This flavorful Kale Slaw with Harissa Dressing is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and made with 10 healthy ingredients. Crunchy cabbage, soft and sweet dried apricots, and spicy harissa make one seriously delicious team! This slaw takes just 20 minutes to prepare and tastes even better after it sits, making it great for parties and meal prep.
Harissa - dried seasoning blend vs. paste
Have you cooked with harissa yet? It's a popular condiment and seasoning in Tunisian cuisine (usually in paste form) made from peppers and a few herbs and spices. It has a unique smoky and spicy kick that's great on everything from marinated tofu to roasted veggies. Harissa has become more popular in the States in the past few years but is probably still new to most people. For today's kale slaw recipe, we're using a dried harissa blend instead of paste, but if store-bought harissa paste is what you have on hand you can use that, too. And if you can't find either form of harissa in your favorite store, there are many recipes online to help you make this seasoning blend from scratch.
Harissa paste contains oil, so if you follow an oil-free diet you'll want to look for the dried blend or make it yourself from dried chiles and spices. I like Frontier's harissa (pictured below), which I found at the grocery store, but you can also buy it on Amazon for less than $4.
Ingredients in Harissa Dressing
Harissa's unique flavors pair perfectly with fresh lemon and garlic, earthy tahini, and a hint of sweetness from maple syrup. These are pretty standard ingredients for a lot of vegan salad dressings, and for good reason. They're delicious together! (I also use them in my Carrot Raisin Salad which gets a little kick from sriracha.) So when I first mixed these ingredients with a hefty amount of dried harissa and gave it a taste, I really wasn't surprised how well it worked! I immediately made a second batch of dressing, which was easy since it only takes about two minutes to stir everything together in a bowl. One taste, and I started daydreaming about dipping baked potato wedges in it, slathering it on tofu and tempeh, and drizzling it on grain bowls. Trust me, if you like a little spiciness, you're going to LOVE this harissa dressing. I'm hooked.
Ways to customize this Kale Slaw
Part of the beauty of this slaw is in its variety of colors, but don't feel like you HAVE to use each and every veggie listed. For example, let's say you're in the mood for this tasty, crunchy, harissa slaw but you go to the store and the dino kale looks sad, or maybe they don't have any at all. Feel free to substitute curly kale or go with all cabbage. Or let's say you have a carrot allergy (yep, I have a friend who does), you can simply skip the carrots or replace them with colorful, thinly sliced orange, yellow or red peppers. Jicama would also be a great addition.
The flavor of dried apricots is particularly delicious with harissa, but you could also try golden raisins or omit the fruit altogether if you're not in the mood for that extra bit of sweetness.
Pumpkin seeds add color, crunch, and nutrition but can be omitted or switched out for other nuts or seeds. Other options: pistachios, cashews, or hemp, sesame, or sunflower seeds.
You can make Kale Slaw With Harissa Dressing in advance
One of the great things about slaw, as opposed to salads, is that you can dress them in advance and not worry about your greens getting soggy or wilted. In fact, this slaw tastes best after it's had at least an hour or two to hang out in the fridge. I like making slaw on Sunday afternoon, enjoying some with dinner, and then having plenty leftover to enjoy for lunch on Monday and Tuesday. And since it's quick to prepare, travels in one bowl, and doesn't call for ingredients that require refrigeration (like traditional mayo) this kale slaw recipe is perfect for parties and outdoor cookouts!
I hope you try this healthy Kale Slaw With Harissa Dressing and find yourself hooked just like I am! With so much flavor and nutrition in one beautiful package, you can't go wrong. Enjoy!
Kale Slaw With Harissa Dressing
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp dried harissa seasoning blend
- 2 to 3 Tbsp water, for consistency
- 1 ¼ tsp fine sea salt
For the slaw:
- 1 small bunch lacinato kale, cut into ribbons
- 6 cups shredded green and/or red cabbage (I used ½ small head red cabbage and ½ small head green cabbage)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
- 15 dried apricots, unsulphured, chopped
- ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds, optional
- Combine the tahini, maple, and lemon juice in a bowl, and whisk with a fork until smooth. Add the garlic, harissa, 1 Tbsp water, and salt, and whisk again. For a thinner consistency add another tablespoon of water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the kale, cabbage, carrot, and apricots. Pour the dressing over the slaw mixture and stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Before serving, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and toss.