Pomegranate Fennel Slaw

September 17, 2008 at 6:11 pm (B_minus (2.5 stars), Cruciferous rich, My brain, Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetable dishes)

I really love a good coleslaw.  Not the pasty, suffocating in mayonnaise slaw that you find in a bad deli, or at a catered picnic, but the crisp, refreshing, jewel-toned cole slaw that’s always featured on the cover of Real Simple or Cooking Light. I particularly like coleslaws that include fennel and tart apple.  I was trying to choose a dressing for a fennel/apple slaw, when I thought of using pomegranate molasses.  I originally bought it for the barbecued tofu recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance, and since then I’ve been experimenting with other way ways to use it.  It makes a nice tea-like/juice-like beverage when added to cold water.  The resulting beverage is not unlike tamarind “cider”: a little sweet, a little tart, and a lot… brown.  But no worries, the pomegranate molasses doesn’t mute the perky colors of this coleslaw. I really liked the pomegranate sweet and sour flavor in this coleslaw, especially with the added sweet and sour of the Jonagold apples from the local farmer’s market.


  • about 1/6 head of red cabbage, shredded (10 ounces)
  • one large fennel bulb (about 1 pound), sliced thinly (about 1/8 inch thick)
  • 2 medium tart apples (about 6 ounces each), julienned
  • 1 carrot, grated (optional)
  • seeds from half a large pomegranate
  • 4 Tbs. pomegranate dressing (see below)
Pomegranate dressing (makes between 1/3 and 1/2 cup):
  • 4 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

In the past I didn’t care for raw fennel–I found it generally tough.  I recently discovered, however, that if you slice fennel very thin it’s not tough at all but deliciously crisp.  Now that I have a mandoline (more about it in a later post) that makes getting thin slices super easy, I’ve been eating a lot of raw fennel.  I never had the knife skills to get my fennel thin enough with just a knife, but probably a v-slicer or food processor, or perhaps even the little slicing blade on a box grater would work as well.

This salad is simple but delicious.  I can eat about 4 cups of it in a sitting.  Of course, it takes me about an hour, and I feel like a cow at pasture, but I enjoy munching on it all the way to the last bite.

Obligatory nutritional note:  raw cruciferous vegetables have amazing detoxification phytonutrients, and red cabbage is particularly high in antixoidants including vitamin A and C.  The volatile oils in fennel that give it its unique licorice-like flavor are also rich in antioxidants (and fennel also is high in vitamin C).    And we’ve all heard about the amazing antioxidants compounds in pomegranates.  Even apples (actually their skin) contain quercitins, flavonoids with powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, especially when working in combination with vitamin C. This salad should really be called death-to-oxygen-cancer-and-all-other-toxins slaw.

Update October 4th: I made this recipe again, but I used slightly different amounts, closer to what my mom described in her comment.  I only had a medium fennel bulb (8 ounces julienned), and one large (8 ounce) apple.  I used the seeds from a whole pomegranate, and one 4 ounce carrot.  I liked the salad a lot, although I wouldn’t have minded a tad more fennel and apple.  Maybe I’ll switch the recipe to call for equal amounts (10 ounces) of cabbage, fennel, and apple.  I used 4 Tbs. of dressing, and thought it was enough, although it wouldn’t have been bad with one more Tablespoon.  Since the dressing recipe makes a bit too much, if you don’t want extra dressing you might want to cut the recipe by 2/3:

  • 2 1/2 Tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2/3 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. minced shallt
  • 1/6 tsp. salt
  • 1/6 tsp. black pepper

Derek and I both rated this version a B+, but I left the pomegranate seeds out of Derek’s, since (like my Dad), he says they hurt his teeth.  I forgot to measure, but I think the recipe made over 8 cups of salad, maybe even 12 cups.


  1. austingardener said,

    My my, aren’t we waxing poetic! Where does one pick up this pomegranate molasses in a small town like Austin?

  2. captious said,

    Poetry? No. If you want poetry, check out the grapefruit post.

    I searched for pomegranate molasses in Montreal, to no avail. Even the middle eastern markets didn’t carry it. All the Turkish markets carry it here, although the bottles all come from Iran.

    In Austin, I’d check a middle eastern or persian market and/or central market. If you go to a middle eastern restaurant and they serve muhamarra (walnut and pomegranate spread), then maybe ask them where they get it?

  3. susan said,

    I bought a bottle of pomegranate molasses today. Now I just have to wait for the red cabbage and the fennel to grow.

  4. susan said,

    Well I couldn’t wait and splurged and bought all the ingredients. This must be the most expensive salad I have ever made
    2.99 pomegranate
    1.79 fennel bulb
    1.50 cabbage
    .50 shallot
    6.99 red wine vinegar.
    Yes I know that the vinegar and the molasses are only partially used.
    Dad did not like it becuase he doesn’t like whole pomegranate seeds. i He just sucks the juice out of them. I plan on making it again without the pomegranate seeds and will report back on what he thinks. Max said it was too tart. But Mojdeh and I both gave it an A and both had seconds.
    I did make 2 adjustments. I only used one apple becuase 2 apples seemed like it would overwhelm the salad and the fennel bulb I chose only weighed half a pound.

  5. What to do with fennel? « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] a coleslaw, for example with apples, red cabbage, and […]

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