This easy red cabbage salad recipe is the perfect healthy side dish that you can easily bulk out to create a main. This tangy salad contains classic ingredients but gets a hit of extra flavor from zingy green apple and an old-school mustard vinaigrette!
Red cabbage – unassuming, yet packed with potential. Often left in the shadows, it takes center stage when it’s in the right hands.
It can redefine your salad experience, offering a tantalizing mix of crunch and tang, all while adding a delicate touch of sweetness.
And if you adore coleslaw but want to switch things up slightly, this super crunchy salad is the perfect choice.
Plus, this vibrant veggie brings along a host of health benefits. I always have a fresh head of red cabbage in my fridge, not just for its pop of color but also for the flavor and nutritional boost it gives my meals.
It’s my secret weapon, effortlessly adding depth and interest to the simplest dishes.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the salad
- Red cabbage: The less mild little brother of green cabbage! A whole head of red cabbage will make up the bulk of this salad. This ingredient is peppery, bold, and almost flowery in its taste. This cruciferous veggie is also packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Carrots: I recommend using fresh, shredded carrots here to add sweetness and a pleasant pop of color to your salad. Plus, they’re loaded with vitamin A and fiber!
- Fresh parsley: Parsley adds lots of herby freshness to this simple salad.
- Green apple: This is technically an optional ingredient, but it gives this salad an amazing depth of flavor. Oh, and it beautifully balances the slight sharpness of the cabbage and the sweetness of the carrots!
For the dressing
- Extra virgin olive oil: This lends the dressing a fruity and smooth flavor (and it’s also loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants!).
- Apple cider vinegar: The acidity of this ingredient balances the dressing and adds a signature brightness. In a pinch, white or red wine vinegar or a small amount of rice wine vinegar is fine!
- Maple syrup: To balance the mustard and apple cider vinegar with a hint of sweetness.
- Dijon mustard: To give your delicious vinaigrette a sharp and tangy zing.
- Sea salt & pepper
How to Make This Red Cabbage Salad
- Prep your cabbage and apple: Thinly slice the red cabbage and apple (if you’re using it!) into thin strips. I recommend using a mandoline slicer for the most precise cuts, but a sharp knife is just as good.
What is the best way to cut a red cabbage for a salad? First, remove any tough or damaged outer leaves. Then, slice the cabbage into quarters and remove the hard core. Then, thinly slice each quarter on its side to yield perfect, crunchy pieces for your salad.
- Slice the rest of the veggies: Using a julienne peeler or mandoline slicer, cut the carrots into thin strips. Alternatively, you can use a coarse grater for a similar effect. Just know that the thinner you slice your vegetables, the better they’ll absorb the tasty dressing!
- Combine your ingredients: Roughly chop your parsley and set it to one side. Then, combine the sliced cabbage, carrots, and apple. Toss everything until well mixed.
- Make the dressing: In a separate bowl or jar, combine the extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk or shake the jar until the dressing is thoroughly combined. The base recipe should be delicious, but you can season with extra salt and pepper to your liking.
- Put everything together: Pour the dressing over the mixed vegetables and toss everything until the vegetables and fruit are evenly coated. You can then stir in the chopped parsley.
- Let it rest: Before serving, let your salad sit for at least 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together (it’s worth the wait!).
How to Store and Make Ahead
If you want to make this salad ahead of time, you can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
The longer you leave it, the more intense the flavors get!
This easy red cabbage salad is a great side dish for dishes like chow mein, noodles, fish tacos, and a salmon burger (thanks to the tanginess!).
I’m all for making my salads into amazing main courses.
If you’d like more crunch?
Ingredients like English cucumber, green pepper, green onions, red peppers, snap peas, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are just perfect!
Although you can eat this salad as-is, it’s also a great base for more ornate salads that include fruity ingredients like dried cranberries and oranges.
And hey, if you’re a fan of herbs?
Fresh dill, mint, and cilantro add a summery flavor to this fresh cabbage salad.
Red cabbage, low-calorie and fiber-rich, is excellent for weight-conscious diets.
It contains plenty of vitamins C, K, and A, along with trace amounts of calcium, iron, and protein, and plenty of anthocyanins (rich in antioxidants and super healthy).
Both are incredibly nutritious, but red cabbage has a slight edge with more vitamin C and anthocyanins, which are not found in green cabbage.
The final choice depends on your personal taste and the dish you are cooking.
Keep red cabbage in a cool, shadowy place.
If cut, wrap tightly in cling wrap (or beeswax food wraps if you are environment-conscious like me) and refrigerate. It should stay fresh for about two weeks.
More Salad Recipes
- Maroulosalata (Greek Lettuce Salad)
- Greek Salad with Lettuce
- Authentic Italian Salad Recipe
- Healthy Potato Salad (No Eggs)
- Radicchio Salad
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
If you try this red cabbage salad recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Red Cabbage Salad
- 1/2 medium-sized head red cabbage - approximately 4-5 cups once shredded
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 green apple - optional
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley
- Thinly slice the cabbage and apple (if using) into thin strips. Use a mandoline slicer (this is my favorite) for precise and thin cuts. A sharp knife will work as well. Using a julienne peeler or a mandoline slicer, cut the carrots into strips (you can also use a coarse grater if you don’t have a julienne cutter). The thinner your vegetables, the better they'll absorb the dressing.
- Roughly chop the parsley.
- In a large bowl, combine the sliced cabbage, carrots, parsley, and apple. Toss until they are well mixed.
- In a separate small bowl or jar, combine the extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk or shake the jar until the dressing is thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Pour the dressing over the mixed vegetables and toss until everything is evenly coated.
- Stir in the chopped parsley.
- Let the salad sit for at least 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to melt together. This salad can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a couple of days. The flavors will intensify over time.
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