Fennel, Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Poppyseed Dressing


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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  1. 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!

  2. 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. 😉

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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

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

  7. 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. 😉

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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

  11. 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 🙂

  12. 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.

  13. 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 $.

    • 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.

  14. 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:)

  15. 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!).

  16. 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.

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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.

    • 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