Photos and words by Aaron Vinten

Ed. Note—It's Thanksgiving tomorrow, and chef Aaron Vinten of the Athletes Table is here with a curveball. He responded to our challenge for something "not orange, no sage, and no bacon." He responded with something delightful and fresh—just the thing you'll reach for when your palate is starting to get a little, um, heavy tomorrow.

Coleslaw might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning your Thanksgiving meal, but the truth is, you might want to rethink it. For the athlete, a fresh and creative coleslaw is a nutritional powerhouse of usually just vegetables, but today’s recipe is a powerhouse of both fruits AND vegetables! Now this something to be thankful for! Of course you’ve got to get all the other classic sides on the Thanksgiving table, too. I mean, what would Thanksgiving be without those carby mashed potatoes, sweet potato puree, macaroni & cheese, brioche herbed dressing, squash casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, maple roasted carrots, etc. etc. etc. It’s all So GOOD, but at the same time a little mind numbing how many carbs and calories you can take in on thanksgiving. Yikes! So let’s contribute a side dish to counterbalance all those heavy carb-loaded sides. Something fresh, crunchy, slightly sweet and maybe a little unexpected, but still a Thanksgiving day qualifier…ROAST APPLE COLESLAW!

This coleslaw recipe is a delicious combination of oven-roasted apples, green cabbage, baby arugula, dried cranberries, roasted pecans, and green onion drizzled with a bright & creamy blue cheese coleslaw dressing. SO PERFECT not only for the Thanksgiving day table, but also the perfect addition to all those leftover turkey sandwiches you’re going to be eating for the next 2 weeks.   Put a little cranberry sauce the bottom, some turkey in the middle, a bit of salty gravy on top and then the roasted apple slaw right top and boom! The best leftover turkey sandwich you’ve ever had. 

STEP 1: PRINT THE RECIPE 

Print this EASY recipe card and follow along with all the pictures! 

STEP 2: GATHER THE INGREDIENTS

Gather all the ingredients and tools out in front of you before you begin. In addition to the ingredients listed above, gather together a sharp chef's knife, cutting board, mixing bowls, mixing spoons, baking tray, measuring cups and measuring spoons. Also, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. 

STEP 3:  MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE

Begin by making the blue cheese vinaigrette (preferably making it the night before). Add all the measured ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or until all the vinaigrette has a smooth consistency. 

Taste test for additional seasoning. Adjust salt and black pepper as desired and set aside in the fridge. A traditional coleslaw dressing is made primarily of mayonnaise. Add a 1/2 cup of mayo to this recipe to maintain a bit more of that classic flavor profile.

STEP 4: ROAST THE APPLES

Next, roast the apples.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Wash and clean the apples keeping the skin on. Slice the apples in half and remove the core. Cut each apple half and into quarters. Cut each apple again so that you are getting a total of 16 pieces out of each apple.

Add the sliced apples to a mixing bowl.  Season with a bit of melted butter or coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Add a bit of honey if you want to sweeten up the apples. Mix to combine. Spread the apples out on a roasting tray and bake for ten minutes until the apples have been softened, but have still retain a bit of their shape and texture.  

Remove the apples from the oven and off of the baking tray.  Place the apples into the fridge to cool until cold.  You can also do this step the day before (and remember, Thanksgiving Dinner is a week-long preparatory battle, dig?). 

STEP 5: COMBINE THE COLWSLAW

With the apples and vinaigrette completed, grab a large bowl and add in cabbage, arugula, nuts, cranberries, green onion and blue cheese. Add the roasted apples and mix to combine the ingredients.  Add in your desired amount of blue cheese vinaigrette. Mix to combine and serve! 

STEP 6: EAT!