Fall produce works its way into farmers’ markets and grocery stores pretty quickly: one moment you’re feasting on summer corn and tomatoes, the next, it’s all about roots and cruciferous veggies. And in the same swoop, you find yourself transitioning from bright and cheery salads to stew-y and roasted dishes to go along with the sudden change in seasons. The months ahead promise a parade of gratins, bakes, and mashes worthy of a hibernation diet.
But while autumn’s harvest may seem best suited for being cooked into oblivion, it’s actually hiding some great fresh veggies in its midst. It’s just that they need a little coaxing. A slaw can turn even the hardiest roots and stalks into something vibrant and pleasantly crunchy: just shred and slice your produce thin and let it pickle slightly in vinaigrette, then watch any cases of the cold-weather vegetable blues slip away.
To get yourself out of a fall produce funk, you can turn to one of these seasonal slaws—here are eleven recipes that keep things bright and fresh.
1. Fennel-Apple Slaw
Fennel and apple each bring their own flavors to the table, with fennel’s anise overtones and apple’s signature tartness. With such strong personalities, they only need an extra-light vinaigrette to dress them up, getting just the slightest spike from a white wine vinegar and olive oil mixture. Get our Fennel-Apple Slaw recipe.
2. Kale-Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing
Never mind those leaden, mayonnaise-heavy versions of coleslaw, the ones that usually end up uneaten at the edge of your plate. This perky kale and apple version gives the stuff a long overdue update. Get our Kale-Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing recipe.
3. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
Raw Brussels sprouts are nothing like their mushy, boiled counterparts. When finely shredded, they have an addictively crunchy, feathery texture with lots of ridges and crannies that excel at picking up drops of dressing. Get our Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe.
4. Carrot Slaw
For such hardy root vegetables, carrots do an awfully good job of soaking in the flavors of whatever you marinate them in. These shreds are loaded with a kick of mustard, red wine vinegar, and aromatic orange zest. Get the recipe here.
5. Kohlrabi and Cabbage Slaw with Tahini Lemon Dressing
Kohlrabi and cabbage both have tons of crunch, but they are pretty mild-mannered in the flavor department. A strong dressing, like the sesame tahini one in this recipe, will give them the boost they need. Get the recipe here.
6. Crunchy Turnip, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Slaw
Brussels sprout leaves are kind of like the low-budget version of fancy-schmancy microgreens. Toss them with julienned turnips and apples for a dish that blurs the line between slaw and salad. Get the recipe here.
7. Cauliflower Slaw
Cauliflower may be a surprising choice for a slaw, but somehow it just works, especially with pumped up garnishes like fried capers and dried currants. Get the recipe here.
8. Pear, Gorgonzola, and Pecan Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Pears, pecans, gorgonzola crumbles, and Brussels sprouts are everything you want them to be: a little bit sweet and a little bit salty with plenty of crunch. Get the recipe here.
9. Simple Fall Slaw
Show your love for seasonal produce with this recipe that packs in virtually all of fall’s bounty: carrots, beets, broccoli, apples, and beyond. Get the recipe here.
10. Cilantro Lime Sweet Potato Slaw
You’ve probably had your fair share of baked sweet potatoes and sweet potato fries. Get to know a whole new side of them by trimming them raw into matchstick shapes and allowing them to soak in the flavors of ginger and lime. Get the recipe here.
11. Kielbasa with Warm Apple-Bacon Slaw
Just because slaws are vegetable-based doesn’t mean that you can’t find ways to work some meat into them. This red cabbage and apple version is dressed in bacon fat and topped with pieces of smoky kielbasa. Get our Kielbasa with Warm Apple-Bacon Slaw recipe.
Header image: Kale Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing from Chowhound
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.