All too often, slaw is a sad and soggy afterthought — a mayonnaise-heavy mound of cabbage smothered into submission. What a missed opportunity when you consider the bright, fresh possibilities a good slaw presents.
The accompanying recipe is a case in point. It is a crisp, colorful melange of shredded vegetables — red cabbage, fennel, carrot and onion — in a tangy-sweet vinaigrette, made with healthful oil, that softens the slaw components slightly and brings them together without overdoing it.
A final toss with toasted sunflower seeds adds a delightfully nutty crunch for a slaw that stands up to make-ahead treatment for a summer gathering, and it stands out as a truly desirable side dish.
Red cabbage and fennel slaw with sunflower seeds
⅓ cup unsalted, hulled sunflower seeds
¼ cup walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium fennel bulb, halved, cored and thinly sliced (4 cups)
1 large carrot, shredded (1 cup)
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Cool completely.
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a liquid measuring cup, to form an emulsified dressing.
Toss together the cabbage, fennel, carrot and onion in a mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Toss in the sunflower seeds just before serving.
Makes 8 servings (about 6 cups). Nutrition per serving: 130 calories, 3 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, no cholesterol, 115 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber, 7 grams sugar.