Make-Ahead Sunflower Crunch Salad

Make-Ahead Sunflower Crunch Salad

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 enjoy the video showing how to make a sunflower crunch salad;

Jump to Recipe

**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 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 dish.

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

By mixing up a big bowl of this copycat Dole salad, 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
  • you name it!

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 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 well;

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? I’ve got you covered;

“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 salad.

4.31 from 42 votes
Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad - @kudoskitchen
Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
chill time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 20 mins
Crunchy, healthy, and completely addictive. This Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad has it ALL going on!! 
Course: healthy salad, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq chicken side dish, bbq side dish, coleslaw, kale cabbage salad, pulled pork side dish, side dish recipe, sunflower crunch kale cabbage salad
Servings: 12 cups
Calories: 227 kcal
Renee – Kudos Kitchen: Renée
  • 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
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the green and purple cabbage along with the prepared carrots and kale.

  2. Add the salt, pepper, bacon bits, garlic, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries. Stir well to combine. Set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider, cider vinegar, and sugar until smooth.

  4. 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.

  5. Serve chilled with additional dried cranberries and sunflower seeds to the top, if desired.

Recipe Notes

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.

Nutrition Facts
Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 227 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 644mg28%
Potassium 279mg8%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 2885IU58%
Vitamin C 36.3mg44%
Calcium 63mg6%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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  1. 5 stars
    Such great instructions and tips, who needs the bag? Thanks so much for this!

  2. 5 stars
    SO fabulous! I could eat this every single day…the perfect salad!

  3. So healthy, so delicious! Love all that crunch.

  4. 5 stars
    I love how easy this is to make!

  5. Wilhelmina Wessel

    5 stars
    I love all the delicious crunch! Totally addictive!

  6. Meagen Brosius

    5 stars
    I love how easy this is but it has so many awesome flavors and textures! Perfect for all my upcoming parties and events!

  7. Hey Renee, this sounds amazing! What is the portion per serving? I’m on Weight Watchers so I’d like to calculate the points.

  8. Diane Moody

    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

  9. 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.

  10. What is the serving size for this recipe? The nutrition facts says 1g, which must be a typo.
    Thank you

    • Hi, Anne!
      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!
      Take care,

  11. 5 stars
    What a delicious side dish! It’s sure to be a favorite!

  12. 5 stars
    I loved it! So flavorful!

  13. I’m not a fan of kale, would spinach hold up in this salad? Everything else sounds awesome.

    • Hi, Vicki!
      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.
      Take care,

  14. 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!

  15. Catherine

    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!

    • Hi, Catherine.
      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!

  16. Cathy Phillips

    1 star
    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.

  17. 5 stars
    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!

    • Hi, Becky!
      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!

  18. 5 stars
    Love this for summer. Reduced sugar and salt but still delicious.

  19. Shadi Hasanzadenemati

    5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious! I love that it’s such a crowd pleaser for the whole family

  20. 5 stars
    Seriously, so much better than the packaged version!! Absolutely wonderful!!

  21. This looks so good! I wouldn’t have thought to put these flavors together!

  22. Thanks for sharing! Could the green cabbage be substituted with kale or romaine?

    • Hi, Vanessa!
      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,

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