Purple Power Slaw is a jewel of a salad – purple cabbage, red onion, and ruby beets all glistening with health and goodness. You can taste the life-giving energy in this beautiful slaw that dresses up any plate with fantastic colour. What a way to eat your veggies and load up on antioxidants at the same time! (Skip to recipe.)

a platter of purple power slaw adds colour and antioxidants to any meal

I’ve been swimming this fall – but there’s been no water involved. In fact, I’ve been dog paddling like a drowning person just to stay afloat, and I’ve been kind of enjoying it . . . I think.

I’ve been back to the life of a student for a semester (after a few . . . gulp . . . decades!) and to say it’s been an adjustment has been an overwhelming understatement. There’s no campus and no lecture theaters, no running from class to class with a backpack full of books as I chew a handful of trail mix for lunch on the way, and no stamping of feet to keep warm as I huddle in the bus shelter at midnight after a long evening in the library.

But there are heaps and heaps of housework piling up as I sit at the computer long hours every day, sometimes in my pajamas, and piles of papers and cookbooks and textbooks slowly stacking up in untidy mounds on the floor around my computer, and jars of ferments and sprouts and delicious snacks accumulating in fridge and kitchen, there are shouts of triumph every time I get another assignment submitted online, and many, many cuss words spoken as I wrestle with the almighty tech monster trying to merge files, make charts, and format footnotes. There are research papers being written, recipes being developed, notes being taken, and huge projects being completed each week.

I am utterly exhausted and strangely elated at the same time. And I can’t believe the semester has gone by and there are only a couple weeks left!

I enrolled in the Culinary Nutrition Expert program at the online Academy of Culinary Nutrition this summer, after eyeing the course for the last three years, and it has been life-changing. The amount of new knowledge I’ve been gaining about nutrition and food has opened up a whole new world to me. The workload has been very heavy – much heavier than I expected, but the rewards have been huge! Yes, learning at home means you can hang around in old sweats or pjs, blare music while attending class, and grab a coffee whenever you feel like it, but it also means you’ve got to get your own butt motivated and keep yourself on task. The course involves video lectures every week, online chat sessions, a weekly group of recipe assignments (that must be cooked, photographed and summarized) and a weekly written assignment or project – some of which have been HUGE and hair-tearing-out! Plus there’s a load of required reading and documentaries to watch and do written critiques on.

But – I am still smiling and breathing. This is good. A whole new world of culinary nutrition has opened up and I am learning SO much! This old dog is doing all kinds of new tricks.

Since I’ve been learning so much about vitamins and nutrition, antioxidants, phytonutrients, digestives systems, microbiomes, disease, healing, prebiotics, whole foods, and the power of a plant-rich diet, I thought I’d share this beautiful Purple Power Slaw with you. If you’re aiming for more colour on your plate (that’s where the power comes in), then this salad is a beauty. It’s an edible jewel-toned burst of goodness.

purple power slaw with red cabbage, beets, and red onion


Colour = antioxidants.  We want antioxidants because they help fight free radical damage (the damage done to cells in our body, making them go all wonky, from toxins in our environment).

The purple/red cabbage is high in vitamins C, K, and A, and it’s loaded with anthocyanins (a group of antioxidants responsible for its bright purple colour) which can help reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of some cancers. The vitamin C in there also acts as an antioxidant in our bodies, which can help strengthen our immune systems and keep our skin nice and elastic, too.

red cabbage is the main ingredient in purple power slaw and it's crunchy and delicious. look at nature's handiwork

Beets are superstars in the antioxidant compartment (just look at that colour!). The doctor once told my grandma to eat beets every day (Dr. Oz recommends that, too) and she followed his advice, beating a whole lot of odds with her health to live a long life after incredible hardships and health crises during wartime Germany (okay, beets weren’t totally responsible for all that, but they played a teeny, tiny part). These ruby roots are packed with so many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, anti-imflammatory agents, fiber, and nutrients that it’s hard to list them all. Just eat them. They’re awesome.

shredded beets are a delicious part of the purple power slaw

And there’s more! Onions are a great prebiotic; they feed the probiotics (the good bacteria) in your gut. Raisins pack a lot of antioxidant power. Sunflower seeds are super-high in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin crucial for our immune system. Caraway seeds aid digestion. Raw apple cider vinegar can help reduce triglycerides (fat) and cholesterol in the blood, and help with insulin resistance by lowering blood sugars. Avocado oil is rich in  hearty-healthy oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat.

all the veggies for the purple power slaw

Phew! That’s a lot.

Just as important as all that – Purple Power Slaw tastes deeelicious!

a serving of purple power salad provides tons of antioxidants and vital nutrients

And I promise I won’t always go on such a rant about the nutrition in food (well, maybe just teeny little rants) but I just couldn’t help myself this time. My mind is absolutely spinning with it all at the moment.

The power of food (good, healthy, whole, natural) to nourish, energize, and heal our bodies is mind-blowing.


serve purple power slaw as a side to all sorts of main dishes

Purple Power Slaw

  • ¼ of a large head of red cabbage (1lb 2oz/500gms, or 5 cups shredded, lightly packed)
  • ¼ of a medium red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 large (35ogms total) raw beets, shredded (about 2 cups lightly packed)
  • ¼ cup (40gms) raisins
  • ¼ cup (40gms) raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup (60ml) avocado oil
  • ¼ cup (60ml) raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

Cut the core out of the cabbage quarter and finely shred it crosswise with a knife (you should have about 5 cups shredded cabbage). Slice the onion as thinly as you can. Trim the ends off the beets, peel them with a vegetable peeler, and shred them on the large holes of a box grater (you should have about 2 cups shredded beets).

Combine the cabbage, onion, and beets in a large bowl. Add the raisins, sunflower seeds, and caraway seeds.

Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and pour over the oil and vinegar. Toss everything very well, until the salt is dissolved and all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Taste and add more apple cider vinegar, salt, or pepper, if you feel the slaw needs it.

Garnish with a few baby beet leaves and extra sunflower seeds if you wish.

*This salad tastes great the next day. Keep it covered in the refrigerator. I find I sometimes have to add another drizzle of apple cider vinegar to perk it up if I serve it the next day, as much of the vinegar absorbs into the cabbage and seems to disappear as the slaw sits.

Serves 6 to 8 (makes about 6 cups Purple Power Slaw).

Guten Appetit!


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Full of healthy antioxidants, Purple Power Slaw is a jewel of a salad that also tastes fantastic!

Full of healthy antioxidants, crunchy and flavorful! Easy to make.

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