This Cabbage and Cucumber Salad is a refreshing, healthy, and delicious addition to your meal. Made with just a handful of ingredients, it's naturally paleo, low carb, and Whole 30.
This is one those easy-to-make, surely-to-please salads. With only 5 ingredients, it graces our kitchen table regularly. It goes well with most meals, but our favorites are the Instant Pot Ribs and Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers.
Cabbage is a prominent part of many European cuisines and can be prepared in a variety of ways. It can be pickled, fermented, steamed, stewed, braised, and even eaten raw, as in this salad.
Cabbage Cucumber Salad (Low-Carb, Whole30, Paleo)
If you don't regularly prepare cabbage, what are you waiting for? Cabbage has so many benefits that it would be so very wrong to not use it on a regular basis. Check out all the positives that this humble brassica vegetable offers:
- Versatility of cabbage. It is the main ingredient in lacto-fermented sauerkraut and the finishing touch to Russian beet borsch. It can be stuffed with meat and rice to make Healthy Classic Stuffed Cabbage Leaves and also baked in a one-pan dish in this Keto Chicken Cabbage Casserole.
- Cabbage is cheap. It's a very cost efficient vegetable and happens to be on the Clean 15 list so no need to stress over affordable organic cabbage. A head of cabbage will cost you a few dollars and can be stretched for several recipes. What's even better is that cabbage has an extended shelf life and can last weeks in the refrigerator without spoiling. Unlike romaine or other lettuces which generally has to be consumed within days of purchase, cabbages last much longer. Just peel back any outer leaves that have wilted or browned and use the rest of the cabbage as desired.
- Health benefits of cabbage. It has the fewest calories and fat than any other vegetable. Cabbage is a great source of vitamins C, K, dietary fiber and other nutrients. It is naturally low carb with only 4 grams of carbohydrates in one cup of shredded cabbage. No wonder this brassica vegetable has become a regular staple in low carb and keto diets recently.
- Cabbage is delicious. This is subjective but depending on how it's prepared and seasoned, cabbage is quite delicious. When cooked, cabbage has a very mild flavor and can be used as a "filler" vegetable. We can add more veggies to a dish without drastically changing the flavor when we add cabbage.
Given all of those claims, it's safe to say cabbage is a unicorn of vegetables. Ha!
Cabbage and Cucumber Slaw
Coleslaw is sliced or shredded cabbage. Slaw (without the cole) can feature any crunchy vegetable in lieu of cabbage, including broccoli, carrots, and jicama.
Using those distinctions, it's appropriate to say that this is Cabbage and Cucumber Slaw (not coleslaw) because we are primarily using two main vegetables. So call it slaw or salad, it's essentially the same thing in this particular case.
But speaking of slaws, you may enjoy this delicious recipe Avocado Cabbage Slaw made with a few more ingredients that what we're looking at today.
How to Make Cabbage Cucumber Salad
This salad (or slaw) consists of 5 simple ingredients.
- Cabbage: half of cabbage head, shredded or thinly sliced
- Cucumbers: either 2 Persian cucumbers or one English cucumber, sliced in half moons
- Fresh dill: fresh is always best for it's pungent and refreshing scent
- Green onions: this is best fresh too!
- Lemon juice + other seasonings: salt and pepper and your choice of oil is all that is needed to complete this salad
Combine these simple ingredients together for a refreshing and healthy salad. This salad is so simple that I find it's unnecessary combine the dressing separately. You can add the lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper directly into the salad and combine to mix well.
What's the best way to shred cabbage?
"Shredded" cabbage is simply cabbage sliced into shreds. You can't "shred" cabbage as you would a red leaf lettuce, for example. However, the idea is to thinly slice cabbage to create lots of surface area of the cabbage strips.
You can easily "shred" cabbage with a mandolin slicer (watch those fingers!) and the fine ribbons of cabbage give a more delicate texture to this salad. No slicer? No worries, just chop as finely as you can.
Can you use prepackaged coleslaw mix?
In short, yes. It will not, however, produce the best results. Because we often use cabbage in our recipes, I typically have packages of coleslaw in our refrigerator. It's not ideal because the flavor and texture is simply not the same, but it does work in a pinch.
For best results, use a fresh head of cabbage and shred or slice yourself. You won't regret the extra effort! If prepacked coleslaw is all you got the energy or time for - use that with no regrets!
Cabbage Salad is a Great Make-Ahead Salad
This salad is a great choice for big parties as it holds up really well when prepared in large amounts.
Because it does not contain any cream-based ingredients like sour cream or mayonnaise, it's also great during summer months. Therefore, it's a great option for BBQs, graduation celebrations, and pool parties.
You can even prepare all the ingredients together, except for the salt and pepper and wet ingredients and store it in the refrigerator for days leading up to the party. Then add salt and pepper, lemon juice and oil just before serving.
This Cabbage Salad is great as a leftover salad!
Even if you happen to have leftovers, this salad will still be okay long after the party is over if kept in the refrigerator. Unlike many lettuce salads (like Caesar Salad), this cabbage salad has a long shelf life when properly stored in the refrigerator. In fact, some prefer to allow the flavors to meld together and cabbage to soften a bit. I wouldn't go beyond 4 days of leftover Cabbage Cucumber Salad though.
Low Carb Cabbage & Cucumber Salad
- Discard soft outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut through the cabbage in half and cut again in half, making quarters. Reserve one half of cabbage for another recipe.
- Cut diagonally the cabbage core and discard. Shred or thinly slice cabbage. Transfer shredded cabbage into a medium mixing bowl.
- Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise and then across, making half moons. Chop finely fresh dill and green onions. Transfer to bowl.
- Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and oil of choice directly to salad and mix to combine well.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. See notes if wanting longer storage time.
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This post was originally published in May 2017 but has since been updated to include helpful information.