Thanksgiving meal planning inevitably revolves around how to roast a golden bird or nail a perfect pie crust. The notion of a salad at the holiday table is usually an afterthought, unless it’s one involving jello, mini marshmallows, or canned mandarins. But your Thanksgiving table NEEDS salad, people. All the heaviness of the meal — from the buttery mash to the rich gravy, creamed onions, and whatever kinda crazy business your family works into sweet potatoes — demands the balance and coolness of a fresh, seasonal salad.

This Colorful Cabbage Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cranberries is the perfect counterpoint to all the Thanksgiving classics. It’s crisp and bright, and can be made a day ahead if need be. It’s also killer the next day piled onto a leftover turkey sandwich with a swipe of mayo and a spoonful of cranberry sauce. And while Thanksgiving is hardly the time to be talking nutrition, the cabbage and walnuts in this slaw mean it’s mega nourishing (though I’m not sure it will do much to offset the impact of what else is on your dinner plate).

A few pointers on shredding cabbage will take all the work out of this recipe. Here’s how: 1) Cut the cabbage right down the middle through the stem. 2) Lay the cabbage cut-side-down on a cutting board and cut in half again through the stem 3) Trim out the little wedge of core 4) Cut the cabbage into thin slices

Colorful Cabbage Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cranberries

Colorful Cabbage Salad with Apples, Walnuts, and Cranberries


  • 1/2 medium green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium unpeeled crisp apple such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Put the green cabbage, red cabbage, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and onion into a large bowl and mix well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, celery seed, and salt. Pour over the cabbage and toss well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Adapted from a recipe by Sharon Kramis

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  1. Monica
    11.16.2012 at 7:11 AM #

    This is gorgeous and definitely going to be part of my Thanksgiving celebration, since while I love the traditional Thanksgiving fare, everything is BROWN. So this will be a beautiful pop of color and flavor! Thanks for your inspiration!

    • katiemorford
      11.16.2012 at 9:54 AM #

      Oh great…it definitely brightens up the table and is super yummy.

  2. Erin
    11.23.2012 at 11:34 AM #

    Hi Katie!

    I made this a few hours before our family Thanksgiving dinner and it turned out well. I have to say though…after tasting it today I wish I would have made it the day before. After sitting overnight this salad isn’t just good, it is fabulous!!! I was worried about the cabbage getting soggy but it was as crunchy as ever for lunch today! My husband and I were standing in front of the fridge with our forks digging in the big salad bowl…we didn’t even bother to get bowls because we knew we were going to polish it off! Thank you for yet another fantastic recipe!

    • katiemorford
      11.23.2012 at 1:37 PM #

      Aw, thanks Erin. I did the same…fork digging right into the leftovers. The salad is also excellent piled into a turkey sandwich.

  3. Erin
    11.29.2012 at 7:28 PM #

    I made another batch just to try it on turkey sandwiches and you were absolutely right! Delicious! We had some leftovers since I doubled the recipe and we put it on our bbq pulled chicken sandwiches tonight…that was amazing too! Thanks again!

    • katiemorford
      11.29.2012 at 10:31 PM #

      BBQ chicken sandwiches + cabbage salad sounds divine!

  4. Jenna
    05.30.2014 at 6:15 PM #

    Will apples go brown if prepared the day before?

    • katiemorford
      05.31.2014 at 7:57 AM #

      Hi Jenna

      As I recall, they don’t really brown, perhaps because of the vinegar in the salad. If you want to be certain, you can immerse the apple slices in a bowl of lemon water before you add them to the salad.


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