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Make-Ahead Sunflower Crunch Salad

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Crunchy, healthy, and completely addictive. This Sunflower Crunch Kale and Cabbage Salad has it ALL going on!! 

Dig in! You’re going to love this colorful salad!

Vertical closeup title text image of colorful sunflower crunch copycat chopped salad.

I came up with my own version of this crunchy chilled side dish because I used to love the prepared salad kit from the grocery produce department so much.

This kale, cabbage, and sunflower coleslaw is my copycat version of that similar bag salad, but I can say with 100% confidence that this recipe is far superior in taste and freshness!

**Please Note – The printable recipe card with detailed instructions, complete ingredient measurements, and nutritional information for making today’s make-ahead side dish is available at the end of this post. OR you can hit the “jump to recipe” button (found above) to be taken directly to the recipe. 


A horizontal photo of and extra colorful coleslaw with red, purple, orange, and greens in a white bowl.

The ingredient list:

**Note – The following lists of ingredients plus kitchen tools and equipment contain affiliate links (highlighted in blue) for your consideration and shopping convenience. #CommissionsEarned

Kitchen tools and equipment needed:

How long does it take to prepare this make-ahead chilled side dish?

From the chopping to the mixing, this sunflower crunch salad will take approximately 20 minutes to prepare.

Chilling it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (but overnight is preferred) is the best way to get the most flavor out of this delicious and colorful vegetable dish.

Can this chilled chop salad be served as something other than a side dish?

By mixing up a big bowl of this copycat bagged salad mix, you can have it ready to eat for lunch (or dinner) anytime you like.

Also, feel free to add some cooked protein if you’re looking for something a little more substantial.

Whenever you serve this salad, for lunch, dinner, or even a party, be ready for people to fill their plates and then come back for more.

Kale and cabbage sunflower salad is a winning combination of flavors and textures that will soon become your signature dish!

Collage image of sunflower crunch salad with colorful napkin and carrots in the background.

Why this recipe is superior to what you can purchase in the grocery store?

I’ve added dried cranberries to the mix, and I’ve also added sweet apple cider (apple juice also works) to thin the dressing, and for a little touch of extra sweetness. 

Click here for my latest and greatest Kudos Kitchen tasty BBQ side dishes.

Colorful bowl of kale cabbage salad with purple cabbage and carrots in the background.

What if I wanted a vegetarian salad? Can I leave the bacon out?

By all means…YES!!! It’s your salad, your call!

Why is this the perfect BBQ side dish?

  1. Because everyone loves it!
  2. It’s a make-ahead time-saver.
  3. Healthy options are always popular!
  4. It’s fresh and colorful!
  5. It’s cold and crunchy!
  6. It pairs well will all types of food!!

What BBQ main course does this recipe best pair with?

  • pulled pork
  • bbq chicken
  • ribs
  • brisket
  • bbq beef
  • hamburgers
  • cheeseburgers
  • sausages
  • pork chops

What will YOU serve it alongside?

Do I need a food processor to chop the cabbages and carrots?

No, not at all! I didn’t use one.

I used a chef’s knife and a cutting board. But, of course, using a food processor will be faster.

If using a you’re using a chef’s knife and cutting board, slice the cabbages into quarters, remove the cores (heart), and then thinly slice the quarters into strips, and chop into small pieces.

Easy, peasy with no extra equipment to wash!

The following video explains the process of how to slice a cabbage:

How long will this salad keep in the refrigerator?

Keep it well covered in an air-tight container and it will last in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Can I substitute other nuts for the sunflower seeds?

Yes, of course!

Try making this with chopped pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, or even chopped macadamia nuts.

Since I’m a nut and seed girl, I’m certain that any (or all) of them would be a tasty addition.

Colorful coleslaw in a white bowl with a spoon and a colorful napkin in the background.

Want other delicious sides to serve with your next pulled pork or bbq chicken dinner?

“With the help of this BBQ Side Dishes recipe roundup, your BBQ menu will keep your family and friends very full, and extremely happy!”

What is the serving size of this salad?

1 cup = 1 serving

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Vertical closeup title text image of colorful sunflower crunch copycat chopped salad.

Below is the printable recipe card along with the exact ingredient measurements and nutritional information for making today’s crunchy chopped vegetable salad.

Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad - @kudoskitchen

Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad

Renee - Kudos Kitchen
Crunchy, healthy, and completely addictive. This Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad has it ALL going on!! 
4.33 from 97 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
chill time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course healthy salad
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cups
Calories 227 kcal


  • 1 small head green cabbage chopped into a small dice
  • 1 half head purple cabbage chopped into a small dice
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped into a small dice
  • 2 cups kale ribs removed and chopped into a small dice
  • ½ cup bacon bits
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  • In a large bowl, stir together the green and purple cabbage along with the prepared carrots and kale.
  • Add the salt, pepper, bacon bits, garlic, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider, cider vinegar, and sugar until smooth.
  • Pour the cider and mayonnaise dressing over the cabbage mixture and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 60 minutes for the flavors to marry.
  • Serve chilled with additional dried cranberries and sunflower seeds to the top, if desired.



Serving size = 1 cup
This salad is best made ahead and allowed to sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, but overnight is best. Stir well before serving.
Store in an air-tight container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 227kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 6gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 644mgFiber: 4gSugar: 8g
Keyword bbq chicken side dish, bbq side dish, coleslaw, kale cabbage salad, pulled pork side dish, side dish recipe, sunflower crunch kale cabbage salad, sunflower crunch salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Thank you so much for visiting me here today in my Kudos Kitchen!

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed today’s recipe for Sunflower crunch salad as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing it to you!

A horizontal photo of a bowl of sunflower crunch chopped salad in a white bowl with a spoon.

Should you have any questions regarding this recipe or anything else you’ve seen on my site, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly or leave me a comment in the comment section below. It is always my distinct pleasure to get back to you with a reply just as soon as I possibly can!

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Until we eat again, I hope you have a delicious day!

Kudos Kitchen by Renee Signature

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Recipe Rating


Thursday 30th of September 2021

This has become my absolute favorite salad. I think it's partly because I love crunch and this is crunchy! It's so healthy and the flavors just meld together so well. I am vegan, so I top my salad at the time I eat it with a bacon alternative. I also use vegan mayo. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. I love making it up and having it to eat on all week long. Thank you for this fabulous recipe. You're right, it's better than anything I can buy. It is well worth taking the time to chop it up!


Thursday 30th of September 2021

That's awesome, Becky! I'm glad you were able to make the changes to the recipe to make it vegan. Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. Enjoy, and healthy eating! Renee


Monday 19th of July 2021

Made this tonight for dinner and everyone loved it(even my super picky 9year old). I made it exactly to recipe except I didn’t add the garlic. Thanks for the great recipe! We will definitely be making it again.


Tuesday 20th of July 2021

This is awesome to hear, Jenny, especially about your picky 9-year-old. Priceless! Thanks so much for the 5-star rating. That means a lot to me. Please continue to enjoy the recipe. I'm so glad you do! Take good care, Renee


Tuesday 8th of June 2021

This salad had the makings of being fabulous. I was in a rush and used my food processor to chop the carrots and cabbages. I would strongly recommend to take the time and hand chop all veggies.


Tuesday 8th of June 2021

Good to know, Patty. Was the consistency too mushy with the chopping blade? I did use the food processor (with the shredding blade) but then chopped everything into smaller bits with a chef's knife. It takes a bit longer this way, but the texture is more to my liking. I appreciate your taking the time to comment. Take good care. Renee

Patricia @ Grab a Plate

Tuesday 18th of May 2021

Homemade is an awesome option! I love this and can't wait to enjoy it over and over (yay for sunflower seeds)!


Tuesday 18th of May 2021

I agree about the sunflower seeds. I eat them by the handful! Thanks, Patricia!


Sunday 9th of May 2021

What can you substitute for apple juice?


Sunday 9th of May 2021

Hi, Felice! I might try and substitute white grape juice, or apple cider. Both of those will work. Pear juice would also work, as would pineapple juice. Taste as you go and don't add the full amount the recipe calls for until you're sure it's going to work. What you're going for is a lightly sweet juice without much color so it won't alter the color of the salad. I hope this helps. Take good care, Renee