red cabbage, radish and apple coleslaw

sideA few years ago, I hated coleslaw. Or more specifically, I hated the thick, gluggy ‘pseudo-salad’ variety of coleslaw sold at every second fast-food joint as a token vegetable (alongside greyish mushy peas, drowned corn-on-the-cob and powdered potato with packet gravy).

However as time has passed, coleslaw has slowly been redeemed in my mind. I mostly credit this to British chef Jamie Oliver who created this recipe for winter vegetable coleslaw a few years ago. I instantly fell in love with it; the soft herbs, fresh radish, raw beetroot and fennel, all enrobed in a light, yoghurty dressing. It was coleslaw, revived. Refreshed and enlivened for a new generation (cue: cheers for Jamie).

radishandmontThe coleslaw recipe below was created specifically as an accompaniment for pulled pork rolls, the recipe for which you can find here. In my culinary mind, apples and radishes are natural friends of pork, so I’ve tossed in both alongside toasted almonds, shredded red cabbage, green onions and soft, mild herbs. The light, lemony dressing contains just enough creaminess to identify as ‘coleslaw’ without being cloying; it’s a beautiful contrast against the rich, sticky pork meat and soft white bread.

carrotmontEach bite of this salad has the sweet crunch of apple and carrot, peppery radish, earthy crushed walnuts and warmth from the red cabbage and onions. It’s all wrapped up in a slick of creamy lemon with fresh, citrusy undertones of coriander and mint.

So far, I’ve found that the salad pairs beautifully with grilled meats, felafel, warm pita bread, chickpeas, salmon and canned tuna. But above all, I’d recommend that you pile it liberally onto a soft white roll before topping it with warm, tender strands of pulled pork and a splash of hot sauce. Fireside, with a cold beer in hand, it’s my version of food heaven.

topdishRed Cabbage, Radish and Apple Coleslaw

  • 140g (2 cups) finely shredded red cabbage
  • 5-6 fresh radishes, washed and thinly sliced (I did a mixture of julienne and thin rounds)
  • 2/3 cup fresh washed coriander and mint, torn
  • 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 apple (either red or green is fine, I tend to use either red Jazz or Fuji apples), washed and julienned
  • 2 spring onions (shallots) trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar and honey (I used Wescobee*; substitute 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1/2 tsp honey)
  • 2 tbsp whole-egg mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup crushed, toasted walnuts or flaked almonds (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the prepared raw vegetables into a large bowl, then set aside.

bowlWhisk the olive oil, lemon juice, mayonnaise and sugar in a jug. Whisk to combine then taste and season with salt and pepper.

dressingmontAdd to the salad with the toasted nuts, then mix well.

sidespoonServe on its own, with grilled meats, in soft pita bread or atop split white rolls with tender pulled pork and a sticky drizzle of hot barbecue sauce (see recipe for pulled pork here). Deliciousness, amplified.


  • Wescobee’s Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey* has swiftly become a new favourite condiment of mine. The product is produced from oak barrel fermented apple cider vinegar and a blend of nutrient-rich honeys containing 12 minerals, 12 vitamins and enzymes. In itself, apple cider vinegar is also viewed to have both antiseptic and antibiotic properties. I’m a bit skeptical about the full range of claims associated with the consumption of apple cider vinegar and honey, but I do feel that it’s wonderfully beneficial for digestion and overall well being (plus, it just tastes nice!). Read more product information here.
  • Exercise your jaw by eating coleslaw…‘ (Coleslaw by Jesse Stone). Possibly one of the most unnecessary songs ever. Still, I played it whilst making this recipe.
  • Veganise this recipe by swapping honey for maple syrup and using an egg-free vegan mayonnaise such as this recipe from Serious Eats (soy based, egg free) or this one from Jessica at Clean Green Simple.
  • Paul Merrett at BBC Food has a great tutorial for cutting julienne vegetables here. It’s easy. Trust me.


47 responses

    • Thanks Whitney! Yep, it’s really different to normal gluggy coleslaw… fresh, crisp vegetables and soft, fragrant herbs (I made sure the dressing was as light as possible also). It’s almost all gone now, but I’m going to eat the remainder for lunch tomorrow. On its own. I never thought I’d say that about coleslaw!! xx

  1. Stunningly beautiful presented – your photos are so GOOOoOoooood! My favorite the last one.
    Do you know that you stop the red cabbage from “bleeding” through letting it stand under cold running water for a while?? Because it has a lot of color to lose. Going to have pulled pork soon so I will do this coleslaw then. This is truly eye candy for me – same thing every time I land here with you.

    • Hello lovely Viveka! Aw, thanks so for the kind words (the last radish photo was my favourite also, I just had to include it!). I had no idea that the running water could stop the cabbage from ‘bleeding’! So good to know, as I hate the fact that this salad goes slightly ‘pink’ the next day as the colour leaches into the dressing. I’ll try the technique next time! Hope that you enjoy this recipe if you try it. I wish I could have you over my place for dinner, or at least catch up for coffee somewhere (I’m intending to visit Malmo next year so maybe then!) xx

      • Laura, will we have meet up for sure .. make Malmö a bit unsafe maybe .. So looking forward to meet up with you – and if you are staying a longer period … are you so welcome to visit me.
        Yes, let the cabbage stand under running so cold water as possible or you can but in a container with water and loads of ice cubs. It works!!!
        I will let you know when I done – will get people visiting from Lima, Peru .. I hope in 7 days time.

      • Malmo is unsafe? What do you mean? Ah, I’m a bit worried now as my family are over there (they haven’t said anything!?). I will try the cabbage technique next time I make this coleslaw! Thanks for the tips lovely x

  2. THANK YOU. My thoughts exactly: I really, really do not like the mushy, gooey coleslaw that is sold or served typically. This recipe looks so fresh and colourful, and not gross and mushy at all- this will probably be the coleslaw recipe to convert me!

    • Naw, thanks Gen! I do hate mushy, gluggy coleslaws… they give the whole recipe for coleslaw a bad name! This one’s definitely delicious if you like fresh, peppery salads with lots of soft, fragrant herbs. I think I could eat it daily without complaining! xx

  3. I just made carnitas a few days ago, and this would´ve been just perfect Laura! Fresh and tangy, really great with radishes, love it. I fall for supermarket crappy food once in a while too, it´s convenient when you´re hungry and it´s late!

    • Oh yum, it definitely would have been perfect for carnitas Paula! Though with you cooking, I can imagine that the carnitas would have been so delicious as they were :) I definitely agree, sometimes it’s just too tiring to make your own food at home. We buy barbecue chicken from a local store every couple of weeks. Instant dinner! xx

  4. The slaw looks so good!! I am a fan of cole slaw and also a fan of Mr. Oliver. Great recipe, the photo’s are superb and I would love to eat this on a pulled pork sandwich right now,!!

    • Aw, thanks Suzanne! Yep, Jamie Oliver is pretty darn talented. Seems like a nice guy too. Wish I could give you one of the pulled pork sandwiches! They were really, really delicious.

  5. I love all things slaw. If a slaw is made properly, it’s a truly wonderful addition to any meal. This looks great and the colors are more interesting than other slaws I’ve seen. Nice!

    • Hey, thanks so much for the kind words! I definitely agree that a good ‘slaw can be absolutely delicious. Five years ago, I’d probably have steadfastly disagreed with you but my thoughts are well and truly reformed now. Thanks for taking time out to comment!

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    • Thanks beautiful, it was really lovely! I now admit that coleslaw can be nice when made at home :) So lovely to hear from you. Hope you’re going well! xxox

  7. I have to say that I never loved coleslaw either – for the same reasons, too! Then one day I realized that all it is, is a salad. I could control it, and not make it icky. This recipe looks amazing, and I see the pulled pork recipe awaiting me in my inbox. Can’t wait!

    • I definitely agree David, when it’s made at home, you can control exactly what you want to put into it. I am sure that your versions must taste absolutely beautiful! Thanks so much for taking time out to comment!

  8. Love this salad Laura. I’ve made various versions of it and everyone I’ve made it for loves it too. How could anyone not love such a pretty salad, especially in winter time? And to accompany pull-pork – well that’s heaven right there.

    • Aw, thank you so much lovely! I appreciate it. I do agree that all of the different colours make for quite a pretty and Summery dish. It’s been freezing cold in Perth recently so the pulled pork rolls cheered us right up! xx

    • Aw, I feel the same way about your cooking my dear. Your blog is a gorgeous source of sugary inspiration (perfect for a sweet tooth like me!). Thanks for the lovely words xx

  9. Laurel, this is such a lovely post and an exciting one for me. Same here, I love coleslaw but hate those being sold at fast-food joints. I get good coleslaw only once in a while at fine restaurants. Be sure I will make this and your description of the white roll with pull pork plus hot sauce and a beer in hand is driving me crazy! :) Really love what you are doing here my friend. We are all busy at work but our passion for creating good food will not be abandoned. High five!

    • Hey Danny. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. YES, I completely agree; though we might get our paid income from being chained to offices or desks, we’ll still keep on creating in our domestic kitchens! Love being able to share this journey with you. Try this recipe, you won’t be disappointed! :)

  10. I too had serious problems with the fast food version of coleslaw!
    I have to say that this red cabbage, radish and apple version sounds heavenly Laura
    All those colors and flavors! that is what real food should look like

    • Thanks so much Sawsan. I definitely feel that coleslaw has been given a bad reputation by fast food chains! It’s been fun to create a fresh version. I appreciate you taking the time to comment! xx

  11. I love freshly made coleslaw. Over 2011-2012 I was coleslaw crazy, chopping endless cabbage, carrot, fennel, apple + adding grated lime zest and juice (oh boy, that’s the best decision I ever made. LIME and coleslaw. High five us for doing that). But where’s it gone? 2013 has been coleslaw free … so thank you bucketfuls for reminding me, and those tips and extras look so good, I’ll have to try them :)

    • Oooh, I haven’t tried lime in coleslaw before. I love the idea. It’d be amazing with both Asian and Mexican flavours… like some glazed chicken, mmm :) I think you were way ahead of me – I’m just starting to get into coleslaw now! I avoided it for years as the gluggy fast food varieties put a negative impression in my head. Hope that you like this version. I’ll be trying the lime this weekend! xx

      • (Don’t approve this comment!! Heads up: You mention adding lime juice in the recipe – oop. It’s the 1st few lines of the recipe method instructions. It must have been your subconscious telling you to try it ;) )

      • Oh wow, you are so right! I just edited the recipe, as it was supposed to be lemon juice, as stated in the ingredients! Thanks for the heads up. And yes, I think my brain has acknowledged that I need to try the lime version! x

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    • Thanks Carla dear! Yep, it’s been receiving good reviews whenever I make it! I didn’t really like coleslaw before I made fresh versions at home. It’s so underrated! xx

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