This vibrant red cabbage slaw with pears and cranberries is packed with all kinds of flavor. Thinly sliced cabbage is tossed together with beetroot, parsnip (yes!), pear, red onion, parsley, dried cranberries and toasted sunflower seeds with a light Dijon dressing. It’s a quick and easy side dish to prepare and is a great way to add a burst of color and fresh flavor to your meals.
Can parsnips be eaten raw?
Yes, parsnips are perfectly good raw, however they are sweeter and nuttier when cooked.
Most of the flavor is just under the skin, so you can also just give them a good scrub before slicing, but of course, buy organic. In a coleslaw they are easily exchangeable with carrots as the texture is similar but a little softer. Look for smooth, firm, medium-sized roots, as the larger ones can be woody in the centre.
I personally love the earthiness that parsnip and beet add to this salad. If you want to up the sweetness a little more you could trade out the parsnip for carrot. And if you want to avoid the hassle of preparing red beets, you could also choose golden beets or Chioggia (candy cane) beets. Both can be found at your local farmers market.
Tips for for preparing the beetroot and parsnip
There are a couple of tools that simply make preparing this salad easier. I like to use a mandoline with a julienne attachment to cut the parsnip and beetroot. And the regular attachment to shred the cabbage. Of course, it can be done with a sharp knife, but it certainly is more work. Be careful either way. For added safety, you can wear cut-resistant, food grade kitchen gloves.
Tips for preparing the cabbage
Getting thin, bite-sized shreds perfect for a red cabbage slaw is easy done in 4 simple steps.
- Remove any outer layers that seem tough or are not fresh, and discard them.
- With a large knife, cut the cabbage in half through the stem.
- Then cut the cabbage into quarters. a) If you are shredding the cabbage with a knife, remove the root of the cabbage by cutting it out diagonally. Then thinly slice the cabbage on the short edge. b) If you are using a mandoline, leave the root intakt, and shred the cabbage, rotating as you shred, until you meet the root.
Looking for other red cabbage salad inspiration?
Then try one of these delicious recipes:
Red Cabbage Slaw with Pears and Cranberries
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- pinch of allspice
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the salad:
- 1/4 head red cabbage, finely shredded with a mandoline
- 1 beetroot, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
- 1 parsnip, cut into fine matchsticks
- 1 large firm but ripe pear, peeled, cored and finely sliced
- 1 small red onion finely sliced
- 3 tablespoons organic dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
Mix the cabbage, parsnip and beetroot together in a large bowl with the dressing. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Add the remaining ingredients (pear, red onion, cranberries, parsley and sunflower seeds) and mix thoroughly. Serve and enjoy!
- I like toasted sunflower seeds in this red cabbage slaw, but feel free to use pumpkin seeds. or a mix of them with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.
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