Crisp Cabbage Slaw

Crisp Cabbage Slaw

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Summer is finally here. The sun is shining, the air is warm, and farmers’ markets have begun. This is truly my favorite time of year. It’s my favorite not only for the above reasons, but also because everything is so alive and plentiful. Flowers are blooming and the produce is abundant. For me, it’s an exciting time to try new flavors and cook different foods. This recipe was the first “summer” recipe I made this year. I paired it with brisket and potato salad and it was such a nice welcome into the new season. It’s a delicious and simple recipe that pairs well with any summer dish.

Why We Love It

Cabbage is such an accessible vegetable. You can nearly find it at any grocery store. It pairs well with most foods and adds a crunch to anything. I used to despise cabbage when I was younger because I only ever tried it in soggy, store-bought coleslaw. Now cabbage has become one of my favorite vegetables. It is so versatile and can be combined with any ingredient, which is a big reason why I love this dish.

This recipe is very simple to make. The time of active preparation is about 10 minutes. I love the additional step of salting the cabbage first for 20 minutes. This draws out the water and leaves you with a perfectly crisp texture. Softening the onions with lemon juice is a simple technique that takes the harshness out of them. Once everything is combined, the flavors meld nicely together making every bite smooth and crisp. The addition of lemon zest adds brightness and captures the essence of summer. Lastly, I love the addition of herbs. Parsley, basil, and mint pair nicely together. It’s a fun way to incorporate the herbs from your summer herb garden.

I have tried this slaw with tacos, brisket, and brought it to a potluck. Everyone I have made it for has loved the different variations and always asked for the recipe. May your summer be filled with fresh food, farmers markets, and Crisp Cabbage Slaw.

Crisp Cabbage Slaw


1 small head of red or green cabbage, sliced crosswise

salt, 2 generous pinches to season cabbage

1 small red onion, sliced

1/4 cup lemon juice plus 2 tsp. lemon zest for garnish

1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

fresh mint, roughly chopped, for garnish

fresh basil, roughly chopped, for garnish


  1. Quarter the cabbage through the core. Use a sharp knife to cut the core out at an angle.
  2. Thinly slice the cabbage crosswise and place in a colander set inside a large salad bowl.
  3. Season with two generous pinches of salt to help draw out water, toss the slices, and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the sliced onion with the lemon juice and let sit for 20 minutes to soften. Set aside.
  5. After 20 minutes, drain any water the cabbage may have given off. Place the cabbage in the bowl and add the parsley, sunflower seeds, and the onions (but not their lemony juices, yet).
  6. Dress the slaw with vinegar and olive oil. Toss very well to combine.
  7. Taste and adjust, adding the remaining lemon juice and salt as needed.
  8. Garnish the slaw with lemon zest, fresh mint, and fresh basil.
  9. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Enjoy leftover slaw for up to two days.

Recipe adapted from Samin Nosrat’s, Bright Cabbage Slaw

Supplies needed:

Cutting board
Large bowl
Large colander
Citrus juicer (if desired)
Medium bowl
Measuring cups and spoons

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About the Author: Meghan McGee is a graduate of NTI’s Certified Natural Food Chef program as well as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She believes food is the most powerful catalyst that brings people together. Sitting around a table, enjoying a nourishing meal with strangers or friends is her absolute favorite thing to do. Her mission is to inspire others to take control of their health.  You can find Meghan’s personal chef and other services at

Photo by Meghan McGee

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