I’ve been making this beautiful, colorful, and flavorful side dish since 2010. This recipe is a twist on traditional coleslaw, usually made with (green) cabbage and carrots. Not only is the nutritional value magnified with this version, so are the flavors! The two stars of this dish are fennel and red cabbage. The supporting cast includes green onion, bacon crumbles, and a simple dressing.
Red cabbage is a superfood! It’s ten times higher than other varieties of cabbage in vitamins, cancer-fighting flavonoids and has a winning amount of antioxidants for eye, teeth, bone, and immune health. Red cabbage, sometimes called purple cabbage, is slightly smaller and denser than green cabbage and has a more peppery taste.
If you’ve never had fennel, it’s part of the carrot family, although it’s not a root vegetable (it grows above ground). The fennel bulb has a mild licorice flavor and crunchy texture. It’s low in calories but high in nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, to name a few. This slaw is a nutritional powerhouse.
Both the cabbage and the fennel need to be thinly sliced. I’ve done this using both a sharp knife and a food processor. Given the option, go with the food processor. It will perfectly slice both ingredients in seconds. Use a knife to cut the green onions.
The bacon adds texture and a slight smokey taste. Since only four slices are needed, the best way to cook them up is to nuke ’em in the microwave. Place the bacon on a plate covered with a couple of paper towels. Put another paper towel over the bacon to keep the microwave from getting greasy. Microwave on high for about 4 minutes; the bacon should be crispy. Move it to another paper towel to blot dry. The bacon should easily crumble, but if you want to keep your hands clean, you can chop it.
Combine the cabbage, fennel, onion, and bacon in a salad bowl. To make the dressing, whisk together the mayo, red wine vinegar, sugar, and fennel fronds.
Use your favorite variation of mayonnaise (low fat, olive oil, vegan, or Miracle Whip). There is only one teaspoon of sugar in the dressing, but sugar substitutes, Splenda, or Stevia, are all good. I like red wine vinegar not just for the taste but also for the faint pink color it gives the dressing. Substitute white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar if you don’t have red wine vinegar. The fennel fronds are just plain fun to incorporate into the dressing. They add flavor, color, and texture.
Pour the dressing over the slaw and thoroughly combine. This side dish is perfect for cook-outs and barbeques; It pairs great with fish, burgers, chicken, and steak. Fennel and Red Cabbage Slaw is gluten-free, low cholesterol, and keto-friendly! Enjoy.
Fennel and Red Cabbage SlawCourse: Sides, SaladCuisine: Keto Friendly, Heart HealthyDifficulty: Easy
Switch out traditional slaw with Fennel and Red Cabbage for a colorful, vibrant, and delicious side dish with flavor notes of licorice and pepper. Heart-healthy, gluten-free, low carb, keto-friendly, low cholesterol, and supercharged with nutrients.
1 fennel bulb, core removed, cut into quarters, and sliced very thinly, fronds reserved
½ red cabbage, finely sliced (approx. 3 cups)
5-6 green onions, sliced
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Prep: Remove the core of the fennel bulb, cut in quarters, and thinly slice. Chop the fennel fronds. Finely slice the red cabbage and green onions. Cook the bacon crispy and crumble.
- Toss the fennel, cabbage, scallions, and bacon together in a large salad bowl.
- Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, fennel fronds, sugar, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a small bowl. Add the dressing to the slaw and toss to coat.
- Time-Saving tip: Slice the fennel and cabbage using a food processor.
- Sugar: Substitute sweetener or sugar substitute for the sugar.
- Zhoosh it: Add garlic or peppers to spice it up.