Apple Cabbage Salad
on Sep 20, 2021, Updated Sep 09, 2023
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The apple cabbage salad is colorful with both green and red cabbage. It has thinly sliced crisp apples, toasted walnuts and blue cheese all tossed in champagne vinaigrette. This is a great fall-winter salad that you can serve as a side dish or a main dish salad.
Also try this Asian Cabbage Salad that has a dressing with almond butter, soy sauce, fresh ginger and lime juice.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you are looking for a salad with fresh crunch, this one is it. Cabbage is for so much more than coleslaw. It has a nice crisp bite that gets even better with other crisp ingredients like apples and scallions.
The flavors have a wonderful balance of savory with sweet and salty accents. I am a big fan of using fruit in salads (not to be confused with fruit salads). And apples pair perfectly with the strong taste of crumbled blue cheese.
Cabbage is a great base for fall and winter salads that is heartier than delicate lettuces. This is how I approach salads during the colder months. I also make a shredded brussels sprout salad for a similar seasonal crunch.
What is Cabbage?
A cousin to kale and broccoli, cabbage doesn’t get as much attention as its cruciferous vegetable relatives, but it should for its health benefits and its taste.
- Cabbage is a great source of Vitamin C.
- It is has lots of antioxidants, which help with inflammation.
- Your digestive system will thank you for all that fiber.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This is what you need:
- Cabbage: Green and red cabbage taste pretty similar. They are both pleasantly bitter. Red is a bit earthier. I love the color combo, so that’s part of the reason why I like to use them both. Tear off any wilted outer leaves before you slice it very thinly with a sharp knife. You are essentially shredding it.
- Apples: Make sure you pick a crisp apple to work with the cabbage. My go-to varieties are Pink Lady and Honeycrisp apples.
- Scallions: For onion flavor and something fresh, I reach for green onions and thinly slice them.
- Walnuts: Apples and walnuts are very on-brand for autumn. Make sure to toast the nuts before stirring them into the salad. Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan and toast them in a 350-degree F oven for 5-7 minutes. You can also use toasted almonds.
- Blue Cheese: Kind of funky and salty, blue cheese goes well with the bitter cabbage and the sweet-tart apples. If you aren’t a fan, swap it out for feta or goat cheese. They both will give you that saltiness without being as pungent.
- Parsley: For a finishing touch of fresh herbs, I also add chopped parsley.
- Champagne vinaigrette: For the dressing, I make vinaigrette with champagne vinegar, whole grain Dijon mustard, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can substitute with white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
How To Cut Cabbage
Since the leaves are so densely packed, you will get a big yield out of a single head of cabbage. To cut it:
- Slice the head in half.
- Cut the halves in half, so you end up with quarters.
- Trim the stems at the bottoms of each section.
- Thinly slice the cabbage perpendicular to the stem.
How To Make This Cabbage Salad Recipe
1. Combine the salad ingredients. In a big bowl, stir together the green cabbage, red cabbage, apples, scallions, walnuts, blue cheese and parsley.
2. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk the minced garlic, whole grain mustard, champagne vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad. Toss everything around, so the cabbage and apples are all well dressed.
Can You Serve This As Apple Cabbage Slaw Instead of A Salad?
Absolutely! Mayonnaise is not a requirement for coleslaw. In fact, there are lots of red cabbage slaws with vinegar-based dressings.
If you do treat it like coleslaw, it would be great as a side for roasted chicken, pork or other meats. It would bring something fresh and crisp to these more heavy dishes and flavors. You would serve slaw in a smaller amount than a salad, so you can assume then that the recipe would serve more people.
Also, bookmark this recipe for a Thanksgiving salad or side dish to go with roasted turkey. Again, you need lighter fresh dishes for any big meals.
One of the best parts of this cabbage salad recipe, unlike salads with delicate leafy greens, is that you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. If you are planning to do that, try not to toss in all the in vinaigrette. Store the extra in a jar.
The apples will brown a bit, but it’s just cosmetic. They will still taste good. It is up to you if you want to toss the sliced apples in lemon juice to prevent browning if you know you are going to have leftovers.
For a shortcut, you can use a bagged cabbage mix if you don’t want to do all the prep and cutting. And don’t worry if the mix has other vegetables in it like shredded carrots or even red bell peppers. They will all still work with the apples, blue cheese and walnuts.
You can make the dressing up to 3 days in advance. Let it sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before you use it. This will give the oil a chance to liquify again if it hardens from the cold temperature in the refrigerator.
More Apple Salad Recipes
Apple Cabbage Salad
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
- 2 crisp apples, cut into matchsticks (Pink Lady, Honeycrisp)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, apples, scallions, walnuts, blue cheese and parsley.
- For the dressing, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing into the salad, tossing to coat.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.