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Fennel & Apple Slaw

Fennel and apple slaw marries the aniseed flavour of fennel with the sharpness of green apple, bound together in a lemony dressing. A favourite side salad for a summer barbecue.

Our fennel and apple slaw is a cool and refreshing salad, a great tasting and versatile side dish that everyone will enjoy. The freshness is the taste of summer in a bowl.

A bowl of coleslaw topped with springs of fennel tops.

What does fennel taste like?

Although bulb-like in appearance, fennel is in fact a member of the carrot family. Eaten raw in this apple and fennel slaw, it has a lovely crunch and the flavour is more subtle anise rather than liquorice.

Fennel and apple slaw works great with pork, chicken, fish and other vegetables. Which makes it perfect for serving at a Summer barbecue.

Fennel can be a tricky vegetable to get people to eat, it’s one of those vegetables that divide opinion. When I first made this slaw I just put it on the dinner table with no explanation.

My family loved it and cleared the bowl stating “this is delicious what have you done differently?” Only then did I mention swapping the cabbage out for fennel. This is now a regular salad on our family dinner table.

A dark black bowl filled with a fennel and apple coleslaw with an orange linen to the side and servings tongs in the bowl.

Does fennel discolour when cut?

Fennel oxidises and starts to turn brown soon after being cut, as does apple. To stop this from happening pour over some lemon juice.

Our fennel slaw and lemon dressing is an ideal combination, as the creamy lemon dressing stops both the fennel and also the green apples from discolouring. This keeps the salad looking fresh and bright.

How to make fennel & apple slaw – recipe steps:

Ingredients laid out and labelled to make a coleslaw.
  • Look out all the ingredients before you start, this is a really quick dish to prepare.
A fennel bulb cut in half and then cut into thin slices.
  • Remove and discard the woody stems at the top of the fennel and finely slice the bulb.
Julienned carrots on a green board with a sharp knife to the side.
  • Finely julienne the carrots and green apples.
Sliced red onions in a strainer.
  • Thinly slice the red onion and also the radishes as small as you can.
A spoon showing the texture of a fennel slaw dressing, in a small glass bowl on a green board.
  • Combine the mayonnaise and lemon juice to a smooth consistency and season with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Pour over the vegetables and stir until the vegetables are thoroughly coated in dressing. Place the salad in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Serving suggestions:

Our fennel and apple slaw is a really versatile side salad:

  • Serve it alongside chicken for a delicious main. It works a treat with our Oven Roasted Chicken Wings.
  • The aniseed flavour of the fennel, along with the zesty lemon make this fennel slaw a great pairing with fish. I like to serve it alongside some simple pan fried hake, sea bream, seabass or any other similar white fish.
  • Delicious with Barbecued Devilled Mackerel, the cooling slaw balancing out the spicy marinated fish.
  • It makes a great barbecue side, serve it alongside our Classic Hotdogs, or my kids favourite combo, with our Chicken & Red Pepper Kebabs.
  • Planning a picnic, spoon some of this delicious slaw into an airtight container and pop it in the cool bag for later.

Recipe substitutions and variations:

  • Fennel has a wonderful aniseed flavour that we all love. If you prefer you could mix the fennel with some finely shredded white or red cabbage.
  • Green apple is sharp and fresh, I like to use Granny Smith apples as they have great flavour and also a nice firm texture. However, you can use any variety apple that you enjoy eating.
  • Red onion is more mellow than a yellow onion so is a better balance in this fennel and apple slaw. You could substitute shallot or spring onions.
  • Radish and carrot add lovely crunch, along with the apple. If there are any vegetables that you would prefer using then substitute them in.
  • Fresh Parsley has been chopped through the slaw to add a burst of freshness. You could substitute with some freshly cut tarragon, chives or coriander.
  • Lemon dressing coats this fennel slaw as the lemon helps to stop the fennel and apple from discolouring. It is quite a light dressing and I have used 3 tablespoons each of lemon juice and mayonnaise. If you want a creamier dressing them simply add a little more mayonnaise.
A dark table setting with a bowl of coleslaw filled with fennel, apple and carrot, with sprigs of fennel scattered and an orange coloured linen.

Can I made this slaw ahead of time?

This apple and fennel slaw can be made up ahead of time, earlier in the day. Pop the salad into the fridge until you are ready to serve.

I do not recommend making it up the day before as the salad will loose some of its vibrancy and the vegetables will become watery. That’s not so say I don’t use up leftovers the next day because I do! Simply that the salad won’t have the same crisp, freshness!

Useful hints and tips:

  1. No special equipment required just a really sharp knife to slice and julienne the vegetables really finely. For speed you can also grate the veggies, using either a hand grater or the grating plate on a food processor. This will chop the vegetables a lot smaller and you will loose some of the crunch.
  2. What is julienne? Julienne is a French cooking method for cutting vegetables into really fine strips.
  3. Take your time preparing the vegetables, you want to get everything as thin a possible. After all, nobody will thank you for large chunks of raw onion through the salad.
  4. Pushed for time then you can also use the julienne or grating blade of your food processor and prepare the fruit and vegetables in seconds. However, ensure you use the largest blade possible as you don’t want the vegetables cut too small or the dish will loose its crunch!
  5. This Vegetarian side is easily adapted for vegan diners simply either replace the mayonnaise with egg free mayonnaise or swap it out for some vegan Greek yogurt instead.

Pin the recipe:

Fennel and apple coleslaw overlaid onto a photo.

Additional recipe suggestions:

If you like this recipe then try some of our other side salad recipes:

Love salad? Then head to our Best Salad Recipes post where you will find links to all our favourite salads in one place.

A fresh homemade bowl of fennel slaw garnished with sprigs of fennel and lemon wedges.

Fennel & Apple Slaw

Fennel and apple slaw marries the aniseed flavour of fennel with the sharpness of green apple, bound together in a lemony dressing. A favourite side salad for a summer barbecue.
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 126kcal


  • 2 fennel bulbs (finely sliced)
  • 2 green apples (finely julienned)
  • 1 small red onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 large carrot (finely julienned)
  • 2 small radish (finely sliced)
  • 2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoon good quality mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Combine all the vegetables and herbs together in a large salad bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl mix together the mayonnaise and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the salad dressing over the vegetables and give everything a good stir together to combine. Place the salad in the fridge until you are ready to serve.


If you have a food processor with a large grating blade you can save time by using this to grate all the vegetables. Do not use too fine a grating blade or you will loose too much crunch!
Nutrition Facts
Fennel & Apple Slaw
Amount Per Serving
Calories 126 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 97mg4%
Potassium 671mg19%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 7g29%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 2838IU57%
Vitamin C 24mg29%
Calcium 74mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •

Course : Canape, Starter, Side, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine : BBQ
Keyword : apple and fennel slaw, Easy, fennel & apple slaw, fennel slaw, fennel slaw lemon dressing, lemon dressing, Quick, Simple, vegetarian
Tried this recipe? We’d love to see your photos!Mention @lostinf00d or tag #lostinfood!
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Recipe Rating

Sisley White - Sew White

Tuesday 3rd of August 2021

So fresh and absolutely delicious. Adding apple is absolutely a winning addition.


Wednesday 4th of August 2021

Thanks, the apple really gives it an extra freshness. Cheers, Michelle

Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

Thursday 29th of July 2021

I'm a huge fan of fennel and a huge fan of slaw... So this one's right up my street... xxx


Wednesday 4th of August 2021

I love fennel more in a slaw than cabbage, just extra flavour. Thanks, Michelle


Wednesday 21st of July 2021

I totally love fennel and it is perfect paired with apple. I'm gutted that I didn't grow any fennel in my garden this year as the warm weather would have suited it very well.


Monday 26th of July 2021

Thank you Janice, me too, it's easily one of my favourite veggies and this side is something I make regularly.

Corina Blum

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

This would make such a lovely side dish right now. It would be perfect as a bbq side.


Monday 26th of July 2021

Thank you Corina, I probably make this side dish more than any other as I love the flavour of fennel. It works a treat with a BBQ.

Melissa Altman-Traub

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

Thank you for sharing this. What a good idea as I never know what to do with fennel other than roasting it.


Monday 26th of July 2021

Thank you Melissa, I love fennel and served in this slaw it has a wonderful fresh flavour that works really well with both fish and chicken.