Roasted Sesame Winter Slaw

So we’re in the thick of it. Holiday parties, work celebrations, family gatherings and whole lotta food! Everywhere. You can’t swing your party dress without hitting a tray of canapés. In between social events I can hear you complaining about your extraordinary eggnog intake and uncontrollable cookie consumption, sprawled out on the sofa like an overfed cat. So how about something a little lighter, no? I felt it was time to bring a little sanity – however, delicious sanity – to the table today.  

Roasted Sesame Winter Slaw does seasonal and healthy all at the same time. By using a variety of cabbages, kale, and carrots, you can take advantage of locally grown foods, as most of you will be in the zone for all of these veggies.
This slaw is pretty different from your mayo-drenched picnic classics. Instead, a creamy (yet protein and calcium rich) tahini sauce dresses things up. And with a hint of orange, the kids will totally fall in love with this salad too.
The other boss element of this salad is of course, the roasted sesame. Always warming, nutty and familiar, sesame somehow turns any ho-hum dish into “oh, what did you do to this?” Such a cheap trick, but it works every time.

Savage Cabbage 
Now that I live in a country that somewhat follows seasonal food patterns, I realize how little cabbage we eat in North America – it quickly gets pushed to the back of the produce heap, ‘cause let’s face it: cabbage is not sexy. Cabbage is what your grandmother eats because she doesn’t know any better, right? Wrong! Your grandmother eats cabbage because she does know better. Let’s look at the reasons cabbage is savage, because it’s fun.

#1 – bang for your buck. Cabbage is crazy cheap for the amount of food you get. You’ll see when you make this salad for instance, that 2 cups of shredded cabbage is hardly a dent off the head. This means you get to eat cabbage for a week (or perhaps share some with your grandma).
#2 – cabbage helps to prevent cancer. This cruciferous veggie contains a whole host of nutrients to battle tumors. More than 475 studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food – antioxidant richness, anti-inflammatory richness, and richness in glucosinolates. [1]
#3 – cabbage battles colds and flu’s. Because cabbage stimulates the immune system, has the ability to kill bacteria and viruses, and has a high vitamin C content, this is one vegetable that should be a guest at your table more often this winter! [2]

Roasted Sesame Winter Slaw
Makes a lot
2 cups each shredded Savoy cabbage, purple cabbage, kale
2 cups shredded carrots
2 scallions
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup chopped mint (optional)
½ cup sesame seeds

Tahini Cream Dressing with Orange
Makes 1 cup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. liquid honey (or agave, maple syrup)
1/3 cup tahini
½ cup water
a couple pinches of salt (depending on whether or not your tahini is already salted – season to taste)
zest of 1 organic orange (optional)

1. Wash and shred the cabbage and kale as finely as possible (you can use a food processor attachment for this if you like). Place in a large bowl.
2. Shred the carrots either with a food processor or on a box grater. Add to the cabbage.
3. Finely slice the scallions into rings. Wash and chop the parsley.  Add to the bowl.
4. Whisk dressing ingredients together. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
5. Roast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop. Remove from heat immediately.  Pour over salad ingredients.
6. Toss everything in the bowl together and serve. Pour dressing on only after the salad has been plated – this way you get some bites with lots of dressing and some without for the best balance. Garnish with extra parsley and sesame seeds.
Salad (without dressing) will keep in the fridge for at least 2 days. 

I’ve received a few emails from readers asking for my best advice, or tips on maintaining a healthy weight over during the holiday season. If you are someone who finds themselves experiencing mind-altering diet obsessiveness these days, all I can say is this: relax. Try to let go of the calorie counting, or the number latkes you gobbled. Enjoy this time of year and the company you surround yourself. Be in the moment. Taste every bite. Don’t lose the joy of eating and the beauty of food, because now is the time to really soak it all in, with all the people you love.

I hope everyone is enjoying a very happy and healthy holiday season so far. Best wishes to all! And many thanks for the amazing recipes you’ve sent in too. I am going to have one delicious weekend 🙂

Love always, Sarah B

Sources: [1]
[2] Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003. 
Copyright 2012 My New Roots at


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  4. Clare

    Delicious! Prepared this for a wintery lunch and it was a favourite with everyone. Thanks for your beautiful recipes. Love them!

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  7. Mary Ann

    Just made this to bring to the family’s Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I prepped all the vegs tonight and made the dressing. All I have to do tomorrow is toast the sesame seeds, toss the dressing and mint and shredded vegs. What a crunchy, healthy addition to the heavier traditional dinner. Thanks again for this recipe.

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  9. JDB

    Thank you very much for this recipe! I am not a fan of cabbage, but my husband is – so I always struggle to make something that will appeal to my tastebuds when he hauls in a huge head of cabbage with a big smile on his face. The dressing is so yummy that I forget I am eating cabbage! I didn’t add the orange zest because I didn’t have any on hand, but I did add a good dose of cracked black pepper. A great meal for an end-of-the-week cleansing! Keep up the great work!

  10. Ruby Claire

    I made this last night and it was absolutely amazing! The flavors are a handshake for the taste buds. Fresh, light & fragrant. I love the orange zest in the tahini dressing along with the mint. The sesame seeds add a nice nutty afterthought. Did I mention the pinwheel of beautiful colors? This is the first time I can remember having savoy cabbage! Awesome. I will be making this again for friends to wow them! I really broke in my mandoline slicer for this recipe. Bravo and I’m proud to be officially devoted to you and all the great work you put forth!

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  12. TheUrbanMum

    I love coleslaw and I am going to try this yum dressing…

    You are correct, so much more used to be down with cabbage. My Grandma always served some with little nutmeg with most meals.

    Great post thanks.x

  13. Kelli


    I had to add to your list of reasons, why you should keep cabbage around. When your not eating it, cabbage is a great anti-inflammatory. Just take out a couple of pieces and wrap it around whatever part of you is inflamed. In my instance (I wince as I type) it was mastitis. When the doctors had prescribed everything that didn’t work, cabbage was the only thing that did.

  14. bigBANG studio

    This sounds like what I’ve been hankering for since the holidays- PERFECT. Thanks as always for such beautifully written, thoughtful, detail-oriented posts. This place is such a treasure-trove of good eating.

  15. Krista

    I can’t agree more. I am living in the UK for the year, originally from Canada and order from a company called Abel and Cole. Almost every other week I get a cabbage and have trouble getting through half of it. This week it was Savoy, so I will definitely be trying this.

  16. Anonymous

    Sarah, thank you so much for this fabulous salad! I made it for dinner last night and we loved it. Your blog was my favorite discovery of 2011. You have a magical gift to make healthful and vibrant food… thank you for sharing it with us!

  17. Anonymous

    Oh my! This would also be good with rice noddles, avocado, nuts, bean sprouts, cilantro, tamari and some veggie rolls!

  18. Stephanie

    This looks fabulous Sarah! I love tahini dressings, but haven’t tried them out with cabbage yet. The combination of tahini and orange sounds great…and mint! mmm. Can’t wait to make this one.

  19. sara

    I WILL make this! Love tahini dressing so much and it always slips my mind. I’ve been doing my best resisting the holiday gluttony and its only possible with stuff like this around!

  20. Food Babe

    Slaw is one of my favorite foods on the planet! Have you been to One Lucky Duck in NYC? They make a similar salad but with an asian dressing…I immediately go there to get it STRAIGHT off the plane. Thank you for this awesome light dish!!!! Cannot. Wait. To. Make. It!

  21. chickster

    I’ve become a big fan of cabbage since moving to France. Unfortunately, France isn’t a fan of kale or hasn’t discovered it yet, because I haven’t been able to find it anywhere! And I keep hearing mixed messages about eating cabbage raw or cooked and which is best for you.

  22. janet @ the taste space

    Sarah, I can’t wait to try your orange-tahini dressing. I recently made a beet salad with a vinaigrette including toasted sesame oil and orange juice but this one sounds more decadent with the tahini, yet keeping the same flavours. Anyways, I am a huge fan of cabbage – also, too, because they do keep in my fridge so well! 🙂

  23. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul

    Your photos make me drool Sarah! I love that you used orange juice in your tahini sauce. I’m in love with tahini. I’ve been making a tahini miso sauce lately, but haven’t thought to use orange. Thanks for the tip!
    You’re right, we don’t eat enough cabbage here in North America. But people do seem to be crazy about Brussels sprouts.

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