This Swedish Pizza Salad is made with simple ingredients and is the perfect healthy side dish for pizza, grilled meats, and more. This vinaigrette-style cabbage salad is light, low carb, and stores well for up to a week!
We do a weekly pizza night, and I'm always wondering what I can serve as a healthy option for a side dish. A platter of fresh-cut veggies and ranch dip is definitely a go-to, but I wanted something that really complimented the flavors of pizza.
So I set out trying to find healthy, veggie-based side dishes for pizza Fridays. That's when I learned about Swedish pizza salad.
What is Swedish Pizza Salad?
Swedish Pizza Salad is a vinaigrette-style coleslaw that is made with oil, vinegar, and dried herbs. It is served whenever you order pizza in Sweden, providing a delicious side dish that is also healthy and satisfying.
I love the idea (and taste!) of this salad, as it provides a light and veggie-packed option to accompany something we typically think of as a splurge or a treat. The Swedes are definitely onto something with this one!
Reasons to Love This Recipe:
- It's light in calories, yet big in volume - making it the perfect healthy side dish for a variety of meals.
- Cabbage! This vegetable is one of the most nutrient-dense plant foods, yet is super inexpensive.
- Simple to make - you probably have all the ingredients you need on hand.
- You can make this recipe sugar-free by leaving out the sugar completely, or subbing in your favorite sweetener. Perfect for those who eat keto or low carb.
- Cabbage: You'll need half of a head of green cabbage or about 6-8 cups of finely sliced cabbage. You can wrap the other half of the head and store it in your fridge for storage - it should last a few weeks like that!
- White wine vinegar: I like to use white wine vinegar because of its signature, but mellow flavor. You could use regular white vinegar or cider vinegar instead if you prefer.
- Oil: Olive oil is my oil of choice for salads and dressings, but you can use whatever oil you prefer. Avocado oil would be another good choice.
- Seasonings: You'll need some dried oregano, basil, black pepper, and a few pinches of crushed red pepper. Traditional Swedish pizza salad uses dried herbs, so I've left that in place. Not only is it easy, but it's economical too!
- Sugar: This is an optional ingredient, but the sweetness balances the sour flavor of vinegar really well. It can easily be substituted for a sweetener of your choice, such as erythritol, honey, or maple syrup.
- Salt: A little bit of salt is massaged into the sliced cabbage to help it release its juices.
- Sharp knife or mandoline: The cabbage will need to be finely sliced. The best way to do this is with a mandoline, but a sharp knife and a little patience do the trick!
How to Make Swedish Pizza Salad
To get started, finely slice your cabbage or shred it on a mandoline. Then place it all in an oversized bowl, leaving plenty of room to work.
Massaging the Cabbage
Sprinkle the cabbage with a teaspoon of salt, and gently massage it using your hands. This distributes the salt evenly and gently presses the cabbage, which is what it needs to release any water.
Set the bowl of cabbage aside for about 5-10 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
Making the Dressing
Pour the oil into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Then add in the vinegar, sugar (or sweetener), oregano, basil, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes (if using).
Whisk the dressing ingredients together very well, tasting and adjusting for sweetness if needed.
Once the cabbage has rested for 5-10 minutes, pour in the prepared dressing and toss to combine.
Marinating the Salad
Once the dressing has been well distributed, cover the salad and place it in the fridge. Allow it to marinate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.
Marinating is optional, but it really does help improve the flavor. If you don't have time - no worries! The salad will still taste great, but the leftovers will taste even better!
After you've marinated the Swedish pizza salad for about an hour, take it out of the fridge, uncover, and serve it immediately!
I love serving it with pizza (of course!), casseroles, or anywhere you would serve a traditional creamy coleslaw.
Store any leftovers in a tightly covered bowl or airtight storage container. Swedish pizza salad stores VERY well, even better than traditional coleslaw.
Store it for up to 1 week in the fridge. It can store a bit longer than that, but it really is best within that window as the cabbage maintains its crispness and flavor.
More Easy Meal Ideas
- Sheet Pan Smoked Sausage and Peppers
- Creamy Mushroom Chicken
- Baked Feta Pasta
- Instant Pot Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken
Swedish Pizza Salad
- ½ head green cabbage finely shredded (6-8 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar or white vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Finely shred the cabbage or slice it into very thin ribbons.
- Place the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle in the salt. Massage the salt into the cabbage with your hands until it begins to release its juices. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the oil, white wine vinegar, sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Once the cabbage has rested for at least 5 minutes, add the dressing to the cabbage and toss well to combine.
- Taste and adjust the salt, pepper, and seasonings to your liking.
- Cover the salad and marinate for 1 hour (or up to 24 hours) if possible to allow the flavors to fully develop.
- Serve as a side salad with your favorite main dishes.
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