Broccoli slaw recipe mixed with kale, cabbage, carrots, and chicken for a healthy salad. Fresh, crunchy vegetables are tossed with a sweet & spicy dressing, and the lean protein makes this salad satisfying as a complete meal.
Broccoli slaw is an easy salad loaded with nutrient-rich vegetables, tender, lean chicken all tossed with a creamy dressing. If you are looking to spice up a boring broccoli salad, try this recipe that has tons of crunch, color and sweet and spicy flavors. When I was thinking of how to make broccoli recipes more interesting, I was inspired by a visit to my local Trader Joe’s market.
As I was roaming the produce aisle, I came across a single serving of broccoli slaw and kale salad with chicken and thought it would be the perfect lunch for the next day. I enjoyed the taste and texture of this salad so much that with a little culinary reverse engineering, I created my own version to share with you!
How To Make Broccoli Slaw
When recreating a recipe at home, or some like to call it “copycat” the broccoli slaw vegetable ingredients were pretty obvious, but the dressing took a little ingenuity and trusting 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 decode. Let the fun begin!
- Salad Ingredients: Fresh chopped vegetables that bring a balance of color for maximum phytonutrient benefit and texture from a variety of vegetables. The majority of the mixture is small pieces of broccoli florets and thinly sliced stems. It’s become so popular that you can even buy the pre-cut broccoli stems from the store, a nice time saver! I used Tuscan kale, shredded carrots, and vibrant purple cabbage to mix into slaw.
- Emulsified Dressing: Heartier slaw type salads need a more thick and creamy type dressing to coat and stick to the ingredients. An easily emulsified dressing is used so that there is no separation of the dressing after whisking and the flavor is evenly dispersed. 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!
- Toppings: You can have a little fun with what kind of toppings you add to the broccoli slaw. I chose sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. The dried cranberries add a nice burst of sweetness and chew to balance the natural bitterness of the kale. Almonds, cashews, ramen noodles, chopped dates, pepitas or other nuts and seeds would be a nice addition to the salad.
To make this recipe more of an entree, lean white chicken breast is a nice choice for added protein. You can prepare the protein however you desire, but I recommend grilled, sauteed or roasted. Since the weather is warm lately, I had barbecued some super tasty tequila lime chicken for dinner, so I just chopped some leftovers for the salad.
This salad has it all, a natural 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! I have to tell you what brought everything together was sweet and spicy dressing, all of the ingredients combined were fantastic. I hope you enjoy my version of broccoli slaw with chicken. 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 give a thicker texture and creamy mouthfeel. This is possible because stabilizers have thickening and emulsification characteristics, which is particularly useful 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. The hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties of an emulsifier contribute to attracting both the oil and liquids together, preventing a visual separation or “breaking” of the two layers. Adding emulsifiers and stabilizers help to avoid the separation and give one seamless and creamy, thick looking dressing.
- 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
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sunflowers seeds
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/8 teaspoon chili powder , add to your liking of spiciness
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, slightly 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.