Autumn Sesame Slaw


For some reason the word ‘slaw‘ seems to enrage people who demand to know when we stopped just saying ‘coleslaw’ and muttering about hipsters. I, for one, welcome the arrival of slaw. It tends to mean freshly prepared vegetables filled with colour and flavour instead of that limp mayonnaise-sodden white and orange woodchip style salad of the 80s and 90s. If hipsters have made that occurrence less likely, then I’m all for it.

This recipe is definitely a slaw. There’s no cabbage in it so it can’t be coleslaw by that token. It’s a bright mix of kohlrabi, beetroot, carrot and apple, packed with flavour and a colour reminiscent of soon to be falling leaves. Lightly tossed in tahini and yoghurt and scattered with sesame seeds, we ate a batch of it in a friend’s garden on the last summer night of the season and then I tucked into more on the first cool wet day we’ve had. It worked perfectly for both.

Autumn Sesame Slaw: serves 4-6

  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 beetroot (my first batch had yellow for colour)
  • 1 apple (preferably tart and British)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon miso (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons water (as needed)
  • salt and pepper
  • toasted sesame seeds to serve

Peel and grate your vegetables on the largest holes of a box grater. If I’m not using yellow beetroot, I tend to do the beets in the sink to prevent the CSI effect on the kitchen tiles. Peel and core the apple and grate. Mix all the vegetables and the apple in together.

Make the dressing by mixing the miso and sugar together with a drop of two of the water to dissolve them both. If you don’t have miso, that’s fine, but I love its rich savoury flavour and it gives the slaw more satisfaction level. Use a drop or two of water to dissolve the sugar anyway.

Then add the soy sauce to this miso mix and combine with with the tahini and yoghurt. I use runny Lebanese tahini (look for the Al Nakhil brand with the green top) but if you can only get the very solid health food shop version, add as much water as you like to get the dressing to a runny texture you can toss the slaw with.

Dress the slaw and mix well to make sure each strand is coated and then just before serving scatter with toasted sesame seeds. The slaw will keep for up to 24 hours when dressed but the chances are you’ll eat much more of it than you expected. The dressing is light but tasty and the veg stay crisp and more-ish with a nice mix of peppery and earthy.

A former beetroot hater had seconds (maybe even thirds) of this slaw and everyone loved the nuttiness of the dressing. If you didn’t have tahini, you could try peanut butter instead. Whatever you do, this is a great way to finally find something to do with that nobbly bobbly kohlrabi in the veg box!


PS: I feel very honoured to have been nominated for food writing at the Young British Foodies awards this week.

10 replies
  1. Lesley
    Lesley says:

    Interesting recipe! Sounds delicious. There is a distinct essence of autumn in the air this morning, and I find my thoughts turning to root vegetables

  2. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Lesley: I loves me a root vegetable. And this kind of slaw is a real thrifty way to bulk out a meal. Super healthy too!

    Alicia: I do love when you can combine pedantry with salad. So much more delicious…

  3. Ricardo
    Ricardo says:

    Hi Miss South
    Loved your bit on the Radio 4 Food Programme. (My browser spell-checker is questioning programme! It accepts program.) As someone who likes to feel stuffed I prefer this type of salad over lettuce leaves. Maybe I was just brought up on iceberg lettuce – a plant just asking for a blight. I have a question – was the beetroot totally raw, the stuff with skin and dirt on it? Or was it that ready cooked version?
    Thanks. Good luck with the writing award.

  4. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Ricardo: the beetroot is totally raw. Just peeled and grated. It’s oddly less earthy and slightly sweeter that way than cooked. And yes, death to iceberg lettuce. Tastes like licking the back wall of the fridge. Ugh! And thanks for the good wishes. Will tell you all if I win!

  5. Miss South
    Miss South says:

    Kat: don’t worry. i’ve never managed to keep it longer than that but I think it would get a bit watery if much longer. I can eat mountains of this. Best way to get loads of veg into you!

  6. Becs @ Lay the table
    Becs @ Lay the table says:

    Congrats on the nomination, thoroughly deserved. Also I watched Jamie’s discount dinners yesterday and I was quite literally shouting “YES BUT DID YOU INCLUDE THE COST OF ELECTRICITY IN YOUR SLOW COOKED PORK RECIPE?”

    Also, your hipster slaw sounds amazing, love the idea of mixing some different veg in there 🙂

  7. Jo
    Jo says:

    I make a very similar salad – I call it pink salad, and it is grated beetroot, carrot and apple, with lemon juice, salt and olive oil as dressing. It gets pinker and sweeter the next day!

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