Swedish Language Blog

The mysterious Swedish pizza salad Posted by on Aug 27, 2010 in Culture, Uncategorized

While the rest of the world are occupied with solving the Stieg Larsson mysteries, I have found a mystery of my own.  It might be very insignificant and it probably doesn’t takes a hacker like Salander to solve it, but I would gladly have your take on it.

Anyone ever had pizza in Sweden? If not, I can tell you that a Swedish pizza, it doesn’t matter if it’s take away or in a restaurant, always  comes togehter with a salad. Agreed, it’s nothing mysterious about a side salad with your pizza, but this is a special salad, presumably as Swedish as pickled herring. We simply call it “Pizzasallad” and it consist only of white cabbage, oil, vinegar, pickled peppers and black pepper. In a restaurant, the pizza salad normally comes as a help yourself-starter in a big bowl in the middle of the table and if you buy take away you get the pizza salad in a little plastic cup. If it’s a really lousy pizza place, the salad comes in a little plastic bag…Mmm yummy!  Some eat it before, some eat it on the pizza and some has it like a side dish. In other words, no pizza without a salad in Sweden!

I got a sudden craving for this tangy, delicious salad last week when we a few of us had  pizza. I made some myself (Again, esay as pie and sorry for all these food posts, just a period of food-homesickness… ) but no one apart from me understood the beauty of it… My cooking or my weird Swedish taste buds?

Anyway, if you want to try this Swedish delicacy, here’s the simple recipe!

  • a half head of white cabbage, ca 500 g
  • one red pepper
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs white vinegar
  • salt
  • coarsely-ground pepper

Slice the cabbage finely and chop the red pepper. Make a dressing of oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and mix it with the cabbage and the pepper. Put the salad in the fridge, over nigh if possible, and enjoy!

Anyway, back to my “mystery”. Why on earth is this salad synonymous with pizza in Sweden? Or am I compeletly wrong? Does anyone else in the world munch on this together with their pizza? Or, do you eat something else with your it? And, if you’ve tried it, what do you make of it?

Have a great weekend – with lots of pizza and pizzasallad!

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  1. Karen:

    I was just in Malmö recently and had pizza there twice. The first was at a real Italian place, and we got no salad with the pizza there. But the second on was ordered as take away and we got a small plastic bag of this salad. It was similar to what we call coleslaw here in the USA. It wasn’t bad, but also not great….kind of boring. Our coleslaw is better. I have to agree about weird Swedish taste buds, though! You Swedes do eat some strange things!

  2. zuzisue:

    We have something simmilar in Poland – it’s coleslaw (cabbage, carrot, mayonnaise, vinegar, vegetable oil, sugar) and it’s very popular to order it with pizza.

    About swedish taste – it’s totally weird! xD
    Last time my boyfriend, he is swedish, made a pizza with cheese, pepperoni, olives, tomatoes and BANANA!! xD He is very tallented when it comes to cooking, but… banana?! xD

    @Karen: Here in Poland we have very very strange “chocolate pizza”. Do you have it as well in USA?

    Let’s be honest: not only Swedes have strange taste buds.;)

  3. david:

    At the pizza place we use for lunch sometimes it doesn’t contain peppers. I was really confused all the time when people called it “pizzasallad”. 🙂 For some strange reason all pizza places in Sweden must have agreed on serving only that salad with pizza.
    I think it is a real disappointment. The worst versions I have seen were with green (bitter) peppers or pineapple. But I have never been a fan of most cabbage dishes even though it is very common in Germany.
    My mother usually prepared it without peppers but with bacon, onions and caraway seeds not to forget a pinch of sugar to round it off.

  4. Kenia:

    Salad to pizza? these are news for me =) We never get it even at the best pizza places in Cuba, you can always order it, but it doesn’t come included.

    @zuzisue – shocked by the use of banana? So was I was when my boyfriend made meatballs and a yogurt based sauce to them! YOGURT mixed with food, i was like “yuck!”, but i have to admit it didn’t taste bad after all.

    Jag håller med, swedes eat kind of strange =)

  5. Mark:

    I too am addicted to this stuff. We have just moved to Sweden and while my wife is addicted to pizzas with Bernaise sauce (very strange), I myself cannot get enough of these crazy little salad pots.


  6. jennie:

    Cheers guys for all your salad inputs! Happy to hear that you are enjoying it!

    Karen, you are probably right! If you are in a proper italian restaurant, the pizza might not come with the salad. Perhaps because it is – or must be – a Swedish invention?

    Sounds pretty nasty with pineapple in it tough, I can see why that didn’t go down well, David. But bacon on the oter hand, I will defo try that! Cheers for the tips!

    But come on, chocolate pizza? That is surely weirder that banana on the pizza, isn’t it??

  7. Minty:

    Saw it- LAUGHED – tried it – barfed

    Lol no kidding, but it was horrible. I dont know how you can like it, or any Swede for that matter. Its definitely an aquired swedish taste…

    I like to put BBQ sauce or mayonnaise on my pizzas!

  8. Carmen:

    Us Finnish also serve this mystery “pizza salaati” as we call it but it happens to be a lot sweeter than the Swedish version.

  9. shima:

    I always eat pizzasallad with spaghetti.

  10. jennie:

    Minty: What on earth are you saying?? Barfed? Can’t believe it, puked from pizza salad? One of the best inventions since the internet??? Oh well, like we say in Sweden, the taste is like the butt, devided! 🙂

    Carmen: Didn’t know that, interesting! Thanks for telling!

    Shima: Ah a soulmate!! I do too, whenever I have the option. Or on sesame crisp bread… heavenly!

  11. Camilla:

    David: I have to say I LOVE pizzasalad if it contains pineapple! That is my favourite. And i am onw of those who cannot have pizza without the salad.

    Zuzisue: My favourite pizza have bananas, pineapple and curry. Sometimes shrimps. Mmm, delicious.

    Yes I am a swede. 😉

  12. Stacie Sonesson:

    OMG! I love this salad, and I thank you ever so much for the recipe. Swedish pizza is the best pizza in the world and even moreso because it’s served with this tasty salad. I miss it so much being back here in the US. (my husband is Swedish and we lived there for 2 yrs.)
    My daughter even loves this tangy salad.
    Thank you again.
    Merry Christmas…God Jul!!!!

  13. Jonas:

    I do adore this sallad, but then again, I am weird swede! I have to investigate where this recipe comes from, I’m thinking we in Scandinavia have a long tradition of fermenting and pickling things, using this for storage but also as a cooking method. Pizza in Sweden is a kind of Sweden/Turkey/Middle East influenced dish, we must have in common that we think cabbage is too tough to eat, so let the vinegar break it down overnight. I doubt there is some kind of general agreement that pizzasallad HAS to be pickled……or do I??

  14. Dan:


    This salad is awesome! I have some in my fridge constantly. I usually make a bowl with a whole cabbige, and that lasts me for a week 🙂 It only gets better after a few days in the fridge!

    I personally add a little more vinegar, and I use white wine vinegear. In addition I add a kitchen spoon, or two, of sugar. This gives a much smoother taste after some time in the fridge.

  15. Murali:

    Thanks for the recipe! I really like this salad.
    Its strange… I lived in Sweden for 2 years when I studying and I really miss the food at local pizza and kebab places.
    Swedish chicken and banana pizza and gyros tallrik are two of my favourite dishes.

  16. Mark:

    I lived in Sweden for two years and always loved the salad!! Thanks for the recipe can’t wait to make it. I think I had the best pizzas ever there too.

  17. Michael:

    I am an American of French Canadian descent, and in my last job I traveled to Taby outside of Stockholm quite often. While I don’t understand why they call it “salad” when it’s really coleslaw, I will agree it’s delicious! I also think their pizza is some of the best I’ve ever eaten!

  18. Georg:

    This is Krautsalat (cabbage salad) allright 🙂 Germans love it too, but not ever with pizza. No idea why or when Sweden started this “tradition” but we saw it both in Stockholm and in small places in Småland, so it’s fairly universal. You even get it in supermarkets, as Pizzasalad, without any pizza. Love it! 😛

  19. Unnaned:

    When I was a kid they’d always have this cheap crap in place of an actual salad buffé. Pizza salad and pineapple cubes was what we got with our food.

    • Unnaned:

      @Unnaned Clarification:
      They served it in the school canteen at lunch time.

  20. David Edwards:

    Swedish coleslaw is the absolute best. I just got back from a 2 week trip to Stockholm. IMO the Swedish coleslaw is not just synonymous with pizza, but with any “dagensratt” anywhere in Stockholm, and probably Sweden. Anyway I just love the stuff, which is what brought me to this page.

    I think one has to have very good salt, which I have in the form of Himalayan pink salt – lots of other minerals. I intend to make it with virgin olive oil.

    Tack for receptet! Enkelt och bra!

  21. ken:

    love how the acidity contrasts with the richness of the cheese and other toppings, more importantly..it adds that “crunch”!

  22. Allison Obert:

    It was fantastic. I loved it and missed it so much when I came back from vacation in Sweden

  23. Mrs C:

    As many of the pizzeria owners that I know of in Sweden are actually Czech, my guess is that that’s where the lovely pizza salad originates from..

  24. Karli:

    I find it’s the perfect compliment to a greasy cheesy pizza. You need that vinegary-ness to clear out all the guck from the pizza! Can’t wait to make some of my own!

  25. Brian:

    I came across this at a Swedish pizzeria in Kusadasi, Turkey. Pizzas were very good, but it was the salad I kept going back for!

  26. Naliandrah:

    From Wikipedia in case anyone is interested:

    The typical side order with Swedish pizza is a free “pizza salad”. 1969 Giuseppe “Peppino” Sperandio opened “Pizzeria Piazza Opera”, one of the first restaurants only serving pizza in Stockholm, Sweden. Sperandio was born in northeast Italy where a cabbage salad called “kupus salata” was a very common dish, from bordering country Croatia. This salad from his childhood, was offered as a free side dish. Eaten, while waiting for the pizza to be baked. Sperandio became Stockholm’s pizza king and had during his hey day more than 30 pizza restaurants. Today this Balkan salad (renamed to pizza salad), is as Swedish as the Dala horse. The pizza salad is made with shredded cabbage, coarse pepper and sometimes red bell pepper, slightly pickled (fermented) in vinaigrette for a few days

  27. Burrelinho:

    I know That this post is old But i wanted to tell the origin of the “pizzasallad”.

    I am not sure but i have heard That it was a person from Croatia that owned a pizzeria in Sweden for long time ago that started to serve the pizza with free pizzasallad. It was a sallad from his childhood. Also this man lived in Northeast Italy (close to Croatia) 😉

    PS. My father owns a restaurant in southeast Stockholm that is half pizzeria and half mediterraniean food. We have like 300 customers per day which is kinda good 😉

  28. Rikard Krvaric:

    Surely OREGANO must be added to the pizza salad… what Swede would make Pizza Salad without Oregano?