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!
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!
- The ingredient list:
- Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
- How long does it take to prepare this make-ahead chilled side dish?
- Can this chilled chop salad be served as something other than a side dish?
- Why this recipe is superior to what you can purchase in the grocery store?
- What if I wanted a vegetarian salad? Can I leave the bacon out?
- Why is this the perfect BBQ side dish?
- What BBQ main course does this recipe best pair with?
- Do I need a food processor to chop the cabbages and carrots?
- The following video explains the process of how to slice a cabbage:
- How long will this salad keep in the refrigerator?
- Can I substitute other nuts for the sunflower seeds?
- Additional side dishes to serve with your next BBQ:
- Additional salad recipes:
- Printable Recipe Card
- Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad
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
- Green Cabbage
- Red Cabbage
- Fresh Kale
- Bacon Bits
- Salt and Pepper
- Apple Cider or Apple Juice
- Minced Garlic
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dried Cranberries
- Sunflower Seeds
Kitchen tools and equipment needed:
- large mixing bowl
- medium mixing bowl
- chef's knife
- cutting board
- measuring cups and spoons
- wooden spoon or spatula
- vegetable peeler
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!
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.
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?
- Because everyone loves it!
- It's a make-ahead time-saver.
- Healthy options are always popular!
- It's fresh and colorful!
- It's cold and crunchy!
- It pairs well will all types of food!!
What BBQ main course does this recipe best pair with?
- pulled pork
- bbq chicken
- bbq beef
- 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.
Additional side dishes to serve with your next BBQ:
- BBQ Side Dish Recipe Roundup (pictured below) from all your favorite food bloggers.
"With the help of this BBQ Side Dishes recipe roundup, your BBQ menu will keep your family and friends very full, and extremely happy!"
Become a member of the Misfits Market family and save up to 40% off organic produce and sustainably sourced groceries, delivered straight to your door.
Additional salad recipes:
This Chicken Cordon Bleu Salad is a hearty romaine lettuce salad loaded with chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese. It's then topped with a lightly sweet and tangy homemade honey Dijon vinaigrette that balances this delicious salad perfectly!
A chef's salad isn't something only to be eaten at restaurants. You can easily make this Best Ever Chef's Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing at home with all the great add-ins and flavor you love!
This Kale Salad with Fresh Berries is a deliciously healthy side dish that takes only minutes to prepare. It's chock full of Mother Nature's healthiest ingredients and then topped with a homemade vinaigrette which has just the right amount of tang to complement the hearty kale.
⭐If you've made this recipe, or are excited to make this recipe, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a moment to leave it a star rating on the recipe card, along with a comment if you're so inclined. Thank you. 🙂
Printable Recipe Card
Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad
- 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
- 1½ 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.
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I sincerely hope you've enjoyed today's recipe for Sunflower crunch salad as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you!
Thank you so much for visiting me today in my Kudos Kitchen. I hope you found something you'll love and that you'll come back and visit me often. There is always room for you around my table!
Should you have any questions or comments regarding anything you've seen here on my blog, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. It is always my distinct pleasure to respond to you just as soon as I possibly can.
Johnny Baw says
Is it really supposed to have 2tsp of salt? I'm going to cut it out next time as I'm a little sensitive. Otherwise delicious and crunchy!
Of course, if you're sensitive feel free to cut back on the salt.
That's always a wonderful idea. However, kosher salt isn't as strongly flavored
as iodized table salt, and I always use kosher salt.
If you don't already use kosher salt I suggest you give it a try.
I appreciate you giving this recipe 5 stars. Thank you very much!!
Have a wonderful day!
Does the recipe really call for 1/4c. apple cider vinegar and 1 1/2T. apple cider vinegar which were separate on the ingredients list? I used 2T. Apple cider vinegar and adjusted the salt from 2t. to only 1/2t.
Other than that the recipe was good.
The ¼ cup is of apple cider or apple juice. The sweet stuff. The beverage. Not cider vinegar.
The apple cider vinegar is different, and that is 1½ tablespoons.
I hope this helps. Cider vinegar and Apple Cider or Juice.
Have a good day,
What would happen if you put the dressing on and keep it in the refrigerator? How long would it last? Would it get too mushy or be ok for a few days?
It will definitely be okay for a few days. The cabbage and kale are hearty veggies that will stand up and retain their crunch.
Go ahead and make it ahead. You'll be fine. That's also why the leftovers are ok to keep for awhile. I'd put a 6 day limit on it, however.
I hope this is helpful.
Have a great day,
Kristina Olson says
Delicious! Thank you for posting.
One of my favorites. I have made it several times. It's handles substitutions very well. I have made with stevia, maple syrup and honey on separate occasions. Even used raisins when I didn't have cranberries and pumpkin seeds when I didn't have sunflower seeds. All variations were extremely enjoyable.
I really appreciate your time and effort in sharing this must have recipe.
You are a doll, Kristina!
Thank you for your lovely comment and the 5 star rating.
I'm glad this recipe works so well for you and adapts to your tastes and preferences.
Have a wonderful day,
Wendy Jackson says
Have you tried this with Greek Yogurt instead of mayo? If not, do you think it would be as good? Thank you!
I have not tried this with Greek yogurt, but I do have a few suggestions if you do.
Make sure you cut back on the amount of vinegar used in the recipe. Since Greek yogurt has quite a tang to it already, I wouldn't want it to overpower the salad.
You still want a nice balance of sweet and tart.
I'd also cut back a on the amount of apple cider so the dressing is on the thicker side and not runny, but that's just me.
Play around a little with the amounts, and taste as you go. That's your best bet.
I don't know if this helps, but it's my suggestion. Let me know.
Thanks so much for your question.
Have a great day,
Wendy Jackson says
Your suggestions were great and the salad was very popular...served it to a large group and everyone wanted the recipe. I am making another batch now and realized I didn't reply. Thank you for a great recipe!
I'm so happy this recipe was well received, Wendy. Thank you very much for letting me know.
Thanks also for the 5-star rating. I appreciate it.
Take good care,
Do you think using the bagged cole slaw would work instead of chopping fresh cabbage?
You bet. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, chopping cabbage is a zen experience for me. You do you though. I know the bagged slaw will work fine.
Take good care,
Kitchen cheater question: Has anyone tried using the bagged coleslaw instead of cutting up the cabbage? I’m a fan of shortcuts. This looks delicious though.
It's perfectly acceptable to use the bagged coleslaw mix. I'm a fan of taking shortcuts whenever and wherever possible. Enjoy the recipe! 🙂
This is such a easy and fresh salad! I will be making this often!
Great to hear it, Denice! Thanks for the 5-star rating too!!
Take good care,
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!
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!
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.
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,
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.
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.
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
Homemade is an awesome option! I love this and can't wait to enjoy it over and over (yay for sunflower seeds)!
I agree about the sunflower seeds. I eat them by the handful!
What can you substitute for apple juice?
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,
Absolutely divine! Thank you so much for sharing
My pleasure. So happy you enjoy this recipe!
Take good care, Tracey!
Has anyone tried adding some pasta to this salad? The salad itself is oh-so-tasty. I’ve added shredded chicken in the past, but wondered how a little bit of pasta would work here? I always seem to have a little extra dressing.
I think that's an excellent idea, Tammy! There isn't anything I don't like pasta in, and this salad with pasta would be a winner!
Thanks for sharing! Could the green cabbage be substituted with kale or romaine?
I think the romaine would be a good substitution for the green cabbage (since kale is already in the recipe).
But, having said that, I don't think this salad would hold up as long in the refrigerator using the romaine.
Probably just a day, two at the most. So be aware that making it ahead is likely not the best idea and leftovers
should be eaten ASAP.
I hope this helps. Enjoy the salad. Please let me know what you think, and which way you decided to go. I'd love to know.
Take good care,
This looks so good! I wouldn’t have thought to put these flavors together!
I do hope you'll try this salad. It's always a huge hit!
Take good care,
Seriously, so much better than the packaged version!! Absolutely wonderful!!
Shadi Hasanzadenemati says
This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family
Love this for summer. Reduced sugar and salt but still delicious.
Glad to hear it, and glad you made the adjustments you felt necessary. Thanks.
Incredible!!!! I just made it again for our family 4th of July barbecue we're having tomorrow. I hate mayo so I subbed 1/4 c of the mayo with Greek yogurt and good gracious.....even better! Best salad recipe I've ever made. Thanks for sharing!
This is so wonderful to hear and I'm so glad you adapted the recipe to your particular tastes and preferences! SO smart!!
Glad you loved the recipe. I'm always happy to share!! Thanks for letting me know, and for the great star rating!
Have a fantastic day!
Cathy Phillips says
loved the veggies but didn't like the dressing flavor profile at all. It was way too salty and garlicky and just did not work well with the sweetness of the cranberries or the taste of a slaw. I feel like this could have been a much better salad with a different dressing. The kale also seemed completely unnecessary. Deleting the pin and will not make again.
Everyone's opinion is different. I happen to love this salad and the dressing. The kale is for texture and nutrition.
Have a lovely day.
Is cider vinegar the same as apple cider? Made it twice and just used additional apple cider. I also substituted honey for sugar, because I had no sugar. It still taste amazing!
Apple cider vinegar is vinegar. Not sweet. Vinegary. I use it in this salad to give it a little balance so it's not too sweet.
As long as you enjoyed the salad the way you made it, I say keep making it like that! I'm so happy you loved the way it turned out!
What kind of mayo do you use in this recipe? Looks delicious.
I use Hellmann's. If you decide to use something like a MiracleWhip, I suggest cutting back on the amount of sugar called for in the recipe.
Besides that, any mayo you use should be fine.
Enjoy the salad, Rhonda!
I'm not a fan of kale, would spinach hold up in this salad? Everything else sounds awesome.
Great question, but I'm not 100% sure. My guess would be no because I think it would get too soggy.
If you're not a fan of kale, why not leave it out?
Or, how about if you finely chop some broccoli (florets, and stems, if you're so inclined), and add those to the salad?
I think that would be a terrific addition and one that would hold up well to all the other ingredients.
Just a thought.
I'm anxious to know what you decide to do. Let me know. I'd love to hear.
Hope this helps.
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
I loved it! So flavorful!
Lindsay Cotter says
What a delicious side dish! It's sure to be a favorite!
Thank you, Lindsay! It's always been a hit whenever I've served it!
What is the serving size for this recipe? The nutrition facts says 1g, which must be a typo.
Sorry about that. I've gone ahead and adjusted the post, recipe card, and the serving size for being 1 cup of salad.
Thank you for bringing that to my attention.
I hope you love this salad as much as I do!
Does it keep for 5 days with the dressing mixed in, or do I keep it dry until ready to eat?
Great question, Jennifer. Keep it dry until ready to eat. The day you're going to serve, add the dressing and chill for about 3-4 hours.
Diane Moody says
Thanks, Renee! Can't wait to try it!
You're welcome, Diane! Unfortunately, I can't limit myself to only a half cup! If I don't stop myself, I'd eat the entire bowl! LOL
Hey Renee, this sounds amazing! What is the portion per serving? I’m on Weight Watchers so I’d like to calculate the points.
A serving size is approximately 1/2 cup. I hope this helps.
Meagen Brosius says
I love how easy this is but it has so many awesome flavors and textures! Perfect for all my upcoming parties and events!
I'm glad you're thinking of entertaining with this salad. It really does please an entire crowd. Thanks, Meagen!
Wilhelmina Wessel says
I love all the delicious crunch! Totally addictive!
Thank you, and you're right. It's TOTALLY addictive!
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
I love how easy this is to make!
It's a bonus after the delicious factor!
Alida | Simply Delicious says
So healthy, so delicious! Love all that crunch.
SO fabulous! I could eat this every single day...the perfect salad!
When I have it in my fridge, I definitely eat it every day. I seriously can't get enough!
Beth Lee says
Such great instructions and tips, who needs the bag? Thanks so much for this!
Thanks so much, Beth! I'm glad you like the recipe!