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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.

WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS

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.

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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

Notes

Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

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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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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31 Comments

  1. This is by far one of our favorite ways to eat veggies. With the heat and humidity on MI this summer, I think this will need to be a staple. I’ll cook up some chicken, hard boiled eggs, and get some deli meat to round it it.
    Looks like I’ve loved this salad for about 6 years now!!!5 stars

  2. Just recommended this for the millionth time. And now I want to make it.
    I love this salad so much!5 stars

  3. We LOVE this salad. It’s especially amazing with a hard boiled egg or two for work lunches. So yummy! Thank you!5 stars

  4. A kitchen hack for removing the central rib in chard, kale, spinach etc… instead of slicing twice for both sides of the rib, I fold the leaf in half and then just slice once down the side of the rib! I know, it only takes a second or two off the time, but when you are doing a TON of leaves for any sort of dish, it just makes the job a little quicker!

  5. Do you eat this salad with a spoon? 🙂 I think I’ll shave the carrots and chop into little ribbons. I kind of dislike chunks of carrots in salads. Maybe toss with goddess dressing!

    1. Nah, I used a fork! 🙂

      I love chunks of carrots, but ribbons would be fine too. If you already have your food processor out, maybe shred them in that?

  6. Adding these ingredients to my grocery list. Looks easy enough that I might insist that the hubby and child make it.

      1. We went camping (for the first time!) this weekend so we haven’t tried the salad yet. These items are on the list for tomorrows grocery shopping.

        On a side note, the hubby did run to the store after we got back from camping to pick up hot dogs and tater tots that HE made for supper so I could finish up my school work :0)

  7. Only thing missing from the salad is the Pork BBQ and bun. I am with Troy….everything is better on bread 🙂

  8. I would totally do this as a mason jar salad!! I make one very similar but I add chopped dates or raisins for a little pop of sweetness! Sweet, salty, bacon = Yumm!!

    1. I don’t see why not! But even though I don’t love salads, I can eat a ton of this one. I’d have to probably do a quart mason jar, because a pint wouldn’t be enough for how quickly I can mow this down.