close-up of coleslaw on orange plateColeslaw for Fall? Absolutely!

Allow me, if you will, to take liberty with the English language here and let you know that in our house, we slaw. That’s right, we make it, we eat it, we share it with friends, and we do all of this, year-round. We are coleslaw lovers and in short: we slaw.

Coleslaw is at once simple, and not-so-simple. It can be made of the most basic ingredients, or it can have layers and personality and be fancy. Any and all of these varieties of our beloved coleslaw are good. 

We love coleslaw because it’s easy to make, it goes with everything from sandwiches and fish to tofu and barbecued pork, and it changes with the seasons. In summer, coleslaw is perfect with a light dressing and plenty of herbs. Winter brings on a slaw made from root vegetables. In spring, fresh radishes and the first snap peas can be sliced up in a pretty and fresh coleslaw. Not traditional, for sure, but very good. I love fall coleslaw with crunchy apples, seeds and herb-flecked dressing. 

Here are a few tips for making coleslaw at any time of year. First, don’t buy the bagged stuff. Slice your own cabbage (or radishes or kale.) Use the food processor because then you get perfect, even slices. If you’re making cabbage coleslaw, salt the cabbage and let it rest for an hour or so. That draws out the moisture and makes it crunchy. Add herbs and nuts and something sweet, such as an apple or pear. Leave it till the next day (because it’s always better the next day.) Dress it generously because no one, not one single soul, likes dry coleslaw. And when you’ve done all of that, share it. Do all of those things, especially the sharing part, and you too, will slaw.  

Apple & Herb Coleslaw Recipe

Serves 5 


    • 1 small head Napa cabbage
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise
    • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
    • 1 large tart apple
    • ½ cup raw pepitas
    • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


    1. Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core.
    2. Slice the cabbage very thinly, with a sharp knife or with the slicing blade in a food processor.
    3. Place the shredded cabbage in a colander and toss with the teaspoon of salt.
    4. Allow to rest for an hour or so, and then roll in a clean kitchen towel. Gently squeeze to remove the excess liquid.
    5. Whisk together the olive oil, mayonnaise, vinegar, maple, salt and pepper. Set aside.
    6. Core and cut the apple into matchsticks.
    7. Combine the cabbage, apple, pepitas, thyme and sesame seeds.
    8. Toss all with the dressing. Then taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

Tip: Coleslaw (of any kind) is always better the next day. 

Caroline Barret in kitchenCaroline Barrett writes about food and families. She teaches cooking classes at Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Albany. You can find her at



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