This post has been updated for recipe, content and photography since it’s original publication in 2015.
This simple, healthy shaved brussels sprout salad is a tasty twist on traditional coleslaw and it’s ready in minutes by using a food processor to slice the veg. With a tangy sweet honey and whole grain mustard dressing this brussel apple fennel slaw is light, crunchy and satisfying. Toasted walnuts add even more texture. It’s a quick and easy side dish for any cookout or barbecue. Try my brussel sprout slaw with grilled chicken, pork and seafood. Delicious!
Now don’t get me wrong… I love a good old fashioned potato salad or pasta salad as much as the next guy, but this tempting brussel sprout slaw is a delightful diversion from the standard. It’s zippy and punchy, filled with pleasing textures and zesty, puckery flavors. Let’s get started.
Ingredients for shaved brussel apple fennel slaw
- Brussels Sprouts
- Granny Smith Apple
- Toasted Walnuts
Brussels sprouts are like mini cabbages (which is why I chose them for this brussel sprout slaw). When raw, they’re not as pungent as they are when cooked and only need to be thinly sliced (either in the food processor or with a mandoline or good chef’s knife) to to make the brussel sprout slaw.
Granny Smith Apples are generally more tart than sweet and will hold their shape without turning brown immediately, plus the dressing has an acid in it which helps to prevent oxidation.
Fennel is very crunchy and has an anise flavor (licorice). I’m usually not fond of licorice as candy, but this crunchy, vibrant veg is ideal in the slaw. This recipe only uses half a bulb of fennel. Note: if you use the food processor to slice the fennel, you’ll likely get a few slices that look like large, thin discs. Use a knife to turn those discs into matchstick sized pieces to better blend with the slaw.
Walnuts are a natural pairing with apples and brussels sprouts, so they fit right into this hearty shaved brussel sprouts salad. You’ll want to toast the nuts until they’re fragrant and have taken on some color. Toasting will deepen the flavor and enhance the crunch.
Prepare the vegetables for brussel apple fennel slaw
- Trim the stems from the brussels sprouts.
- Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the core. Then slice it into chunks.
- Peel the apple. Cut it into quarters and remove the core and seeds.
- Fit the food processor with the slicing disc, not the shredder.
- Feed the vegetables into the mouth of the food processor and pulse to shave them.
Don’t have a food processor?
You don’t have to have one. Make this shaved brussels sprouts salad with a little bit of elbow grease.
- Use a mandoline to shave ultra thin matchsticks.
- Use the large holes on a box grater to shred the fennel and brussels sprouts and slice the apple into thin slices or matchsticks.
- Break out a sharp knife and a cutting board and chop the vegetables into thin matchsticks.
BOLO – be on the lookout
After processing in the food processor, if you get any inordinately large pieces of fennel or apple, use a sharp knife and cut them into matchsticks or bite sized pieces. I found that the food processor shaved the apple into thin, bite sized pieces and the brussels sprouts had exactly the right cut for the fennel apple slaw. Be on the watch for the fennel however, because depending on how they go down the chute, you might end up with a few larger, more unwieldy pieces. Use your knife and cutting board to finish the job.
Ingredients for slaw dressing – no mayo
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Vegetable or Canola Oil
- Whole Grain Dijon Mustard (with seeds)
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
You’ll love this easy slaw dressing because it has no mayonnaise, which makes it light, tangy and bright. The honey mustard subtly naps the shaved brussels, apple and fennel so that each bite of the slaw is flavored with the dressing, but not drenched in it. That’s key. No one wants soupy slaw.
Best served the day you make it
Add the toasted walnuts just before you serve the slaw, to preserve the crunch and toasty flavor. This salad will hold up in the refrigerator for a few days, however, it really is best the first day. The flavors and textures will be at their peak. Luckily, brussel apple fennel slaw isn’t a very involved side dish, so you can leave it to make until the last minute without feeling harried.
What to serve with brussel fennel apple slaw:
- Kansas City Style Ribs
- Easy Homemade Rotisserie Chicken
- Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Smoked Grilled BBQ Chicken
More side salad recipes:
Crunchy Brussel Fennel Apple Slaw
- 1/2 pound brussel sprouts roots trimmed
- 1 granny smith apple peeled, seeded and cored, cut into quarters or eighths
- 1/2 fennel bulb cored and shredded
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
FOR HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350. Lay walnuts in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside.
FOR THE HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
- In a large bowl, combine the whole grain mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, oil, kosher salt and pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside.
PREPARE THE VEGETABLES
- For the ultimate ease - use the slicer attachment on your food processor to slice the veggies, otherwise, a sharp chef's knife work well. If using the food processor, feed the vegetables into the chute and pulse to process.
- If you're using a sharp knife, Slice the brussels sprouts into very thin rounds, julienne the fennel and apple into matchsticks. (the knife actually makes a prettier salad, but since you'd probably rather enjoy eating it rather than looking at it....)
- Add the shredded brussel sprouts, apple and fennel to the dressing and gently toss to combine.
- Just before serving, sprinkle with the toasted walnuts -- if you add them too early, they'll get soft.
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