Apple Pear Slaw

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published March 24, 2024

Take the traditional slaw and add apples and pears.

This recipe skillfully combines the tangy zest of apple cider vinegar with the natural sweetness of maple syrup, resulting in a dressing that perfectly complements the crisp textures and natural sweetness of Granny Smith apples and pears. The slaw is further enhanced by a colorful blend of purple, green, and Napa cabbages, adding not only a spectrum of colors but also a variety of nutritional benefits. The inclusion of thinly shredded carrot contributes to the visual appeal and nutritional content, while the sprinkle of poppy seeds adds a subtle crunch and unique flavor. 

This dish is not only a feast for the eyes but also a powerhouse of nutrients, suitable for anyone looking to add a fresh, wholesome side to their meal, especially for those managing dietary conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or cholesterol.

Color Your Diet Healthy: The Vibrant Virtues of Purple Cabbage

Purple cabbage, also known as red cabbage, stands out in the vegetable world for its vibrant color and impressive nutritional profile. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it provides a host of health benefits. 

One of the most notable nutrients in purple cabbage is vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body against damage from free radicals, supports the immune system, and aids in the absorption of iron. Purple cabbage is also a great source of vitamin K, essential for bone health and blood clotting. 

Cabbage is rich in fiber, which promotes digestive health and can aid in weight management by providing a sense of fullness. The anthocyanins that give purple cabbage its distinctive color are not just for show; these compounds have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, improved brain function, and lower blood pressure.

For individuals living with diabetes, managing blood glucose levels is crucial. Foods are often assessed by their glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) to understand their impact on blood glucose levels. The glycemic index measures how much a food increases blood glucose levels after eating, while the glycemic load takes into account the portion size, providing a more accurate reflection of a food's real-life impact on blood sugar. 

Purple cabbage is considered a low-GI food, meaning it has a minimal effect on blood glucose levels when consumed. This makes it an excellent addition to the diet of someone managing diabetes, as it can help maintain stable blood glucose levels. 

The high fiber content in purple cabbage can also aid in blood sugar control, slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Therefore, incorporating purple cabbage into meals can be a nutritious and safe choice for individuals looking to manage or prevent diabetes.

Crunch into Health: The Green Glory of Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith apples are not only a crisp, tart fruit but also a powerhouse of nutritional benefits, making them an excellent addition to a balanced diet:

  • Fiber: Granny Smith apples are high in dietary fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health and helps maintain a feeling of fullness, aiding in weight management.

  • Vitamins and Minerals: These apples are a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the immune system and skin health, and potassium, which is essential for heart function and muscle contraction.

  • Low in Calories: Granny Smith apples are low in calories yet high in water content, making them a hydrating and satisfying snack.

For individuals managing diabetes, the choice of fruit and its impact on blood glucose levels is a crucial consideration. Granny Smith apples have several characteristics that make them suitable for a diabetes-friendly diet:

  • Low Glycemic Index (GI): They have a lower GI compared to other apple varieties, meaning they have a less significant impact on blood glucose levels.

  • Glycemic Load (GL): The GL of Granny Smith apples is also low, which takes into account the carbohydrate content per serving of the fruit, indicating that they do not lead to significant spikes in blood glucose when consumed in moderation.

Because of their fiber content and lower sugar levels, Granny Smith apples can be a beneficial part of the diet for those living with diabetes. The fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, contributing to more stable blood glucose levels.

Pear-fect Harmony: The Sweet Benefits of Pears for Your Health

Pears stand out as a sweet and nourishing fruit that can play a beneficial role in any balanced diet. They are particularly noted for their impressive dietary fiber content, which promotes digestive health and aids in preventing constipation. The high fiber also contributes to a sense of satiety, assisting in weight management by reducing the urge to overeat. 

Pears are packed with vital nutrients; they are a good source of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and serves as an antioxidant, and vitamin K, crucial for blood clotting and maintaining bone health. Despite their sweetness, pears are low in calories, offering a healthful and satisfying snack option.

For people living with diabetes, managing blood glucose levels is a constant consideration, and the choice of fruits is a critical part of dietary planning. Pears are particularly beneficial because they have a low GI, meaning they raise blood glucose levels more slowly compared to other fruits. This is beneficial for maintaining stable blood glucose levels.

While the glycemic load takes into account the carbohydrate content in the fruit, pears have a moderate GL, making them a safer option for people with diabetes when consumed in controlled portions.

The fiber in pears can help slow the absorption of glucose, assisting in preventing spikes in blood glucose levels. However, individual responses to different foods can vary, so monitoring blood glucose levels after eating pears is advisable.

Apple Pear Slaw

Beverly Verwey
Servings 2 people
Calories 452 kcal


  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 large pears thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 cups purple/red cabbage thinly shredded
  • 1 cup green cabbage thinly shredded
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage thinly shredded
  • 1 medium carrot peeled and thinly shredded
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds


  • To make the dressing: in a small bowl or jar with lid place the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and black pepper. Set aside.
  • Using a food processor, box grater or a sharp knife shred the cabbages.
  • In a large bowl combine the cabbages, apple, pear and carrot. Mix thoroughly.
  • Mix together or shake the closed jar of dressing and pour over the salad.
  • Sprinkle with poppy seeds.


Calories: 452kcalCarbohydrates: 88gProtein: 5.4gFat: 2.3g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.