Apple Cabbage Slaw with Brown Sugar Cider Vinaigrette
You will love this 10 minute apple cabbage slaw for a healthy side with flavor and crunch! It’s made with simple ingredients and an irresistibly tangy brown sugar cider vinaigrette.
More salad than traditional coleslaw, this crisp, sunset-hued apple cabbage combo is a deserving staple of your fall family meals. Carrots and dark leafy greens add color — and antioxidants! — while the dressing is one to write home about: a tangy, fresh vinaigrette made with brown sugar and walnut oil. Unlike a classic coleslaw, this has no mayo or cream in sight.
This is truly the perfect side!
Ingredients & Common Substitutions
- Red or green cabbage contributes the perfect crunch and is super healthy!
- Kale, Swiss chard, or another dark leafy green to round out the base of the salad. I’ve used pre-washed curly kale in the version photographed here.
- Apple. Tart, crisp varieties, like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples, work especially well in this slaw. You’ll simply remove the core and dice the apple into bite-sized pieces; no need to peel.
- Carrot. I keep pre-shredded carrot in my fridge at all times for an easy add to salads and slaws. It lasts a long time.
- Candied pecans or other nuts. Gotta have that extra crunch factor, and the sweetness of candied nuts nicely complements the slight bitterness of cabbage and greens. We have been really loving these Bourbon pecans recently! Walnuts or almonds work well, too.
Ingredients in Cider Vinaigrette
- Walnut oil brings a unique taste, rich and warm, to this dressing, and is well worth stocking. That said, olive or sunflower oil are good substitutes if needed.
- Apple cider vinegar. Lemon or lime juice makes a great substitute, if needed.
- Brown sugar.
- Whole grain or Dijon mustard.
- Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper.
How To Make Apple Cabbage Slaw
- Prep the veggies and apple. Chop the apple and shred all the veggies into bite-sized bits.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar or liquid measuring cup. Shake or whisk vigorously to combine.
- Toss everything together in a large bowl, top with nuts or any other add-ins, and dig in!
Tips and Tricks for the Best Apple Slaw
- Use pre-shredded cabbage or even a fully pre-made slaw mix to save the time and effort of shredding all the veggies yourself. I love to use Trader Joe’s “Cruciferous Crunch,” which is a mix of shredded kale, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage.
- Along the same lines, use pre-shredded carrots. These last a long time in the fridge and are great to keep on hand for salads and slaws like this.
- Make double the dressing and save for another day. Extra dressing keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, so it’s a snap to pull out to level up your next salad.
This is not a shrinking salad! The crunch and bold flavors of this apple cabbage slaw help it hold its own with most meats, including chicken breasts, pork chops, pork tenderloin, and steaks. It goes great with pizza, too, as we often do on Friday nights.
- Add pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for more crunch and texture.
- Add dried cranberries, golden raisins, or cherries for another pop of sweetness. Dried apricots work well, too — just chop them into small pieces before adding to the slaw.
- A sprinkle of green onions, parsley, or another fresh herb can be a nice fresh touch.
- Add goat cheese or feta for creaminess. Cheese-lovers will fight for the best forkfuls!
More Quick Salad Ideas
- Kale Apple Pecorino Salad
- Kale & Brussels Sprout Salad with Pomegranate
- 5-Minute Arugula Parmesan Salad
- Everyday Italian Salad
- Balsamic Spinach Salad with Sea Salt
If you make this Apple Cabbage Slaw, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.
Apple Cabbage Slaw with Brown Sugar Cider Vinaigrette
For the Slaw:
- 3 cups thinly-sliced red or green cabbage
- 2 cups kale, chard, or another dark leafy green see note
- 1 medium apple see note
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup candied pecans or other nuts
For the Dressing:
- 6 tablespoons walnut oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon mustard
- pinch fine sea salt
- 6-8 cranks fresh-ground black pepper
- Wash cabbage and greens if needed, and cut into small, thin slices. Core and dice the apple. Combine cabbage, greens, apple, and carrot in a large bowl. Toss well.
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar or liquid measuring cup. Whisk or shake until the mixture is smooth; dip a piece of cabbage or slaw into the dressing and sample; adjust salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste.
- Pour dressing over the slaw and toss to coat. Add pecans, toss gently once more, and serve.
- Using pre-shredded cabbage and greens saves a lot of time in this recipe. Another option I love is to use Trader Joe’s “Cruciferous Crunch,” which is a mix of shredded kale, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage. (If using this mix, I still add red cabbage to get the extra crunch and purple color.)
- Tart, crisp apple varieties, such as Honeycrisp, work especially well in this slaw.
- Walnut oil brings a wonderfully warm, rich flavor to this vinaigrette, and is well worth keeping on hand for this and other dressings. If you don’t have it, however, you can absolutely substitute extra-virgin olive, avocado, or sunflower oil in this vinaigrette.
This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated with new photos, more helpful text, and the addition of pecans to the recipe.