Swedish New Year’s pizza – with cabbage! 

Today, January 1st, is the most popular day to eat take-away pizza in Sweden. Partly it’s easy to order but also its greasiness acts as a great remedy for sore heads and tired bodies.

The Vesuvio and the Capricciosa are very popular pizzas in Sweden. However, the number 1 ‘national pizza’ is the Kebab pizza – a greasy pizza with kebab meat dumped on the top.

When you order a pizza in Sweden, you will also experience a very strange bedfellow.

In Sweden, pizza is served with complimentary salad, in both restaurants and take aways. This salad is called creatively –  ‘pizza salad’ and is made of cabbage. It is a kind of coleslaw with white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. It’s fresh, crispy and a bit weird. 

This odd combination is as far as I know only offered in the Nordic countries and its origin is a bit unclear.

One theory is that when the first pizzerias opened in Sweden, the traditional tomato salad wasn’t an option due to the climate in the winter. So, subsequently the pizza baker decided to use a more available, local vegetable – the cabbage – inspired by the Croatian salad ‘kupus salata’. 

Whatever it’s origin, the pizza salad is so ingrained in the Swedish mentality, it’s become a cultural ‘classic’.  In fact, it’s hard to imagine a pizza without cabbage salad in Sweden. Especially on New Year’s Day!

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