All too often, slaw is a sad and soggy afterthought - a mayonnaise-heavy mound of cabbage smothered into submission. What a missed opportunity when you consider the bright, fresh possibilities a good slaw presents.
This recipe is a case in point. It's a crisp, colourful mélange of shredded vegetables - red cabbage, fennel, carrot and onion - in a tangy-sweet vinaigrette, made with healthful oil, that softens the slaw components slightly and brings them together without overdoing it.
A final toss with toasted sunflower seeds adds a delightfully nutty crunch for a slaw that stands up to make-ahead treatment for a summer gathering, and it stands out as a truly desirable side dish.
Red cabbage and fennel slaw with sunflower seeds
8 servings (makes about 6 cups)
- 1/3 cup unsalted, hulled sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 medium fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced (4 cups)
- 1 large carrot, shredded (1 cup)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Cool completely.
- Whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a liquid measuring cup, to form an emulsified dressing.
- Toss together the cabbage, fennel, carrot and onion in a mixing bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Toss in the sunflower seeds just before serving.
Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author.