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Nov 25, 2023

Green Cabbage, Apple, Fennel, Watercress, and Pecan Salad

This Green Cabbage, Apple, Fennel, Watercress, and Pecan Salad is perfect for fall and winter. 

Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans on a dinner plate.

This is a simple salad filled with fresh ingredients and topped with a generous helping of toasted pecans. 

I love fresh cabbage salads. They are so crunchy and hearty, and they hold up so well to being dressed in advance. No worries about wilting lettuce. This is really handy when you are entertaining. Rather than going through a lot of last minute fuss, just toss the salad in advance, cover it, and stick it in the refrigerator to serve later. It will stay fresh for at least a day.... even if you forget the salad and discover it in the refrigerator after your guests leave, which has never, ahem, happened in my house. 

Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans with the dressing in a jar on the side.

This cabbage and apple salad with pecans is a great first course when serving a warm and comforting stew or soup... this salad is also a great side dish for any meat, fish, or poultry. You can also enjoy it as a light meal, especially after a calorie laden holiday.


Green Cabbage: You'll love how long it stays fresh and crispy in your vegetable bin. You could also mix in some red cabbage for some extra color. 

Apple: The apple in this salad provides and extra crunch and sweetness, the perfect balance to the lemony dressing. I used a Granny Smith apple, which is green and tart. I left the peel on the apple, but you can remove it if you like. For more color, you can add a tart reddish skinned apple such as a Fuji or Braeburn.

I tossed the apple slices in fresh lemon juice after slicing, which prevented the slices from turning brown. Using this trick helped the apple slices last for days without browning and didn't really affect the flavor of the apple. You could also use orange juice if you prefer and are worried about the sourness of the lemon. 

Fennel: You will need one medium-sized fresh fennel bulb. You can save the fronds for garnishing the salad if you like. 

Watercress: You can usually buy this in bunches that are tied together. This ingredient is probably the most labor-intensive. Trim the leaves from the stems, wash them, and give them a spin in the salad spinner or dry them on paper towels. 

Watercress is considered pretty densely nutitious and is a member of the cruciferous family of veggies (like kale). 

Bowl of Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans.

Pecans: I used already chopped pecan pieces for this salad. I toasted them in the toaster oven, but you can also toast them in a sauté pan. Toast them until they are just fragrant. Watch them closely, because they can burn and turn bitter pretty quickly.

For the Dressing: You will need lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and lemon zest. If you don't have a home grown lemon for the zest, be sure to thoroughly wash the rind to remove any coating added by the producer before zesting. 

Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans on a plate.

This salad is super easy to assemble. Just prep the cabbage, fennel, and watercress and toss them all together. 

Core and slice the apple, toss it with lemon juice, and add it to the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients. 

Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients to emulsify. Alternatively, you can shake them together in a jelly jar or combine them in a mini food processor. 

Finally, toast the pecans and reserve them for topping the salad. 

Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans on a plate.

Equipment You May Need (or Want):

I used a v-slicer to get really thin and even slices of apple and fennel.   

To emulsify the salad dressing, a small whisk, small jelly jar (which are also great for making slow cooker Starbucks-style egg bites), or a mini food processor are all effective. 


As mentioned above, this salad will stay fresh and crunchy for at least a day even if you add the dressing. Just keep the toasted pecans in a separate container for sprinkling over each serving. 

This salad will last for even longer, a few days, if you add the dressing at the last minute. 

Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans in a glass bowl.

This recipe was originally published November, 2015 and updated November, 2023. 

Salads with Pecans You May Also Enjoy: 

Cabbage Salad with Braeburn Apples and Spiced Pecans

Apple and Bacon and Red Cabbage Salad with Pecans

Zucchini Parmesan Salad with Pecans 

Thai Cabbage Salad with Peanuts (okay, not pecans, but still delicious)

Perfect Pecan Recipes

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Green Cabbage, Apple, Fennel, Watercress, and Pecan Salad in a glass bowl.

Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans

Green Cabbage and Apple Salad with Watercress and Pecans
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinTotal time: 20 Min
This Green Cabbage, Apple, Fennel, Watercress, and Pecan Salad is perfect for fall and winter.


  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 6 cups (about 1/2 medium) cored, quartered, and thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 3 ounces of watercress (approximately one bunch), trimmed from stems and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans


  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice with the lemon zest, mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Alternatively, add all of the ingredients to a jar, and shake briskly to emulsify.
  2. Toss the apple slices in two tablespoons of lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Add the cabbage, fennel, and watercress to a large serving bowl and toss. Add the apples.
  4. Pour the dressing (plus salt and pepper to taste) over the salad and toss. Sprinkle with the pecans and serve.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

13 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

2 g

Carbs (grams)

13 g

Fiber (grams)

5 g

Net carbs

9 g

Sugar (grams)

7 g

Protein (grams)

2 g

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg
cabbage, pecans, watercress, fennel
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Would you like to comment?

  1. what a great salad! Your post made me think of a dip I once made for a party. It was a take on the spinach artichoke dip, but this one much much lighter and used firm tofu as the base. I was very curious to try the recipe because it came from a great blog. Of course, I found the dip, still covered on the side of the sink at the end of the party, when I was just starting to clean it all up. Big "palm to the forehead moment" ....

    Not that this type of stuff ever happened to you and a certain salad, of course not... ;-)

    1. What a wonderful sounding recipe! I received fennel bulbs in my CSA vegetable box and tried to make a fennel salad so I will definitely give this a go. So many great nutrients and loaded with fiber.

  2. This looks so refreshing and light! I love it!THank you for sharing it with us at our Spring Salad Link Party!

  3. I never know what to do with fennel but adding it to this salad sounds like a great idea!

    1. It adds a nice crunch and works so well with the lemony dressing.

  4. What a beautiful and healthy salad!


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