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Healthy Cabbage Salad Recipe (with a Simple Dressing)

This Healthy Cabbage Salad is crunchy and delicious. With each forkful, you get a bite of nutritious vegetables, apple, and a burst of zesty dill.

It’s made with budget-friendly ingredients and is a great make-ahead salad as it stores well in the fridge.

Healthy cabbage salad on a plate with a silver fork on the right side.

Unlike a classic coleslaw, this is a no-mayo cabbage salad, so you can make it in advance, and it’ll hold up better in warm weather.

Cabbage salad also pairs well with various grilled meats, so this refreshing salad is the perfect side dish to make for your next backyard BBQ or potluck!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Here are four reasons why this recipe is a keeper:

  • As the name suggests, this cabbage salad is healthy. Made with a blend of colorful veggies, apples, fresh dill, and a simple dressing, this salad is loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
  • It’s also naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • This easy salad makes for a great make-ahead side dish. The firm, crunchy vegetables will hold their textures even when stored in the fridge for a few days (and the flavors will only get better).
  • It’s customizable. The options are endless when it comes to customizing a cabbage salad.

Ingredient Notes

Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make a healthy cabbage salad:

  • Green Cabbage – I like using green cabbage to make this salad, but you are more than welcome to use a blend of purple and green.
  • Green Apple – A diced apple adds a sweet and tangy flavor to balance the slightly bitter flavor of cabbage.
  • Carrot – Grated carrot provides a pop of contrasting color while giving this healthy salad a boost of fiber and beta-carotene.
  • Red Bell Pepper – Diced red bell pepper adds crisp, sweet flavor and a boost of vitamin C.
  • Fresh Dill – Chopped dill adds a fresh, distinct flavor and lots of nutrients.
  • White Vinegar – This popular vinegar adds a pleasant tang to the salad.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This rich oil lightly dresses the salad and adds healthy fats to the dish.
  • Sugar – White sugar softens the cabbage by breaking down tough fibers and helps to ferment the cabbage.
  • Salt – Salt enhances the flavor of the salad.
  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a punch of fresh citrus flavor and keeps the apples from browning.

How To Make Healthy Cabbage Salad

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make this cabbage salad recipe:

Step 1. Prepare and Massage the Cabbage.

With a sharp knife, carefully remove any core or stem from the cabbage. Slice the cabbage into thin strips.

Place the shredded cabbage into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and massage the cabbage with your hands for about 30 seconds or until it softens slightly. Set aside.

Step 2. Prepare the Rest of the Ingredients.

Dice the green apple into 1/4″ pieces and toss with the lemon juice. Grate OR finely julienne the carrot. Dice the red bell pepper into 1/4″ pieces. Chop the dill.

Step 3. Add the Remaining Ingredients.

Add the apple, carrot, red bell pepper, dill, vinegar, and oil to the bowl with the shredded cabbage.

Season with salt and toss until all vegetables are coated with the dressing and everything is well combined. Serve cold.

Side by side pictures of cabbage salad in large salad bowls.

Recipe Tips

Here are a few tips to help you make the best cabbage salad:

  • Do your best to slice or shred the cabbage the same size and cut the remaining ingredients in the same size and shape, so you get an equal amount of each flavor and texture in each bite.
  • To make the shredded cabbage softer and easier to chew and digest, place it in a large bowl, sprinkle with sugar, and massage for about 30 seconds or until the cabbage begins releasing moisture.
  • Massaging cabbage with sugar for coleslaw and cabbage salad also helps preserve and ferment the cabbage, so it stores well in the fridge for a couple of days.
  • To make a sugar-free cabbage salad, simply omit the sugar and massage the cabbage with a bit of salt. If you use salt, rinse the shredded cabbage after massaging it so your salad isn’t too salty.
  • Toss the apple in lemon juice before adding it to the salad to prevent the apple from turning brown. Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Don’t be afraid to add a generous amount of dill. Dill is very nutritious and adds incredible garden-fresh flavor.
  • For the best flavor, store the salad in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours before serving. This will make all of the natural flavors pop. Toss gently before serving.
  • This healthy cabbage salad is perfect for parties and potlucks because it stores well, and the ingredient amounts can easily be adjusted to make as big of a batch as necessary.

Close up shot of the healthy cabbage salad on a plate.

Flavor Variations

Make this salad with shredded Napa cabbage with a simple Asian-inspired dressing. Just sub white vinegar for rice wine vinegar and add a splash of soy sauce, sesame oil, and freshly minced ginger.

This simple cabbage salad would taste great with a bit of added heat, like a tablespoon of Sriracha and minced jalapenos.

You can also add broccoli florets, shaved Brussels sprouts, nuts, and seeds (like slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.), and fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc.).


If properly stored in an airtight container, coleslaw and cabbage salad will last in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cabbage salad the same as coleslaw?

The terms are used interchangeably within recipe writing, but commonly “coleslaw” recipes are mayonnaise-based while “cabbage salad ” recipes are vinegar-based.

Can you eat red cabbage raw in a salad?

Red cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked just like green cabbage.

Can I use red cabbage to make this salad?

Yes, absolutely!

Can I eat purple cabbage raw?

Yes. Red cabbage and purple cabbage are the same things.

More Healthy Raw Salad Recipes

If you love raw salads, check out these recipes:

Healthy cabbage salad on a plate with a silver fork on the right side.

Healthy Cabbage Salad

Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This simple cabbage salad is easy and budget-friendly. The salad is delicious, and chock-full of healthy nutrients. Perfect to make a big batch and enjoy for a couple of days.


  • 1/3 green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 green apple such as Granny Smith
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • ½ cup dill, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste


  1. Place the shredded cabbage into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and massage the cabbage with your hands for about 30 seconds. This will help to break down the fibers and make the cabbage softer.
  2. Chop the apple and toss it in the lemon juice.
  3. Add the apple, carrot, red pepper, dill, white vinegar, and oil to the bowl with the shredded cabbage. Season with salt and toss to combine.


1. Keeping the salad in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours before serving makes it even better.

2. This salad is great for a party, just double the recipe if you are expecting a big crowd.

Nutrition Information
Yield 5 Serving Size 1/5 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 64Total Fat 2.9gSaturated Fat 0.4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2.3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 39.8mgCarbohydrates 8.9gFiber 1.9gSugar 6.3gProtein 0.6g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

Did you make this recipe?

If you tried this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! To do this, click on the stars above. You can also leave a review or comment below. And don't forget to tag me if you share a picture on Instagram!

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Sunday 8th of August 2021

I just made it and it’s chilling.


Sunday 23rd of August 2020

I tried it and it was delicious.

Maria Ushakova

Monday 31st of August 2020

So glad you enjoyed it!


Sunday 25th of February 2018

Hi! I found this recipe last week on pinterest and have already made this salad twice. Even my hubby who doesn't like cabbage liked it. Great recipe!

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