This chopped kale and cabbage salad is so colourful with the addition of grated carrot and fresh green onion. The vinaigrette is delicious, and made with lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and olive oil. What makes this salad extra special is the nut brittle that tops it.
The nut brittle acts like the croutons in this salad! I like to use a combination of sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds and crushed walnuts, all mixed with maple syrup. Any leftover can be used to top other salads, like this kale, quinoa and apple salad or this spinach, arugula, and strawberry salad.
Why this recipe works
I absolutely love making salads using hearty vegetables like kale and cabbage. Unlike more delicate lettuce, these veggies hold on to the salad dressing really well, and hold up. You can make the salad ahead of time and it will still remain delicious and fresh tasting.
There are three components to this salad; the salad itself, the salad dressing and the nut brittle. When everything comes together, it creates an absolutely delicious salad.
Kale – I like to use a combination of both curly and Tuscan kale whenever I make salads. Their taste and texture is a little different and I enjoy having both. You can certainly use only one type of kale however.
Cabbage – An underrated vegetable in my opinion! I love the crunch and sweetness of green cabbage.
Carrot – Grating the carrot ensures that the carrot gets well dispersed in the salad; there is sweetness in every bite!
Green onion – Sometimes these fresh onions are called spring onions. In this salad be sure to use both the white and milder green part of the onion. Nothing goes to waste!
For the dressing
Lemon juice – Every great salad dressing needs an acid, and in this recipe I use a combination of both lemon and vinegar. Lemon juice, especially when freshly squeezed, give a bright pop of flavour.
White balsamic vinegar – I love white balsamic vinegar; it is lighter in taste that the more common red balsamic and it does not add color to your salad.
Olive oil – As always, I use pure Greek olive oil. Be sure to find a olive oil brand that you can trust, that is not diluted with cheaper and less healthy options.
Dijon mustard – The trick to emulsifying (thickening) your dressing is adding mustard. Any mustard will do, but I like to use Dijon because I love the peppery flavour of it.
For the nut brittle
Sesame seeds – These tiny, oil rich seeds are full of flavour.
Pumpkin seeds – Also called pepitas, or the little seeds of squash.
Chopped walnuts – The large, single seed stone fruit of the walnut tree. They are absolutely delicious.
Slivered almonds – These are almonds that have their skin removed, are cut in half and then cut into slivers. I love to use them in baking.
Maple syrup – Pure maple syrup is made from the sap of the maple tree. Do not use table syrup, which is loaded with refined sugar.
How to make it
This is a really easy salad to make. Keep in mind that you will be making more salad dressing and more nut brittle than you will use for this one salad. I think that this is fine because you will then have salad dressing left over for the week, and nut brittle too. I like to snack on it!
Wash, dry and finely chop your kale and your cabbage. Chop your green onion and grate your carrot.
Instructions for the salad
Combine all of your ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss with as much dressing as you like.
Instructions for the salad dressing
Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar or a bowl and shake or whisk until well combined. Store any remaining dressing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Instructions for the nut brittle
Place your nuts and seeds on a non-stick skillet and toast over medium heat until they become fragrant. Stir regularly to prevent burning.
Once you can smell the nuts and seeds toasting, pour the maple syrup into the pan and use a rubber spatula to mix everything around. Keep on heat for approximately 1 minute, being careful not to burn the syrup (stir constantly).
Transfer the nut mixture to a sheet of parchment paper and spread into a thin layer. Allow to cool completely and then break into pieces. Add to the top of your salad. Any leftover brittle can be kept in a covered container for several days at room temperature.
Use a variety of greens
If you don’t have kale you can make this salad with spinach or another leafy green.
Use red cabbage
I make this salad typically with green cabbage, but red cabbage would be lovely here too.
Alter the nut brittle
Instead of using the combination of nuts and seeds that I do, you can change it up any way you like. Try to keep the amounts the same however. Another way to make it different is to use honey instead of maple syrup.
Cooking tips and helpful hints
Make more than you need
Some people might argue that this is not the correct way to write up a recipe, but I don’t agree. When it comes to salads I think that some people like to add a lot of dressing and others less. For this reason, this recipe makes a large batch. You most definitely won’t use it all, but homemade salad dressing keeps really well in the refrigerator. Now you have dressing available for salads throughout the week. Same thing goes with the nut brittle – you will have more than you need but it seems silly to make only a small batch when it keeps so well.
Watch the nut brittle carefully
Toasting nuts and seeds really brings out the delicious intense flavour of these ingredients. Watch them carefully however; nuts and seeds can go from toasted to burned pretty easily. Finally, when you pour the maple syrup into the pan, that too can burn easily. Stir your nuts and seeds to coat them all with the maple syrup and remove from the heat.
Give it a Greek twist
The original recipe is vegan and therefore a perfect recipe for the Orthodox fasting period. If you are not looking for a Lenten recipe however, you can give this salad a great Greek twist by adding some crumbled feta to it. It would be so delicious!
Add some protein
A grilled chicken breast, chopped up, would be a great addition to this salad. Simply season your chicken breast with some dry oregano, paprika, salt and pepper and grill over medium heat until cooked through (internal temperature should reach 165°F (74˚C).
Squash and pearl couscous salad A delicious autumn salad which is colourful, nutritious and filling.
Red cabbage salad with apple Great crunch with the right amount of sweetness from the apple and dried cranberries.
Zoï’s salad A light and beautiful salad with the most amazing dressing. This salad is so dear to my heart.
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Chopped kale and cabbage salad
- Large salad bowl
- Whisk or jar with lid
- non-stick frying pan
- 3 cups chopped kale washed and dried
- 2 cups chopped cabbage
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, grated
For the dressing
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the nut brittle
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Combine all of your salad ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss with as much dressing as you like.3 cups chopped kale, 2 cups chopped cabbage, 1 green onion, chopped, 1 medium carrot, grated
For the dressing
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar or a bowl and shake or whisk until well combined. Store any remaining dressing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.⅓ cup fresh lemon juice, ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar, ½ tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 cup olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
For the nut brittle
- Place your nuts and seeds on a non-stick skillet and toast over medium heat until they become fragrant. Stir regularly to prevent burning.¼ cup chopped walnuts, ¼ cup slivered almonds, ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup sesame seeds, 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Once you can smell the nuts and seeds toasting, pour the maple syrup into the pan and use a rubber spatula to mix everything around. Keep on heat for approximately 1 minute, being careful not to burn the syrup (stir constantly).
- Transfer the nut mixture to a sheet of parchment paper and spread into a thin layer. Allow to cool completely and then break into pieces. Add to the top of your salad. Any leftover brittle can be kept in a covered container for several days at room temperature.