Winter Root Vegetable Slaw


It looks like cole slaw, but this shredded salad of root veggies -- carrots, radishes, parsnips and celery root -- is an excellent accompaniment to heavier winter foods.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Who says you can only make slaw with cabbage? Check out this winter slaw from Hank made with root vegetables. ~Elise

Winter is root vegetable time, and while I love roasted roots more than most people, sometimes you just want to lighten things up a bit.

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So I decided to riff off standard cole slaw, only using nothing but shredded root vegetables, dressed with a parsley vinaigrette.

The combination works great, and this recipe has definitely earned a place in my lineup.

Winter Root Vegetable Slaw

The trick to this salad is to use a coarse grater or a vegetable peeler to make it. I like using the peeler because you can get prettier shavings and you can deal with long, skinny roots like parsnips or carrots better with the peeler. Fatter roots, like celery root, are better shredded with a grater. Either works.

As for the vinaigrette, parsley goes well with all of these roots, but you can use other herbs, too. Mint is a good choice, as would rosemary or sage. You might even try cilantro for a Latin or Portuguese touch.

Winter Root Vegetable Slaw Recipe

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish

The choice of root vegetables here works well, but you are free to mix and match. Just be sure to not have too many sweet vegetables like carrots and parsnips, or too many sharp ones, like radishes or turnips.


  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots (choose different colored carrots if you can find them)
  • 2 medium parsnips
  • 1 small celery root
  • 2 black radishes or 1/2 daikon radish


1 Make the vinaigrette: Put the mustard, salt, sugar, vinegar and parsley in a blender and process until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the blender, cover and process at its slowest setting.

Drizzle in the olive oil slowly. When it is all in, move the blender to its highest setting and puree for about 90 seconds.

2 Shred the root vegetables: Peel all the vegetables except for the radishes, if you are using black ones. The slivers of black in the salad look cool, so I leave them in.

Using a vegetable peeler or a coarse grater, slice shreds off the vegetables into a bowl. Try to keep the shreds roughly the same length if you can.

3 Toss shredded vegetables with vinaigrette: To finish, toss some of the vinaigrette with the shredded vegetables and let stand in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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Hank Shaw

A former restaurant cook and journalist, Hank Shaw is the author of three wild game cookbooks as well as the James Beard Award-winning wild foods website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. His latest cookbook is Buck, Buck, Moose, a guide to working with venison. He hunts, fishes, forages and cooks near Sacramento, CA.

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5 Comments / Reviews

No ImageWinter Root Vegetable Slaw

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Tatiana

    I usually make the slaw with beets instead of parsnips (don’t like them much), but tried your idea of adding black radishes and it came out really tasty. In pretty pink :)

  2. sarah

    I think this is a great idea and I imagine it will work just fine. I tried making sweet potato coleslaw recently and it was fantastic! Who knew that veggies such as sweet potato and parsnip could be eaten raw? Genius.

  3. Richard Bishop

    This is a great dish and what a brilliant way to utilize the seasons produce. Great work and thanks so much for sharing with us!

  4. Amy B

    Looks beautiful and will try it. I noticed that you do not “acidulate” either the celery root or the parsnips – usually I soak them in water & lemon juice to keep them from discoloring – which would be important to me in a salad. Also, 2/3 cup of oil for a dressing? Seems like a lot of dressing for not so much salad.

    Both good points. I don’t acidulate the celery root or parsnips because I make the dressing ahead and pour it on the slaw quickly — a coating of dressing keeps the veggies from browning. As for the dressing, the recipes makes enough for even serious dressing lovers to coat the salad. I often use a lot less, as it seems you do, too, but I’ve been dinged for skimping on dressing before, so there you go! ~Hank

  5. chefpaulo

    Elise: I love the idea but, from the photo, it looks like a pretty chewy, rough cut salad that may need some tenderizing, especially the parsnips. I love parsnips but find them to be the least digestible of all root veggies. Might a parboiling of all for 30 seconds and quick refreshment make an al dente salad that keeps the fresh texture and absorbs the vinaigrette better?

    No need to parboil. Everything is cut paper thin. But if you want to blanch the veggies, I am sure it’d be fine. ~Hank

Winter Root Vegetable SlawWinter Root Vegetable Slaw