Put the coleslaw recipe down. This healthy cabbage salad is an amazing combination of vegetables and fruits all tossed with a light and tangy vinaigrette. You’ll love the naturally sweet and savory flavor and the array of crunchy textures. Never mind that it’s packed full of nutrition.
Healthy Cabbage Salad loaded with Flavorful Plant-Based Goodness
Years ago, my friend Ricki Heller shared this delicious healthy cabbage salad recipe with us. She adapted it from Enlightened Eating by Caroline Dupont. We’ve further updated the recipe and have a few more options and details.
What are Good Substitutes for the Pecans and Walnuts?
I like to use calcium-rich sliced almonds. But for a nut-free cabbage salad, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds are a great substitution. You might also like to sprinkle the salad with some poppy seeds for a little extra calcium. Just 1 teaspoon contains 40 milligrams of the mineral.
How Can I Reduce the Sugars in this Recipe?
For starters, you can use an alternative sugar-free sweetener in place of the agave nectar. Ricki sometimes just uses drops of stevia, to taste. You can also use jicama in place of the apple. It offers the same unique crunch, but is much lower in sugar. You can also omit the dried fruit, or use a lower sugar option, like less sugar cranberries or chopped dried apricots.
Is there a Good Substitute for the Dried Fennel?
Fennel has a slight licorice taste that truly elevates this healthy cabbage salad. If you do have it, or it’s in stock at your store, definitely try it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a licorice fan to enjoy it. Fennel is used in all types of foods. But if you really can’t find it, anise is the closest substitute, followed by caraway seeds. Or you can go a completely different route, and use ground cumin. In a pinch, you can substitute an equivalent amount of dijon mustard to help tie the flavors together.
How is this Healthy Cabbage Salad Good for a Dairy-Free Diet?
It’s good for almost any diet! Dairy-free isn’t just about alternatives. It’s about all of the naturally wonderful dairy-free foods, too. Not to mention, this healthy cabbage salad is filled with essential vitamins and minerals to help ensure your daily needs are met. Did you know that vitamin K, vitamin C, and quercetin all play key roles in bone health? This salad is rich in each of these micronutrients!
Special Diet Notes: Healthy Cabbage Salad
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and optionally paleo-friend.
- 2 cups shredded green or red cabbage
- ¾ cup chopped broccoli or cauliflower
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted (can omit for nut-free)
- ¼ cup chopped sweet onion
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1 medium apple, cored and diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar (can sub your honey or your sweetener of choice)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel, or to taste
- ½ cup raisins, currants, or dried cranberries
- Add the cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, parsley, nuts, onion, carrot, apple, and celery to a large salad bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sweetener, salt, and fennel until combined.
- Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables in your salad bowl, and toss to coat.
- Top with the dried fruit.
- Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate to let the flavors meld a bit. Toss again before serving. This salad will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.