachios offers a satisfying crunch in every bite.
  • Unique Flavor: The combination of sweet apples, tangy apple cider vinegar, and a hint of honey or maple syrup creates a flavor that is both refreshing and comforting.
  • Customizable: Feel free to add or substitute ingredients like carrots, cranberries, walnuts, or sunflower seeds to suit your taste.
  • Great for Gatherings: Its vibrant colors and flavors make it a hit at potlucks, picnics, and parties.
  • Vegan-Friendly: This recipe can easily be adapted for vegan diets by using maple syrup instead of honey.
Red cabbage apple slaw in a white bowl with wooden spoons.

🗒️ Ingredients and Substitutes

For the Slaw

Red Cabbage: Shredded red cabbage not only adds a vibrant color to the slaw but also brings a slightly peppery taste and a crunchy texture. It’s also packed with vitamins and antioxidants. White cabbage is a great substitute in a pinch.

Apple: Choosing the right apple can make a big difference. Granny Smith apples are a popular choice for their tart flavor and firm texture, which holds up well in the slaw. However, feel free to use any apple you prefer for a sweeter or different flavor profile.

Red Onion: Thinly sliced red onion offers a sharp, slightly sweet flavor that complements the other ingredients. It also adds a beautiful pop of color.

Pistachios: Crushed or chopped pistachios not only contribute to the crunch but also add a unique, nutty flavor. If you’re allergic to nuts or prefer a different texture, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds make great substitutes.

For the Dressing

Oil: Avocado oil is recommended for its mild flavor and health benefits, but you can use any oil of your choice. Olive oil or even a light vegetable oil works well.

Apple Cider Vinegar: This is key for adding a tangy flavor that balances the sweetness of the apples and honey. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or lime juice can be a good substitute.

Honey or Maple Syrup: Honey adds a touch of natural sweetness. If you’re vegan or prefer a different kind of sweetness, maple syrup is an excellent alternative.

Mustard: Mustard brings a tangy and slightly spicy kick to the dressing. Dijon mustard tends to be milder and creamier, while spicy brown mustard offers a more robust flavor.

Salt and Ground Black Pepper: These seasonings are essential for enhancing all the flavors in the slaw. Adjust according to your taste preference.

🥣 How to Make Apple Slaw

Red cabbage salad with apple slaw and pistachios.
A measuring cup with a fork next to a bowl of cabbage salad.
A bowl of red onion and pistachio salad with cabbage apple slaw.
Red cabbage slaw with apple in a white bowl.
  1. Start by placing the shredded red cabbage, sliced apples, thinly sliced red onion, and crushed pistachios in a large bowl. The key here is to ensure everything is evenly sliced for a consistent texture throughout the slaw.
  2. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine your chosen oil, apple cider vinegar, honey or maple syrup, and your choice of mustard. Add a pinch of salt and some ground black pepper to taste.
  3. Whisk these ingredients together until they are completely combined and the dressing looks smooth. 
  4. Pour the dressing over the slaw ingredients in the large bowl. 
  5. Toss the cabbage mixture with the dressing, making sure that every piece of cabbage, apple, and onion is lightly coated in the dressing. 
  6. Taste your slaw and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sometimes a little more salt, pepper, or an extra drizzle of vinegar can really elevate the flavors.
  7. The apple slaw is now ready to be served! It can be enjoyed immediately or allowed to sit for a bit to let the flavors meld together more deeply.
Red cabbage and apple slaw in a bowl with wooden spoons.

🍏 What to Serve with Slaw

Light Lunch or Snack Option

For a lighter option, apple slaw can be the star of a simple lunch or snack. Mix it with some Greek yogurt for a creamy twist, or add some grilled halloumi strips to turn it into a more substantial meal. Its versatility allows you to be creative, adding ingredients like raisins, nuts, or even cheese for a personalized touch.

Sandwiches and Wraps

Apple slaw also makes a fantastic addition to sandwiches and wraps. Its crunch and flavor add a new dimension to a classic chickpea salad sandwich or a falafel wrap. The slaw can also be used as a healthier alternative to classic coleslaw in pulled jackfruit sandwiches, offering a fresher, lighter taste.

Special Occasions and Gatherings

Finally, apple slaw is a great dish for gatherings. Its vibrant colors and appealing flavors make it a hit at picnics, barbecues, and potlucks. It’s a great side dish for holiday meals too, adding a refreshing element to the typically heavy festive fare.

A refreshing slaw made with red cabbage, crisp apples and crunchy walnuts.

💭 Top Tips

Select Fresh Produce: Using fresh, crisp apples and cabbage is essential for making a great apple slaw. Choose apples that are firm and free of bruises, and cabbage that looks vibrant and crunchy.

Balance the Flavors: Aim for a balance between the tartness of the apples and the tanginess of the dressing. Adjust the amount of honey or maple syrup based on the sweetness of your apples.

Thinly Slice the Ingredients: For the best texture, slice the cabbage, apples, and onions as thinly as possible. This allows them to better absorb the flavors of the dressing and makes the slaw more pleasant to eat.

Whisk the Dressing Thoroughly: Make sure that the oil and vinegar emulsify well for a smooth, consistent dressing.

Taste as You Go: Before dressing the cabbage apple slaw, taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings as needed. Remember, you can always add more salt or vinegar, but you can’t take it out once it’s mixed in.

Storage: Place the apple cabbage slaw in an airtight container and refrigerate it. Ideally, it should be consumed within a day or two, as the apples may start to brown and the cabbage may lose its crispness over time.

Red apple cabbage slaw on a plate with a wooden spoon.

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make apple slaw ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the slaw a few hours in advance. To keep it fresh, store the dressing separately and toss it with the slaw just before serving.

Is apple slaw healthy?
Absolutely! Apple slaw is packed with nutrients from fresh cabbage and apples. It’s a low-calorie side dish that’s high in fiber and vitamins.

Can I add other vegetables to the slaw?
Absolutely! Carrots, bell peppers, or even broccoli slaw can be added for extra color and crunch.

Is there a low-calorie option for the dressing?
Yes, for a lighter dressing, you can use Greek yogurt or light mayo as the base instead of oil. You can also adjust the amount of honey or maple syrup to reduce the calories.

Red cabbage slaw with apples.

🥬 More Delicious Cabbage Recipes

Easy Pickled Cabbage

Easy Spicy Golden Sauerkraut

Healthy Rainbow Bowl

Red cabbage apple slaw with walnuts.

Cabbage Apple Slaw

This Quick Cabbage Apple Slaw recipe is an irresistible side dish for BBQs, family dinners, festive gatherings, or as a healthy snack.
4.98 from 42 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Dutch
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Kristen Wood

Ingredients

Slaw

  • 2 cups red cabbage shredded
  • 1 apple of choice sliced into matchsticks
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup pistachios crushed or chopped

Dressing

  • ¼ cup oil of choice I like to use avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup if vegan
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard or Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, apple, onion and pistachios. Toss to combine.
  • In a small bowl, add the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the dressing over the slaw, then mix well.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Select Fresh Produce: The key to a great apple slaw is using fresh, crisp apples and cabbage. Choose apples that are firm and free of bruises, and cabbage that looks vibrant and crunchy.
  2. Balance the Flavors: Aim for a balance between the tartness of the apples and the tanginess of the dressing. Adjust the amount of honey or maple syrup based on the sweetness of your apples.
  3. Thinly Slice the Ingredients: For the best texture, slice the cabbage, apples, and onions as thinly as possible. This allows them to better absorb the flavors of the dressing and makes the slaw more pleasant to eat.
  4. Whisk the Dressing Thoroughly: Make sure that the oil and vinegar emulsify well for a smooth, consistent dressing.
  5. Taste as You Go: Before dressing the slaw, taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings as needed. Remember, you can always add more salt or vinegar, but you can’t take it out once it’s mixed in.
  6. Storage: Place the slaw in an airtight container and refrigerate it. Ideally, it should be consumed within a day or two, as the apples may start to brown and the cabbage may lose its crispness over time.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 370IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg
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