By 06/22/2021October 26th, 20222 Comments

As I brainstormed how to transform good ole coleslaw into a body part dish for our Dead Man’s party theme, the mere thought of it gave me a brain cramp.  Ultimately, it was mind over grey matter for this ghoulish side dish…Brainslaw began with my recipe for Apple Fennel Onion Slaw that I make every Thanksgiving. In it’s usual form, it’s a light, crisp, make ahead salad that has a delicious Maple Dijon dressing that’ll seriously blow your mind. So, in order to dress it up for Halloween, I put on my thinking cap…and it turned out to be a no brainer. 🧠Enjoy!


A Halloween salad that'll blow your mind and your taste buds. Made of roasted cabbage, onions, apples and fennel with a Maple Dijon Dressing.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Salad
Cuisine: Halloween Food
Keyword: apples, coleslaw, Halloween, onions, roasted cabbage
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6


  • ½ large purple cabbage
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 large apple, cored and sliced (I used Pink Ladies)
  • 1 small bulb of fennel, sliced
  • 1 ½ cup wine or apple juice

Maple Dijon Dressing

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • cup canola oil
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400°.

Maple Dijon Dressing

  • Combine shallots, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup. Add the oil slowly while whisking to emulsify the vinaigrette and set aside. Salt and pepper to taste.

BrainSlaw Prep

  • Cut red cabbage in half, trim root end. Remove a few of the leathery outside leaves to expose leaves that have more folds to mimic a brain. Use a slicer to cut two shallow lines down the middle of the cabbage to create the ridge between the two brain hemispheres. Angle the knife to cut out a "V" in the ridge and remove the cabbage from it. Generously coat the cut side of the cabbage with the dressing.
  • Add red onion, apples and fennel to the bottom of a Dutch oven and place the cabbage brain on top of them. Baste top of cabbage with dressing generously. Reserve remaining dressing for serving. Add 1½ cups of wine or apple juice to the pot. Cover with lid and roast at 400° for 35-40 minutes. Remove lid and bake, uncovered for 5-10 minutes longer.
    (Test for doneness with a knife as cooking times vary depending on the size of the cabbage.)
  • Let cool slightly and then transfer to a serving dish. To serve, cut into wedges and top with roasted onions, apples, fennel and additional dressing if desired.


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