Recipe Review

I Tried Baked by Melissa’s Viral Green Goddess Cabbage Salad and Yes, It’s as Good as It Seems

published Jan 9, 2022
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Baked by Melissa’s Green Goddess Cabbage Salad
Credit: Sara Tane

A friend recently told me that I should check out Baked by Melissa’s TikTok because she makes incredible-looking salads. This sentence immediately confused me because when I think of Baked by Melissa, I think of those cute little boxes of cupcakes, not viral salad recipes. As it turns out, the woman behind the massively successful cupcake chain is also an enthusiastic at-home salad maker. My kind of lady! So, I did what any salad-loving disciple would do and tried out her green goddess cabbage salad for myself.

How to Make

It is very easy to make this cabbage-based salad. First, you’ll need to finely chop green cabbage, cucumbers, chives, and green onions, and then mix them together in a large bowl. To make the green goddess dressing, combine a shallot, garlic cloves, lemon juice, olive oil, rice vinegar, cashews, walnuts, nutritional yeast, basil, spinach, and chives in a high-speed blender (you could also use a food processor) until it’s emulsified and creamy. Pour this over the bowl of greens and toss until combined. Season with salt and black pepper and enjoy it with some tortilla chips.

My Honest Review

This salad was undeniably tasty. The green goddess dressing packed a serious punch — it was bright, herby, nutty, and creamy — making it a great addition to liven up the cabbage and cucumbers. I am a proud cabbage enthusiast, so I didn’t need any convincing that I would enjoy this. However, most of my cabbage endeavors involved cooked cabbage (braised, roasted, sauted, etc). I can’t say I dabble too often in eating raw cabbage, except for the occasional slaw on a fish taco. I was a little hesitant because the base of this salad was raw cabbage, but it was crunchy, vegetal, and refreshing.

The beauty of this salad was the finely chopped components. This is the kind of knife work that takes me back to culinary school. A useless fact is that this kind of cut is called a fine brunoise. I don’t mind prepping a ton of vegetables. It gives me a few extra minutes to listen to a podcast and ignore the crushing realities of life. If you’re not super confident in your knife skills, I still think you should give it a whirl. After all, practice makes perfect, and even if your cuts aren’t sheer excellence, they’ll likely be good enough.

Once I confirmed that the salad was in fact a winner, I wanted to get to the bottom of why this salad has gained the popularity (hello, almost 19 million views on TikTok) that it has. The only way to do this is to go straight to the comments — a brave expedition on the app. A lot of commenters pointed out how this salad, at first glance, looks just like guacamole (the comments that weren’t about guacamole were about farts, which I am not here to talk about today). 

Credit: Sara Tane

The people calling out that this salad looks like guac are 100 percent correct. The color and creamy texture of the dressing make it similar to an avocado, and the hearty bits of cabbage are reminiscent of a chunky guacamole. Not to mention, seeing it spooned onto a tortilla chip only adds to this avocado illusion. I would, however, like to settle any debate here because this salad tastes nothing like guacamole, and its purpose is not to act as a substitute for avocados. 

Tips for Making Baked by Melissa’s Green Goddess Cabbage

  1. You won’t need a whole head of cabbage. As written, this is a very big salad. It never ceases to amaze me just how much shredded cabbage can be cut from just one head of cabbage. I picked the smallest green cabbage I could find and I still only used half. If you’re making this salad for four or more people, you can probably go ahead and use the whole head, but if you’re like me and cooking for a party of one, I would say you’re fine to use a half (although I still made a full batch of dressing, because dressing). 
  2. Get creative with your add-ins. Like any great salad, there is a ton of opportunity to swap and add ingredients to your liking. If I wanted to turn this side dish into a full meal, I’d probably toss in some chickpeas or shredded chicken, a generous crumble of feta, and serve it over any cooked grain. If you want to crank up the heat, throw in some diced jalapeño.
  3. Use sharp knives. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of chopping to be done. Make sure your knives are sharp. Doing this with a dull knife sounds agonizing and unsafe.
  4. It’s OK to have leftovers. Leftover salad is usually pretty bad, given that the greens wilt and a lot of liquid pools at the bottom of the container. This salad, however, is made for great leftovers. The cabbage softened ever so slightly without giving off too much liquid. So, if you make a big bowl of it, know that your leftovers will be equally delicious.