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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 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.

Yield: 12 cups

Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad

Sunflower Crunch Kale Cabbage Salad - @kudoskitchen

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

Prep Time 20 minutes
chill time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 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


  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.


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 Information



Serving Size

1 serving

Amount Per Serving Calories 227Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 3mgSodium 644mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 4gSugar 8gProtein 6g

Did you make this recipe?

I'm excited to see your creation. Please don't be shy and share a photo with me!

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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Monday 29th of June 2020

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.


Tuesday 30th of June 2020

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!


Thursday 4th of June 2020

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


Thursday 4th of June 2020

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, Renee


Thursday 4th of June 2020

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


Thursday 4th of June 2020

Hi, Suzanne! I do hope you'll try this salad. It's always a huge hit! Enjoy! Take good care, Renee


Monday 10th of February 2020

Seriously, so much better than the packaged version!! Absolutely wonderful!!


Monday 10th of February 2020

I'm glad you agree, Elizabeth! Enjoy!!

Shadi Hasanzadenemati

Monday 10th of February 2020

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


Monday 10th of February 2020

It sure is. Thanks, Shadi!