Sweet Crunch Winter Salad

$4.58 recipe / $1.15 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.83 from 28 votes
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It’s about this time every year that I start craving fresh vegetables. Between all the holiday food, football food, and generally heavy, slow cooked winter dishes, I need something light and fresh! Unfortunately a lot of fresh produce is out of season in February, so it’s hard to get that fresh flavor I crave affordably. So, I turned to my “hardy vegetables” this week and made a colorful, super crunchy chopped salad with a sweet and savory tahini based dressing. This Sweet Crunch Winter Salad is half salad, half slaw, and 100% deeelish! 

Sweet Crunch Winter Salad

A big bowl of Sweet Crunch Winter Salad with a jar of salad dressing near by

Maple Tahini Dressing

If you like my Lemon Tahini Dressing from my Roasted Cauliflower Salad, you’ll probably like the Maple Tahini Dressing I made for this salad. It has the same base flavors, but I made it a little sweeter with the addition of a touch of maple syrup and I toned down the garlic by using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic cloves. If real maple syrup is out of your budget, you can substitute honey or agave syrup in its place, although maple has a wonderfully deep flavor that I love as a compliment to the tahini. I use maple syrup very sparingly and it lasts pretty much forever, so this is one of those ingredients where a high price tag can be justified.

Mix it Up!

I suggest mixing up the vegetables for this salad and keeping them undressed in your refrigerator all week, adding the dressing just before serving each day. All of these vegetables are super hardy and have a low water content, which makes them great for storage in the refrigerator. You can switch things up and add to this salad to make it more meal-worthy by adding something like fried tofu cubes, chopped grilled chicken, or maybe even some crumbled goat cheese. It’s pretty flexible! :)

How to Store Sweet Crunch Winter Salad

If you like your vegetables to stay extra crunchy, store the dressing separately from the vegetable, nut, and fruit mixture. I kind of like how the vegetables soften a bit, so I prefer to store mine already dressed. If you store the salad dressed, make sure to stir the salad well before serving the leftovers to redistribute the dressing and all the flavors. The refrigerated salad will stay good in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days undressed and about 3-4 days dressed.

Close up of a forkful of Sweet Crunch Winter Salad with the bowl in the background

Sweet Crunch Winter Salad

4.83 from 28 votes
When fresh vegetables are in short supply, make this Sweet Crunch Winter Salad packed full of winter vegetables and a homemade Maple Tahini Dressing. 
When fresh vegetables are in short supply, make this Sweet Crunch Winter Salad packed full of winter vegetables and a homemade Maple Tahini Dressing. BudgetBytes.com
Servings 4 2 cups each
Prep 20 mins
Cook 0 mins
Total 20 mins

Ingredients

Maple Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini ($0.85)
  • 1/4 cup water ($0.00)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.09)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup ($0.30)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • pinch cayenne pepper ($0.02)

Salad

  • 3 cups chopped purple cabbage (1/2 lb) ($0.97)
  • 3 cups finely chopped broccoli (1 large crown, .75 lbs) ($1.13)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded ($0.36)
  • 2 green onions, sliced ($0.25)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted) ($0.20)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries ($0.38)

Instructions 

  • To prepare the dressing, combine the tahini, water, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne in a bowl or jar. Whisk the ingredients together, or place a lid on your jar and shake until incorporated. Set the dressing aside.
  • Finely chop the cabbage and broccoli, then place them in a bowl. Peel and shred the carrot and slice the green onions. Add the carrots, green onion, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries to the bowl with the cabbage and broccoli. Stir until everything is evenly combined. This mixture can be refrigerated for 4-5 days, undressed.
  • To serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad mixture and then stir until everything is well coated. You want to use a generous amount of dressing, making sure everything is liberally coated, similar to a coleslaw.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 171.58kcalCarbohydrates: 17.95gProtein: 4.7gFat: 9.63gSodium: 163.05mgFiber: 3.65g
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How to Make Sweet Crunch Winter Salad – Step by Step Photos

Maple Tahini Dressing in jar

Begin by preparing the Maple Tahini Dressing. In a bowl or jar combine 1/4 cup tahini, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Shake or whisk until the ingredients are incorporated, then set the dressing aside.

Crunchy Vegetables

These are the vegetables I used for the salad. Because all of these vegetables have a fairly low water content, they hold up really well in the fridge (and have a great CRUNCH factor!). I only used half of that cabbage.

Sweet Crunch Winter Salad Ingredients in bowl

FINELY chop the cabbage and broccoli. That is key. They need to be chopped into very small pieces! You should have about 3 cups of each once chopped. Peel and shred the carrot, and slice two green onions. Add all of those to a large bowl along with 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds and 1/3 cup dried cranberries. 

Sweet Crunch Winter Salad mixed

Stir all of those ingredients together. This mixture can be refrigerated and kept for about 4-5 days, which makes this a great meal prep salad!

Add Dressing to Sweet Crunch Winter Salad

And then when you’re ready to serve, just plate it up and drizzle a generous amount of dressing over top! You really want a good amount of dressing on this one. With super crunchy, low moisture vegetables like this you need a liberal amount of dressing to help keep things moist. Plus it’s really yummy. Enjoy!

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  1. I added a can of chickpeas to bulk up the protein, but oh my goodness this is yummy.

    Here are some high points: 

    – The dressing is out of this world good!  Nutty and sweet with a hint of tang from the lemon.
    – Maybe took me 10 minutes to throw together. If you’re looking for a fast meal prep recipe, this is it. 
    – This recipe is almost all vegan staples so you’re not buying stuff you’ll never use again. Higher ticket items like sunflower seeds, maple syrup, dried cranberries, and tahini are always in my cupboard as I use them for a variety of meals. I only had to buy the fresh veggies.
    – Red cabbage, carrot, and broccoli really hold up well in the fridge with dressing on. I put dressing on two days ago and everything is still crunchy. 
    – You feel good after eating this! I have so much energy!
    – Don’t leave out green onion! It really adds flavor.

    Thanks for the great recipe. I’m really enjoying it and am adding it to my lunch rotation :)

  2. I just made this again. Best half hour I have spent this week. I was short on sunflower seeds so added some pepitas too. Thank you for all your recipes…budget friendly, approachable, flexible, and just plain delicious. Really grateful for your work.

  3. This sounds amazing! Can you please explain to me what kind of tahini do you use? The unprepared kind? And do you mix it up with the oil first and then add the half cup water? Thank you

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by unprepared, but yes, it generally does need to be stirred first (like natural peanut butter) before I measure it out and add it to the recipe. :)

  4. Hi! I want to make this this week for meal prep. would you add the ramen noodles RIGHT before serving each day? or ok to add them with the meal prepping (it might be like 5 days in advance of actually eating it) – how would you go about this? thx!

    1. I’d wait until day of since they’ll keep absorbing and get mushy :)

  5. Everything I’ve made from this site (and I’ve made a lot) has been delicious and this is no exception! It seems indulgent somehow even though it’s super healthy. Food for days in only 15 minutes. Thanks again!!

  6. I used to hate salads because they tasted so dull, but wow, this one is SO tasty. My partner and I have eaten this for lunch for two weeks so far. Personally, I prefer it without the cranberries, but my partner loves them included. It’s a lot of chopping, but so worth it when you have lunch sorted for a week.

  7. added some spinach and some toasted spiced chickpeas to bulk it up a bit, and I used walnuts instead of sunflower seeds since it’s what I had on hand. I’m looking forward to having this all week for lunch. Thank you!

    1. Such a good idea! I was just thinking of what to do to add a little carbs! I was also thinking maybe of doing some diced sweet potato too…but chickpeas are easier ha ha!