This apple cabbage slaw is the perfect light salad or side for late summer and early fall. So easy to throw together and delicious with a drizzle of tangy brown sugar cider vinaigrette!
Since I have started to shop and eat more seasonally, I’ve realized that late summer and early fall are some of the most delicious times of year. Between the fruits, berries, and vegetables – I mean, juicy tomatoes followed by apple and pumpkin, hello – it’s a good time to cook. And an even better time to eat!
That said, it’s also a time of year when most of us are BUSY. Even more than usual. So there’s an extra premium on recipes that are both seasonal and simple – like this delicious apple cabbage slaw.
A shortcut to making great slaw
I used to make a similar salad with apples and cabbage, but that involved a lot more ingredients and chopping and work. And guess what? I rarely actually made it as a result – even though I really loved the taste. So I recently simplified, and love this version even more.
The base is so simple – grab one carrot and one apple. Peel the carrot and chop into matchsticks. Core the apple – don’t bother to peel – and chop into small pieces. Add these to a few generous handfuls of shredded red cabbage. I buy it pre-shredded, so it’s really about as easy as possible. 🙂
Then the slaw. You could definitely use your own mix of greens, but I take another shortcut here and buy a mix. Feel free to use any you find and like – my personal favorite is the “Cruciferous Crunch” from Trader Joe’s!
The best slaw without mayo
I have to say that I’m averse to mayonnaise – and apparently not alone – so for me, an ideal slaw of any kind does not have a creamy, mayo-based dressing.
When I do want a creamy dressing, I typically use Greek yogurt as the base, but honestly, my favorite is to skip it entirely in favor of something light and tangy. And light, tangy dressings don’t come any better than this vinaigrette with brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. I just love the sweet-tart combination, especially over a crunchy slaw or salad like this.
I especially love making this dressing with walnut oil, but totally understand you may not keep that in your pantry! There are a few substitution ideas in the recipe notes below. If you do decide to pick up a bottle, though, you can probably find it near olive and other cooking oils at your grocery store – or there is always Amazon!
Ideas for serving apple-cabbage slaw
I honestly could eat a big plate of this by itself for lunch! But it’s terrific as a side to some simple grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, or to round out pulled pork sandwiches.
If you try this slaw or any other recipe on the blog, please remember to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!
Apple Cabbage Slaw with Brown Sugar Cider Vinaigrette
For the Slaw:
- 3 cups thinly-sliced red cabbage
- 3 cups slaw mix (see recipe note 1)
- 1 medium apple - diced small (see recipe note 2)
- 1 medium carrot - peeled and cut into matchsticks
For the Dressing:
- 6 tbsp walnut oil (see recipe note 3)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp whole grain or Dijon mustard
- pinch fine sea salt
- a few turns of freshly-ground black pepper
- To make the slaw, add cabbage, slaw, apple, and carrot to a large serving bowl; toss to combine.
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid or a liquid measuring cup. Close tightly and shake, or whisk, until the mixture is smooth and emulsified into a uniform dressing. Dip a piece of cabbage or slaw into the dressing and sample; adjust salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste.
- Pour dressing immediately over the slaw and toss once more to combine; serve immediately.
- I love to use Trader Joe’s “Cruciferous Crunch,” which is a mix of shredded kale, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage.
- Tart, crisp apple varieties, like Honeycrisp, work especially well in this slaw.
- I love the rich taste walnut oil brings to this vinaigrette. I don’t always keep it in my pantry, though, and you may not, either! Feel free to substitute other oils, like extra-virgin olive, avocado, sunflower, etc!
- If you want to add a little crunch to this, try adding toasted walnuts or pecans!
You might also like this 5-minute salad with arugula, Parmesan, and pine nuts – I make it AT LEAST once a week! And for more seasonal inspiration, check out the autumn chopped salad with creamy poppyseed dressing on The Recipe Critic, or the gorgeous fall harvest salad on A Beautiful Plate.