Fennel, Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Poppyseed Dressing

by Gena on February 20, 2010


Coleslaw. n. A a salad made of raw sliced or chopped cabbage. Etymology: from the Dutch koolsla, from kool (cabbage) + sla (salad).

Growing up, I wasn’t much of a coleslaw fan. It felt so conventional, so red white and blue, so likely to be served alongside a cheeseburger and fries. Now that I’m older, and wiser, I know that coleslaw comes in all shapes and sizes: it doesn’t have to take the form of your standard melange of white cabbage, carrots, and mayo. You can add cumin and red onion for a Mexican inspired coleslaw; nama shoyu and sesame oil for an Asian slaw; cumin and curry for an Indian inspired mix. You can add raisins, nuts, or seeds; pickles or apple; dill or parsley or any other fresh herbs. You can use a creamy dressing or a vinaigrette base. In short, there’s a lot you can do with coleslaw!

Recently, I found myself with a head of fennel that needed using up. After taking a brief inventory of my fridge, and discovering some red cabbage and carrots, I decided to give my usual slaw (red cabbage, carrots, raisins, lemon, a touch of agave, and flax oil) a makeover. Instead of the standard carrot+cabbage base, I’d add some fennel, too; instead of a vinaigrette dressing, I’d use a creamy one. And not just any creamy dressing: a delicious, sweet/sour, poppyseed dressing, which is now destined to become a regular favorite. I guarantee that you’ll love this dish, and that it’ll impress even devotees of traditional slaw–without the greasy mayonaise, of course!

Fennel, Cabbage, and Carrot Slaw with Poppyseed Dressing (salad serves 4 generously; dressing yields at least 1 cup)


For the dressing:

1 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice OR apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp agave nectar
Dash salt
2 tbsp poppy seeds

Blend all ingredients in a blender on high. Add poppyseeds. Dressing will keep in the fridge for a week or so in a sealed container. (Yum.)


For the salad:

1 medium head fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 large or 3 small carrots, shredded
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Mix all ingredients. Toss with 1/2 cup dressing (feel free to add more dressing if 1/2 cup isn’t coating thoroughly enough) and serve.


I enjoyed this fabulous mix for several nights; if you store the salad mix and dressing seperately, you can simply toss before you’re ready to eat. Above, I enjoyed it straight up as a late afternoon snack, and below, as part of dinner, along with some steamed veggies and two slices of the incredible and onion-free flatbread that Lori and Michelle sent me.


If you guys haven’t checked out the twins’ incredible online bakery, featuring a huge assortment of vegan, gluten-free, and raw flatbreads, crackers, and desserts, go do it now! Their vegan foods are absolutely incredible. I’ve tried an assortment of the raw onion breads (which, believe it or not, are NOT too oniony for this onion hater) and the onion-free breads and crackers, and I adore them all. I only wish I could make this kind of stuff for myself at home! Maybe one day my raw bread-making skills will be that fierce :)


Alright guys. I hope you give this recipe a try soon — it’s a winner!

In addition, there are a couple of giveaways going on around the blogosphere:

Michal is giving away some raw, vegan goodies

Averie’s giving away some coconut oil

And Julie is giving away some goodies!

And Casey and Marlena are leading a detox program starting next week.

Happy weekend, guys.


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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Kenzie February 20, 2010 at 9:29 pm

The poppyseed dressing sounds amazing! And so simple! Can’t wait to try.


Ashlei February 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Yum I love fennel and that poppyseed dressing sounds great!


hihorosie February 20, 2010 at 10:22 pm

Oooh! That poppyseed dressing sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing. :)


bitt February 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm

yum looks really good! i love fennel in juice but i haven’t been too experimental with it in salads. i need to take the plunge.

would sunflower seeds work ok since pine nuts are crazy expensive around here? or would cashews be better?

so jealous of your pure2raw treats.


Gena February 21, 2010 at 5:36 am

Hey B!

I find that sunflower seeds actually have a pretty distinctive flavor and gritty texture, even when blended, so I wouldn’t recommend them for replacing pine nuts, which are more mellow and creamier. But I use cashews and pine nuts interchangeably sometimes, so I’d go that route!

G xo


Christine (The Raw Project) February 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

The dressing looks wonderful, I can’t wait to try it. Thanks!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) February 20, 2010 at 11:57 pm

The salad dressing. LOVE IT. Nice work….ooooh yum!

Thanks for the linky love on my contest. I feel honored as you’re not usually a linky girl and so it’s extra spesh. Thx Gena and hope your weekend is awesome :)


Ameena February 20, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I have never been a coleslaw fan too, mainly because I have a major aversion to mayo. I love this dressing though! I can’t wait to try it. Anything with poppyseeds is already a winner in my book.


Jennifer February 21, 2010 at 2:42 am

Sounds and looks delish! Will have to give it a try sometime.

and haha, I live in the Netherlands so I get to see koolsla all the time ;) (along with a bunch of other Dutch stuff, such as stampot, which is mashed potatoes with kale or some other leafing green added..yum!).


gluten free sarah February 21, 2010 at 3:56 am

Yum! That looks delicious. I love coleslaw; my mum used to make a great one which I now can’t eat. So it’ll be great this version :)


Ada February 21, 2010 at 5:03 am

Yum, that dressing looks delish!

I was just reading your post involving dining on the Upper West Side and I realized how much we have in common! We both went to private high schools, grew up on the Upper West Side, went to Columbia, and currently live on the Upper West Side. Crazy! I’m surprised that I have never run into you in the ‘hood. I’m glad Edgar’s Cafe made it onto your list, that place is such an Upper West Side establishment. Cafe Lafortuna used to be the only place that could rival Edgar’s but sadly it closed last year:( Cafe Lalo is another really great Upper West Side Establishment, if you ever feel like meeting up at some point I’d love to meet you:)


elizabeth February 21, 2010 at 7:09 am

This looks scrumptious! I can’t wait to try it … cabbage is so abundant, cheap, and LOCAL. I’m always keen on finding (palatable) ways to use it.

Just a note on the pinenuts, which I love – most places (including Whole Foods) are sourcing them from China. I haven’t been able to find domestic pinenuts anywhere. I did however find a source for Mediterranean pinenuts:

They cost me $93 for only 2 1/2 pounds, so I use them pretty sparingly, but I think they were worth every $.


Gena February 21, 2010 at 7:40 am

Oh, wow! This is a great thing to know — thanks. I’d gotten a bag of them from Go Hunza!, but I knew they weren’t local and wasn’t thrilled about that, not to mention not knowing what “not local” meant.


Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather February 21, 2010 at 7:57 am

I was planning to make a new batch of dressing today so I’m definately going to try this one out! Glad I already have the ingredients on hand. Thanks for sharing.


Jeylan February 21, 2010 at 8:55 am

Thanks for this post. I’ve often wondered where I could find good meals in Manhattan that are suitable for this lifestyle. Can’t wait to check them out.


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty February 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

this recipe sounds soo good! I love the poppy seed recipe!! YUM!! I’ve never cooked with fennel, must try!


Lindsay @cookingforaveganlover February 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

Gena! This recipe sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it!


melissa February 21, 2010 at 11:22 am

oh, i need to learn to use my mandoline! amazing. the dressing sounds yummy!

thanks for all the raw food news and give away info :)


BroccoliHut February 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

What a delicious dressing!! Must try it soon.
PS I use old Bonne Maman jars for food storage too:)


pure2raw twins February 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Poppy seed dressing looks delicious :) We were never big fans of coleslaw growing up but nowadays we like it occasionally ;)

Thanks for the shout out once again! xoxo


Earth Mother – In The Raw February 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Oh man, I’m crazy for Poppyseed Dressing! Betcha it’s a nice compliment to the fennel in the slaw.

Love broccoli slaw. Ever try that, oh culinary wizard?



Sophie February 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Oh my! Your poppy seed dressing is a home run! I just made it – so serendipitous that I had some fresh napa cabbage waiting patiently in my fridge. I made my batch of dressing with apple cider vinegar and it’s really incredible. My husband tasted it and commented on how clean it tastes. I can’t believe it’s a nut-based dressing; it’s so lovely! To the napa cabbage I added 1 large grated carrot, 3 burdock roots, chopped, 1 diced watermelon radish and a small amount of white onion (which next time I’ll leave out). I can’t wait to eat it again for dinner. :) Thank you so much for sharing your blog, recipes, etc. You have a really fine, light touch to your recipes and your food always tastes so nice. I’ll be keeping this dressing at the front of my faves!


Lauren February 21, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Lori and Michelles goodies ROCK! I want to try there onion bread, looks and sounds amazing!!!

This coleslaw sounds like the best ever!!!!!! My hubby loves the stuff, but isn’t a mayo fan (he likes when I make it with olive oil and vinegar), I am going to have to make this one for him! Thanks, Gena!


Diana (Soap & Chocolate) February 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Yeah coleslaw tends to bring up images of summer BBQs or cheap diner food, but since exploring raw a little more I’m able to shake that image. Especially with a recipe like this! I could definitely get into a slaw like this. Or an Asian flavored one–that I could definitely dig. In fact, lemme see what I can do right now and I’ll let you be the judge. ;)


Jen O February 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Coleslaw is one of my favorite foods ever so I can’t wait to make this! Thank you!


Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) February 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

I am not a big coleslaw fan, but I am always looking for new recipes! Might need to try this one!



Stefania (Ingredients for Life) February 21, 2010 at 6:05 pm

That is a lovely salad. Love fennel and the poppy seed dressing looks delish.


Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) February 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Ahh, this was meant to be. Just bought pine nuts at Costco. Now I just need to get poppy seeds, red cabbage, carrots, fennel and parsley. :)


Serena February 21, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I absolutely adore the Twin’s breads, and even got some sweet desserts for Vday ;)

Also, just made a batch of chia pudding that’s marinating in the fridge, ‘xept I used hemp milk instead of almond and added maca root powder :) unfortunately, I think I got the proportions a bit muddled and didn’t put enough chia-to-liquid ratio :S


Gelareh February 22, 2010 at 10:04 am

The dressing sounds very yummy. I love poppyseeds so I bet it is great in the dressing.


Kalli@fitandfortysomething February 22, 2010 at 10:45 am

That picture looks soooooo good. Must try this recipe!


Alysha Maiorelli February 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Love poppy seeds! What a great dressing idea! Haven’t had coleslaw in a while, but I guess I should get on that! Le Pain, is still one of my favourite hang outs. My fiance and I literally used to spend HOURS in there drinking pots of coffee and eating vegan muffins. Do you have a favourite location? I used to like the one on E68th and Lex or 58th and Bway. I recently moved to CA and thankfully, they have some over here too. It is still the only coffee I will drink!


Jess - The Domestic Vegan February 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I *love* poppyseed dressing! I am definitely making this this week!


sioux @ crunchybits.net February 24, 2010 at 1:37 am

I have been missing poppyseed dressing since I started reading the ingredient labels on the store bought bottles, but I can’t WAIT to make this. I’m going to have to stop at the store for some cabbage to try it out on. I already have the fennel in my fridge for Ani Phyo’s lemon fennel soup. Have you tried that? I make my own variation, but I find it to be a warming, cold-fighting giant in the winter!

your blog is lovely, gorgeous pics. Thanks for sharing!


Leslie @LaMamaNaturale February 24, 2010 at 7:37 am

Yum! Looks scrumptious. I’m a sucker for poppy seed. Made the dressing on Monday night and oh boy! It’s a perfect alternative. Thanks for sharing. Now, to make the salad sometime. ;)


Glidingcalm February 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

gorgeousssssssssss, Gena!!! i want to try that when i get home!


Jess - The Domestic Vegan March 4, 2010 at 5:08 pm

This is an awesome dressing! I used a little less agave & olive oil, and added more water. Love the use of pine nuts! Yummm.


Liz March 22, 2010 at 11:53 am

Absolutely delicious dressing! I just gave some to my mom and will be attempting to get my dad to try it. I had to use some cashews instead of the pine nuts though (I ran out!). It was so good on my salad! I also made a nori wrap with some romaine, red pepper and avocado with the dressing inside, which was inspired by one of your previous creations!


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