Blog Post

Luscious Broccoli Slaw Recipe

With summer on the horizon, I find myself hankering after salads. One of my favourites is homemade coleslaw. This recipe calls for crunchy broccoli and carrots, crisp apples and a tangy homemade dressing. The perfect complement to BBQs, roast chicken or pot luck (“bring-and-braai”, if you’re South African).

The word coleslaw comes from the Dutch “koolsla”, which means cabbage (kool) salad (sla). The traditional version of this dish has cabbage as the key ingredient, but this can be substituted with other vegetables. When cabbage is left out, we just call it slaw. I like that term – it sounds kind of drawling cowboy-ish.

This broccoli slaw recipe uses the thick stalks of the broccoli plant, the pieces people usually throw away. They are great added to smoothies or juiced and work beautifully as the star of the show in a slaw.

I love it when I can find uses for the parts of vegetables that one usually discards. I usually keep my off-cuts to add as a soup base once a week, but it pleases me greatly when I find an alternative use for them.


Broccoli has wonderful health benefits and the stalks are just as nutritious as the rest of the plant. It’s full of fibre, high in water and packed with nutrients. Broccoli belongs to a group called cruciferous vegetables, of which cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale are also members. Apart from the nutritional elements, the cruciferous family are also good for hormone health. One word of caution – large amounts of cruciferous vegetables, eaten raw, can impact thyroid function. Delicious as this is, a raw broccoli salad every day would not be advisable if you have thyroid issues.


I have used a Gala apple for this recipe, to add a little sweetness to the dish. Depending on your palate, feel free to substitute this with a Granny Smith to add some tartness. The sweetness of the apples also means my kids are more likely to enjoy this salad.

An apple a day (as part of a balanced diet) can indeed keep the doctor away. Adding apples not only adds another flavour aspect, but also another healthy ingredient to broaden your intake of plain old goodness.


Vinegar adds that signature tang to a coleslaw. It also works well if you’re serving your slaw with a meat like pork or beef, as it cuts through the richness of the fat.

Many coleslaw dressings call for other vinegars, but I prefer to use lemon juice or apple cider vinegar as they have added health benefits. Among other qualities, cider vinegar is beneficial to digestion, in that it helps to regulate your stomach acid.


If you are vegan, you can either leave this out (the gala apple adds sweetness), add a handful of dried fruit or use white sugar. I prefer honey as a sweetener as it has a lower glycaemic index than sugar, so is kinder on blood sugar. Highly processed, white sugar also has no nutrients.


We consume a lot of mayo in this house. My favourite ever mayo is homemade at my sister’s lodge in South Africa. I have never been able to replicate it, much as I’ve tried. Perhaps this is a blessing as I would eat it on everything.

Although my diet is not entirely plant based I prefer Vegenaise to mayo. It has a lighter taste, not as rich, and I also feel more comfortable with the provenance of the ingredients. Traditional mayo relies on factory farmed hens to provide eggs, something that does not sit comfortably with me. Using mayonnaise will not impact the flavour of this dish, however.


This recipe is good as a side for 4. If you want to bulk it up to make it go further (and find yourself all out of broccoli stalks because you only eat so much broccoli a week) you can add:

  • Finely-sliced red or white cabbage
  • Shaved Brussels sprouts
  • Slivers of fennel, for the more adventurous.
  • Paired with celeriac this works beautifully with cabbage for a comforting winter coleslaw

You can also pimp up this salad with extras like dried cranberries, raisins, toasted seeds or sliced almonds. Just remember that if you’re adding apple, you’re better off adding seeds or nuts, as the sweetness of dried fruit on top of apple could take away from that signature slaw tang.


Luscious Broccoli Slaw Recipe

This delicious slaw recipe is amazing. It has simple ingredients, which can be easily substituted and are gluten-free. As a side dish, it is just as happy served with grilled food on a warm summer day, as it is accompanying a roast or my tasty lentil curry. You may want to double the ingredients if you are serving a crowd. This dish serves 4, as a side.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Salads



For the salad:

  • 2 large broccoli stalks, peeled (the single thick stalk you usually throw away)
  • 1 Gala apple (substitute this with a Granny Smith if you prefer more of a tang)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup Vegenaise (or mayo)
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (substitute with white sugar if you prefer vegan)
  • ½ teaspoon English Mustard
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper


  1. Cut the broccoli stalks and apple (skin on) into matchsticks (or julienne)
  2. Roughly grate the carrots (if you prefer a more refined-looking salad, julienne the carrots too)
  3. Slice the spring onion once, lengthways and then chop along the width
  4. In your salad bowl, prepare the dressing by adding the Vegenaise, vinegar, honey and mustard and whisking with a fork until blended
  5. Add a couple of pinches of salt and a grind of pepper – taste and add more if necessary
  6. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and turn over a few times to mix well
  7. Serve and enjoy


This slaw can be made ahead and also keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Ingredient flavours differ and the methods we as individuals use to prepare food are seldom the same. Our palettes also vary greatly and so what is salty for one person might require added salt for another. Use these recipes as a guide and taste throughout the process. Adapt the ingredients to suit YOUR taste, start with the suggested seasonings and increase if needed.

Experiment with your cooking and do not assume you have done something wrong if the taste does not work for you. Spice it up if you need more bite, salt it up if you need more salt, add more vinegar if you need more tang – or more oil if you need to bring down acidity.

Keywords: healthy, easy, nutritious, fresh

Did you enjoy this recipe?

Take a photo and tag me on Instagram