Easy broccoli slaw recipe mixed with kale, cabbage, carrots, and chicken for a healthy salad. Fresh, crunchy vegetables are tossed with a sweet and spicy dressing. The lean protein makes this a satisfying complete meal.
This broccoli slaw is a super easy dish with nutrient-rich vegetables, tender strips of chicken, all tossed with a creamy dressing. Similar to my broccoli salad, this slaw delivers tons of crunch with sweet and spicy flavors. By utilizing the broccoli stems and florets, you can add a more interesting texture while further enhancing the health benefits.
This meal is one of my favorite convenience items at Trader Joe’s. I came across a single serving of broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken and thought it would be the perfect lunch option or side dish to serve with dinner.
With a little culinary reverse engineering, this version is even more enticing than the original store-bought version. It’s great for meal prepping, and much more affordable and heartier.
Decoding Trader Joe’s recipe
When recreating a copycat Trader Joe’s recipe at home the broccoli slaw vegetable ingredients were obvious. However, the dressing took a little ingenuity and trusting of my taste buds. The ingredient panel gives a little sneak peek to what is in the dressing and order by quantity, but the rest was up to me to reverse engineer. Let the fun begin!
Much of the mixture is small pieces of broccoli florets and thinly sliced stems. Tuscan kale, shredded carrots, and vibrant purple cabbage are also mixed into the broccoli coleslaw. If you don’t have time to shred broccoli, it’s sold at most major grocery stores already pre-cut, a nice time saver. A variety of freshly chopped vegetables brings a balance of color and maximum phytonutrient benefit.
Broccoli slaw dressing
For heartier slaw-type salads, a thick and creamy dressing is needed to coat and stick to the ingredients. An emulsified dressing is used so that there is no separation after whisking and the flavor is evenly dispersed.
The hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties of an emulsifier contribute to attracting both the oil and liquids together. This prevents a visual separation or breaking of the two layers.
A combination of mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, and chili pepper adds a smooth texture, with a tangy, sweet, and spicy kick. I often make a batch of homemade mayo and add it into the dressing.
Sunflower seeds and dried cranberries add a nice texture. The seeds add a nutty crunch, while the cranberries provide a burst of sweetness and delightful chew to balance the natural bitterness of the kale.
Toasted almonds, salted cashews, thinly sliced red onion, dried ramen noodles, chopped dates, or pepitas would be a nice addition to the salad. Have a little fun with what kind of toppings add!
To make this recipe more of an entree salad, I add lean white chicken breast. You can prepare the protein however you desire, but I recommend grilled, sautéed or roasted. I often chop up leftovers from the night before, like when I make my tequila lime chicken to toss into the broccoli slaw. Baked tofu, steak, or grilled shrimp are also tasty options.
Real food tastes good
This slaw has it all, antioxidant and fiber-rich vegetables like red cabbage, carrots, kale, broccoli stems and even some sweet cranberries, chicken and crunchy sunflower seeds for texture.
With a proper balance of protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and vegetables the salad tastes as good as it looks! The sweet and spicy dressing brings all the elements harmoniously together. It’s a tasty meal to pack for lunch, make for dinner or share at a party!
Why do some salad dressings contain stabilizers and emulsifiers?
Stabilizers like cornstarch, cellulose or xanthan gum thicken and emulsify, which is needed when combining an oil and vinegar-based dressing. Emulsifiers like lecithin in egg yolks, mustard, and honey help to keep the immiscible oil and water phases of the ingredients in a stable suspension. These ingredients help to prevent separation and give a continuous creamy dressing.
Broccoli Slaw with Chicken
- 8 ounces chicken breast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups broccoli stems, thinly shredded or purchased broccoli slaw
- 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
- 3 cups kale, thinly shredded
- 1 cup carrots, thinly shredded
- 1 cup red cabbage, thinly shredded
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup sunflowers seeds
- Preheat grill or saute pan over medium-high heat.
- Coat chicken breast in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook 6 minutes, flip over and cook another 4 to 6 minutes until no longer pink. When cooled, slice into thin strips.
- In a large bowl combine broccoli stems and florets, kale, carrots, cabbage, cranberries, sunflower seeds and chicken.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, honey and chili powder.
- Drizzle ½ cup of dressing on the mixed salad ingredients, add more as desired. Season with pepper as needed.