Vibrant Winter Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette

Hands tossing winter slaw.

Vibrant Winter Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette ~ I love a great slaw any time of the year, but there’s a special place in my heart for this root veggie salad that brightens up my winter menu with a blast of color and an epic crunch! It’s low calorie, packed with vitamins, minerals, and lots of fiber. 

Tossing a Vibrant Winter Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette

my healthy winter slaw easily fits into just about any special diet

If you’re craving color and crunch in your meals lately, I’ve got  just the thing for you. It’s bright and cheerful, easy to put together, and gives you an opportunity to try some of those winter veggies you might pass up at the supermarket . There’s no cooking involved, just peel and shred.

Spoon this slaw alongside meatloaf, roasted pork or chicken, or any type of fish. Pack up the leftovers for lunch.

Dressing a Vibrant Winter Slaw with a citrus vinaigrette

vegetable slaw keeps it crunch and texture for days!

Slaws generally keep their texture and crispness longer than regular salads because they’re made with sturdy cabbage, and in this case, kale, too. Those greens aren’t as delicate as lettuce, and won’t wilt. You can safely dress this slaw and leave it overnight, it will even hold up ok for a couple more days, as long as you don’t shred your veggies too finely.

Vibrant Winter Slaw in a wooden bowl with citrus vinaigrette

this is plant based eating at its most colorful!

A trip to our farmers market inspired this salad. I know we’re not all equally blessed with year round produce markets, and since I’m in Los Angeles where the farmers markets go all year long, I feel compelled to haul myself out of bed early on Sundays and take advantage. I don’t think I’ve ever bought more in a single visit than I did last week ~ winter veggies are heavy!

  • red, golden, and Chioggia beets
  • fennel
  • kolrabi
  • carrots
  • kale
  • red cabbage
  • Savoy or Napa cabbage
Pretty pink and white Chioggia beets

Winter veggies can be just as colorful and vibrant as summer produce, it just takes a little more imagination…peel and slice Chioggia beets to reveal their gorgeousness.

TIP: When I use red beets I find it helpful to toss the shreds lightly in olive oil first, and add them at the last minute to the slaw. This helps keep them from turning everything pink.

cabbage for a Vibrant Winter Slaw

a slaw is all about those shreds!

There are a few ways you can shred your slaw…when it comes to cabbage you can slice it very thinly with a large sharp knife and then cut it into shreds. But for really dense vegetables like beets you’ll need to use either a food processor with a shredding disk, or a mandoline that has the shred setting. The mandoline slicer is my choice because the shreds are even and a little thicker than you get from a food processor or a box grater. Just be sure to use the protective guard, especially with hard veggies like beets.

TIP: It’s essential that your shredded veggies are completely dry or your slaw will be soggy and your dressing diluted. If you wash your cabbage and the shreds are dripping, dry them on an absorbent kitchen towel before adding them to the bowl.

Citrus Vinaigrette for a Vibrant Winter Slaw

a fresh citrus vinaigrette wakes up any winter salad

I couldn’t leave winter citrus out of this recipe, so it became a bright vinaigrette. Use any citrus fruit you like, I had juicy tangerines.

I also added a few spices to my slaw ~ a tiny bit of fennel, caraway, mustard, and celery seeds. They add a nice complexity to the salad and give it a subtle Eastern European vibe.

Spices for a Vibrant Winter Slaw

more delicious slaw recipes to try ~

Hands tossing winter slaw.
3.41 from 54 votes

Vibrant Winter Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette

Vibrant Winter Slaw with Citrus Vinaigrette ~ a healthy high fiber side dish salad that brightens up any menu.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 10 servings
Calories 48.26kcal
Author Sue Moran



  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded red beets
  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded golden beets
  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded Chioggia pink beets
  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded fennel
  • 1/2 loosely packed cup of shredded kohlrabi
  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded carrots
  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded kale
  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded red cabbage
  • 1 loosely packed cup of shredded green cabbage, Savoy or Napa
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seed
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed


  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange or tangerine juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Blossom Vinegar, or other mild white vinegar like Champagne
  • 1 tsp creamy Dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes, optional


  • Make the dressing first. I like to put all the ingredients in a mason jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake shake SHAKE! The shaking will emulsify the dressing, making it creamy. Once emulsified, it shouldn’t separate into oil and vinegar. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients to your liking.
  • Toss the shredded veggies and seeds together in a large bowl and add enough dressing to moisten. You can refrigerate the slaw several hours before serving if you’d like. Season with salt and pepper and add more dressing to taste just before serving.

Cook’s notes


  • You don’t have to use such a wide variety of veggies like I did, sometimes less is more, and I love the combo of beet and fennel, for instance.
  • A classic creamy slaw dressing would work too: whisk together 1/2 cup mayo, 2 Tbsp sour cream, a little grated onion, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, sugar to taste (start with 1 tsp) 1 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp celery seed, salt and pepper to taste.  Thin down with a little milk if necessary.  Taste and adjust anything that needs it.  
  • I gave ingredient amounts here but please don’t let them box you in…you can add the various veggies in any amounts or combinations you like, this is just a suggestion.


Calories: 48.26kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.09g | Protein: 1.35g | Fat: 1.54g | Saturated Fat: 0.22g | Sodium: 85.47mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 5.13g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    January 18, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    So vibrant and I love the citrus vinaigrette!

  • Reply
    Joy Massa
    January 18, 2019 at 10:15 am

    I was hoping for some insight about amounts and handling of the suggested 4 seeds to season….Do you crush them in a coffee bean blender or smash them in a mortar, or….And for the amount of liquid in this dressing recipe, would you start with 1/2 teaspoon each?
    Does the Dijon work with these seeds?

    • Reply
      January 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

      I realized I didn’t put the seeds in the recipe, they’re there now. I just did 1/4 tsp each, I didn’t want an overpowering flavor, but you could add more. And I just add them whole, I love crunching down on the occasional seed and getting that burst of flavor.

      • Reply
        Joy Massa
        January 20, 2019 at 5:26 pm

        5 stars
        Thanks, Sue! I made your salad and dressing with just a few changes….I used only gold beet (no chioggia in sight), and instead of kohlrabi I used jicama – which rocked! I also added endive, which is so sweet this time of year!
        I let the kale “marinate” for an hour tossed in some of the dressing, too. (doubled the amount…It got so tender!)
        My vinegar was raspberry champagne and it was so good with the tangerine juice-based dressing! I coarsely pounded 1/2 tsp of each of the seeds – I didn’t see your suggested amounts until today…it is so delicious and complex in flavor.
        I got rave reviews for the Winter Salad and fed 7 hungry adults, who love salad…. so *applause* to you!

        • Reply
          January 20, 2019 at 5:46 pm

          So smart to use jicama, that’s such an underrated veggie. I’m so happy your crowd loved it :))

  • Reply
    January 18, 2019 at 8:04 am

    this recipe looks so wonderful and so gooooooooooooooooood. I wish I could make it. I live in Lawton, Oklahoma. Unfortunately no stores here carry any of these vegetables. I am lucky if I can get fresh bread once in a while.

    • Reply
      January 18, 2019 at 8:30 am

      Sharyn I’m shocked that you can’t get these vegetables, what a shame. Somebody needs to fix that. I just read all about your beautiful town (on Wikipedia lol) and stumbled across the Oklahoma Farm and Food Alliance that seems to be a great resource for local fresh produce, and I found another great resource that lists farmers markets, farms, and stores that sell local produce, here, don’t know if there is anything useful there for you.

  • Reply
    Tricia | Saving Room for Dessert
    January 18, 2019 at 4:53 am

    This couldn’t be more perfect Sue! I’m all about the epic crunch and loads of color and flavor. What a great addition to my winter line-up. We love comfort food for sure, but a little crunchy, healthy lift to the menu is a great thing! Thanks – PINNED!

    • Reply
      January 18, 2019 at 7:39 am

      The crunch is pretty epic, Tricia ~ I especially love the beets, I’m discovering how great they are raw 🙂

  • Reply
    January 18, 2019 at 5:24 am

    5 stars
    Beautiful, healthy and delicious…a perfect winter salad, Sue.

    • Reply
      January 18, 2019 at 7:36 am

      Thanks Angie ~ gotta keep those salads going through the yucky weather!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2019 at 3:17 am

    5 stars
    Oh This looks lovely! Very beautiful pictures too (as always!). I adore salads like that and makes them often, especially in winter where I crave all the crunch and vitamins.

    Have a great weekend

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