A good slaw for a healthy start

We’ve entered the New Year with a lot of uncertainty but luckily the chickens are tuned in to the universe and their inner egg radars have turned back on. It is amazing how quickly that incremental increase of daylight brings on the eggs. Which really and truly proves once again that life goes on, we’ve nothing to complain about and things will look up.

On the culinary front it’s good to look for healthy foods in January to boost the immune system and conquer the extra pounds gained in Christmas feasting.

Winter slaws are the business when you crave something bright and crunchy and they use vegetables that don’t mind wintery weather. There’s no need to use fragile jetlagged vegetables, as local seasonal vegetables are perfect to shred and dress. The bright oranges, greens and purples are like sunshine in a bowl.

The key ingredients for a slaw are usually some kind of cabbage – red or green and then whatever you have or fancy in the line of fennel, beetroots, carrots, radishes, onions, endive etc. Apples, oranges and pears also make good additions, as do toasted nuts and seeds. They can be dressed with vinaigrettes or creamy mayonnaise. The options are endless so you can let your imagination go riot. 

Here’s the recipe for the slaw that I made today from our post Christmas vegetable basket (and the remaining red cabbage from the garden) Salting the cabbage briefly makes the cabbage sweat and the juices run, softening the cabbage to a delightful succulent crunch.


• Half a small red cabbage

• 1 fennel bulb

• 1 red onion

• 1 pear

• 1tsp sugar

• 2tbs white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar

• Salt

• 1tsp Dijon mustard

• 100mls olive oil


Finely shred the red cabbage – discard the core. Sprinkle it with a little salt, toss well then leave it aside for 10-15 minutes. 

Finely slice the fennel and toss with a little salt. Leave aside for 10-15 minutes

Peel and finely slice the red onion, sprinkle a little salt over then massage until the rings separate. Put the sugar into a bowl, whisk in the vinegar then toss the onions in the mix. Leave aside for 10-15 minutes

Peel and chop the pear.

Put the cabbage onto a clean cloth or kitchen roll then dry well to remove excess liquid and salt, tip into a bowl the repeat the process with the fennel.

Put all the vegetables except for the onions into a big bowl.

Drain the pickling liquid from the onions and use this as a base for the vinaigrette

Add the onions to the big bowl.

Whisk a teaspoon of Dijon mustard into the onion vinegar then slowly whisk in the olive oil

Pour the dressing over the vegetables then toss everything together. 

The slaw is ready to eat but it’ll also sit happily in the fridge for a day or two.

Our shop is closed once again due to the Covid pandemic but we’ll re-open as soon as we safely can. 

Happy New Year everyone, we hope to see you soon!


Lettercollum Kitchen Project,

22 Connolly Street, Clonakilty



Karen Austin

Karen Austin is the co-owner of the Lettercollum Kitchen Project in Clonakilty.

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