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This delicious Cabbage Salad is a powerhouse of veggies with a touch of {optional} bacon. A hearty make-ahead salad that is packed with so much flavor, it might just become your new favorite side dish.

a white and blue bowl full of kale chopped salad
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If salads typically make you cringe, this chopped cabbage and kale salad might just change your mind!

It’s packed with flavor and has a delicious texture similar to coleslaw. Even better, we’re putting some bacon, AKA the candy bar of meats, in it!

Looking for more make-ahead salad ideas? Check out our Tortellini Pasta SaladArtichoke SaladHealthy Green Pea Salad, and Instant Pot Potato Salad.

Cabbage Salad Ingredients

kale, cabbage, carrots, and other ingredients for making chopped salad

This recipe has:

  • Cabbage – both green and red (though we all know it’s purple…)
  • Kale – or sub in your favorite hearty greens
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Seeds – I like pumpkin and sunflower
  • Bacon but this is entirely optional
  • Dressing of your choice

If you have leftover cabbage to use up, try making Air Fryer Egg Rolls, Fried Cabbage and Bacon, or Air Fryer Cabbage.

How to Make Cabbage Salad

*I’ll walk you through it here with some photos and tips, and you’ll also find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post with exact measurements, etc. You can click “jump to recipe” to skip down.

If you’re adding the bacon to this recipe, start by baking it in the oven or cooking a few slices in a skillet on the stovetop or Air Fryer Bacon. This post on how to cook bacon in the oven has more details on the oven method.

If you have a food processor with a shredding disc, it will make very quick work of chopping all these veggies. Just make sure you use the “pulse” or “chop” function to keep the veggies from getting pureed.

Without a food processor, you can still easily make this salad by using a chef’s knife and a cutting board.

Set up a large mixing bowl so that you can add the various veggies to it as you slice, chop, and prep each ingredient.

6 process photos showing vegetables being chopped in a food processor)

Add the seeds and bacon to the veggies and toss everything together. I recommend you don’t add the dressing to the entire batch unless you plan to serve it at a large gathering.

This salad will keep for days in the fridge, and all the veggies will stay crisp if you add the dressing to each portion prior to serving.

2 photos showing kale chopped salad with bacon in a bowl

How to Store

This recipe will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. It is better to store it without the dressing. Instead, dress each individual portion just before serving.

Cabbage Salad Variations

You can further dress this salad up by adding roasted veggies Crispy Butternut Squash or Air Fryer Roasted Beets, chunks of roasted garlic (related: Air Fryer Roasted Garlic and Instant Pot Roasted Garlic), chopped nuts or seeds, dried fruit, or even cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type of Cabbage is Best For Salad?

Any cabbage you have on hand will work for this salad.

I love a mix of green and red/purple cabbage for the colors, but green savoy or Napa cabbage would also be delicious. Just a note, Napa cabbage is often 2-3x the price of green cabbage.

If you can’t find any cabbage, sliced baby bok choy would be a delicious substitution.

Which Kale is Best for Salads?

Lacinato kale is my go-to here (it might also be referred to as “dinosaur kale” or “Tuscan kale”). It has a flat leaf and a pleasant flavor.

In my humble opinion, curly or red Russian kale makes me feel like I’m a cow chewing its cud. Moo.

What is the Difference Between Coleslaw and Cabbage Salad?

This cabbage salad uses a light dressing, whereas coleslaw is made with a mayo or Greek yogurt-based dressing. The dressing is very saucy and coats all of the cabbage and carrots.

Coleslaw dressing usually also contains white or rice vinegar.

How Can I Make This Vegetarian?

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, using tempeh bacon will give your salad an amazing flavor! This post can teach you how to make tempeh bacon for an awesome flavor boost.

You can also add white beans or even Instant Pot Chickpeas.

What to Serve with Cabbage Salad

Air Fryer Tofu or Halloumi cheese would be amazing in this kale chop salad. Halloumi can be grilled or fried for an awesome crispy texture. See this post on how to cook halloumi for more details. Also a slice (or two) of Air Fryer Texas Toast would be delicious.

For the dressing, I prefer poppyseed dressing or Lemon Dijon Dressing, but Yogurt Ranch Dressing would work too! Other great options: Lemon Tahini Salad Dressing, Avocado Ranch, or Homemade Green Goddess.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes:

  • Save leftover kale in the freezer! Check out our tutorial on How to Freeze Kale.
  • This salad makes A TON, so I recommend you add your favorite dressing to each portion when you serve it. This will keep the salad from wilting and getting soggy in the fridge.
  • Don’t love kale? You can add your favorite green instead! I recommend adding them to each individual serving as most greens won’t hold up in a chopped salad stored over a few days.


One serving has 1 WW Freestyle SmartPoints.

an large bowl of colorful chopped vegetables.
5 from 13 ratings

Cabbage Salad

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
a white and blue bowl full of kale chopped salad
This delicious cabbage salad is a powerhouse of veggies with a touch of {optional} bacon. A hearty make-ahead salad that is packed with so much flavor, it might just become your new favorite side dish.


  • 5 cups kale {cut into thin ribbons}
  • 4 cups green cabbage {chopped}
  • 4 cups purple cabbage {chopped}
  • 2 cups carrots {chopped}{about 3 medium carrots}
  • 1 cup celery {chopped}{about 2 stalks celery}
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup bacon {cooked, cooled, and minced}
  • Dressing of your choice


  • Wash and dry all produce.
  • Lay your kale on a cutting board, and remove the ribs by slicing along the middle of each side. Thinly chop and place in a large mixing bowl.
    5 cups kale
  • Finely chop the cabbage or pulse in a food processor. Add to the mixing bowl.
    4 cups green cabbage, 4 cups purple cabbage
  • Peel and chop the carrots or pulse in a food processor. Add to the mixing bowl.
    2 cups carrots
  • Chop the celery and add it to the bowl.
    1 cup celery
  • Add sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chopped bacon.
    1/3 cup sunflower seeds, 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds, 1 cup bacon
  • Mix all ingredients with tongs and top each serving with your dressing of choice.
    Dressing of your choice


Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 153kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 6gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 175mgPotassium: 416mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 6752IUVitamin C: 60mgCalcium: 79mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. This is now a way I can get kids to eat the cabbage we get in our CSA shares that I never can used up! My youngest said, “Mom, this is a ‘Make-Again’ one!” That is high praise in this house!! I did use bacon crumbles from Costco and heated them up a bit along with the seeds, and had them on the side for people to add as they wanted. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the love. 🙂 Thank you!5 stars

  2. Yum, doesn’t this salad just look amazing (minus the kale which I do not eat)!!  Looks like the perfect easy side dish summer BBQs.  The addition of the sunflower seeds and bacon sounds particularly delish.  Gonna have to make this immediately!

  3. We don’t eat pork but I bet some turkey or beef bacon cooked nice and crispy would work great. It makes so much I’ll have to see if my neighbor wants some. 5 stars

    1. Honestly, I leave out the bacon about half the time and still love the salad. And yes, it makes A LOT!

  4. Sarah! This salad is delicious. I expected it to be a nice, healthy salad, but I couldn’t get enough. I left out the bacon and didn’t have any pumpkin seeds, and still, it was wonderful. Thank you for providing me with another great way to use my abundance of kale.5 stars

    1. Paula, I’m so glad you liked it! I find it’s almost a cross between a salad and coleslaw and for whatever reason that makes me happier when eating it. 🙂

  5. This recipe made a ton of delicious salad!  I had it without bacon but with tofu and avocado.  And then the bacon on the side.  Thanks!5 stars