Asian Cabbage Slaw is the perfect side dish, featuring napa cabbage with carrots, snow peas, and red peppers tossed in a sesame-soy asian dressing.
This Asian Cabbage Slaw recipe makes me happy just thinking about it. It’s light and colorful, and is perfect next to a variety of main courses. Planning a picnic lunch? Put some asian slaw in a tupperware next to the sandwiches. Grilling out tonight? Asian slaw goes with almost everything, and is a bang-up side for grilled fish tacos. Ever been to a potluck where there’s nothing but chips, dips, and casseroles? Yup, me too. And while I've barreled over people to get to some ruffle potato chips with onion dip, I promise that a bowl of this slaw will brighten up the entire table. (And maybe help your plate look a bit more reasonably balanced.)
So what’s in this cabbage slaw?
Cabbage, of course, but napa cabbage (also called Chinese cabbage, in many parts of the world), which is different from traditional green or red cabbage. Either of those types of cabbage could be used as a substitute, but I prefer napa cabbage because of the combination of its crunchy white stems and veins with its soft, almost feathery leaves. When you cut a napa cabbage in half lengthwise, and then cut down in thin rows, you get the perfect combination of textures. The crunchy parts stay crunchy even in dressing, but the leaves will wilt down deliciously.
This Asian slaw recipe also includes carrots, snow peas, and red bell peppers, all cut thinly and tossed with the cabbage in a light dressing made from vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if you are looking for an entirely gluten-free dish), sesame oil, and just a bit of fresh ginger. Together, these make for a tasty slaw, and adding some chopped roasted peanuts at the end takes it over the top. Try it, and I think you’ll love this dish as much as I do.
How to make Asian Cabbage Slaw
Start by prepping your ingredients. Thinly slice your cabbage and throw it into a large bowl. Cut carrots into matchstick-sized pieces, or use a vegetable peeler to peel into thin strips. Cut red bell pepper into matchsticks, and snow or snap peas into thirds. Add carrots, red pepper, and peas to large bowl. Chop peanuts, if using for a garnish.
Then combine vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and minced ginger in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly. Pour about half of the dressing into the bowl with the cabbage and vegetables. Toss, and add the rest of the dressing slowly, tasting as you go. You don’t want to end up with a slaw that is dripping in dressing. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, and the cabbage to wilt slightly. Sprinkle with the chopped roasted peanuts, if desired, and serve.
Can I make Asian Cabbage Slaw in advance?
Yes! I always make mine in advance because I like the cabbage to wilt a bit before serving. That said, you don’t want a soggy slaw. If you want to make your slaw more than a couple of hours in advance, just refrigerate the dressing separately and add it in 15-30 minutes before you want to serve it. If you have leftovers, the slaw tastes fine the next day, though it will be a bit softer than the day before.
Can cabbage slaw be frozen?
No. Napa cabbage slaw will wilt completely if frozen and then brought back to room temperature. If you want to make this dish more than a day in advance, I’d recommend starting by just making the dressing. The asian dressing will last for at least a week in the fridge until you’re ready to make the slaw.
Hope you enjoy this recipe. If you're looking for other great potluck or picnic dishes, be sure to check out my Orzo Pasta Salad with Black Beans and Corn, my Israeli Couscous with Chicken and Vegetables, or my Black Bean and Corn Salad.
- 6 c. shredded napa cabbage (about half a large cabbage)
- 1 large carrot
- 8 oz. snow peas or sugar snap peas
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 T. vegetable oil
- 1 T. rice vinegar
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 1 t. sesame oil
- 1 t. minced fresh ginger
- ¼ cup roasted peanuts, for garnish
- Put cabbage into a large bowl, then prep the rest of your ingredients.
- Cut carrot into matchstick-sized pieces, or use vegetable peeler to peel into thin strips.
- Slice snow peas or snap peas into thirds.
- Cut red bell pepper into matchsticks.
- Add carrots, peas, and red pepper to large bowl.
- Chop peanuts, if using for a garnish.
- Combine vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and minced ginger in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.
- Pour about half of the dressing into the bowl with the cabbage and vegetables. Toss, and add the rest of the dressing slowly, tasting as you go. You don’t want to end up with a slaw that is dripping in dressing.
- Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld, and the cabbage to wilt slightly.
- Sprinkle with the chopped roasted peanuts, if desired, and serve.
Asian cabbage slaw will keep for a couple of hours in the fridge. After that, it will begin to wilt more than is ideal, but the slaw will still be tasty for another day or two.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 228mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.