Asian Coleslaw

By Sally Cameron on June 03, 2014

gluten-free, Salads and Dressings, Side Dishes, the daniel plan,


Colorful, cool and crunchy. Try giving your next batch of this classic cabbage salad a healthy Asian twist with a creamy almond butter based dressing. It pairs wonderfully with grilled meats, seafood, or just about anything. Yep. This is one awesome summer side dish. And you can slice all of the veggies ahead of time and dress when you want to save time.

Asian Coleslaw |

Asian Coleslaw: Skip the Mayo

While there are as many coleslaw recipes as there are cooks, my version replaces the gloppy mayonnaise-based dressing often used for a creamy dressing made with almond butter, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, and vinegar. You can find the dressing recipe here.

Party on a Plate

With all of the bright colors, this coleslaw looks like an explosion of confetti. Not just cabbage, this salad has lots of veggies. Where there is color, there is health. I’ve used three kinds of cabbage for this slaw: Napa cabbage plus your standard green and purple varieties. Look for small heads for the green and purple. Not familiar with Napa cabbage? It’s terrific.

About Napa Cabbage

Napa cabbage is also called Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, Peking cabbage, hakusai and wong bok, so it can be a little confusing at the market. It’s a large, heavy, sort of oval football shaped head of large, pale green, crinkly leaves. The flavor is mild and the texture is nice and crisp. It’s a good source of vitamin A, folic acid and potassium.

Asian Coleslaw |

Prepping Napa Cabbage

When preparing Napa cabbage for this slaw, break or cut leaves from the bottom of the head.  Cut out the ‘v’ shaped core in the center of each leaf, then pile the softer leaves together and chop them crosswise into thin ribbons.

Besides coleslaw, Napa cabbage is good for sautéing, using raw in tacos or using as a kind of shell to pile other ingredients. Use extra Napa cabbage leaves instead of Romaine for these Asian Lettuce Wraps made with ground turkey.

Asian Coleslaw |
Print Recipe

Asian Coleslaw

Colorful and crunchy, this cole slaw is dressed with a creamy almond butter dressing with Asian flavors of ginger, garlic and sesame. Make it all ahead and toss with dressing when ready to serve. Great along side grilled chicken or steak and packs great for a picnic or party.
Servings 6


  • 6-8 large leaves Napa cabbage sliced, 3 cups
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage 4 cups thinly sliced
  • 1/4 small head purple cabbage 1 cup thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1 red bell pepper 1 cup thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or more
  • 1/3 cup Asian almond butter dressing see recipe link below


  1. Trim white “v” core out of Napa cabbage leaves with a sharp knife. Gather softer part of leaves together and slice crosswise into thin strips or ribbons. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Lay green and red cabbage flat and slice thinly into ribbons. Grate carrots on large hole of box grater. Slice peppers into thin strips (see post for photo help). Add all to bowl with Napa cabbage, along with chopped cilantro. Toss with almond butter dressing and serve.

Recipe Notes

Raw sliced vegetables will keep tightly wrapped for about 5 days, so slice everything ahead and dress when you eat. A great make-ahead dish.

Link to the dressing is here, its' called Asian almond butter sauce, but I use it for this recipe as a dressing. 


Leave a Comment
Chris | 06/07/2014 at 12:38 pm

Delicious! Thank you for this recipe. To make it my own I added a little green onion to the finished tossed salad and some roasted almond slivers. I served it with seared Seasame crusted Ahi tuna. You can add a little Wasabi to some dressing in a bowl to dip tuna. Made a great, light summer meal.

    Sally | 06/07/2014 at 5:15 pm

    Sounds perfect Chris! Green onions is a great addition. Thanks much for reporting back.

susan | 02/08/2015 at 1:01 am

Show a much smaller color photo. This wastes a lot of ink. Then list the ingredients and the directions. The tips on prepping the cabbage and skipping the mayo are VERY helpful.

    Sally Cameron | 02/09/2015 at 3:38 am

    Hi Susan, thanks for your comment. My old site had an option to print with photos or not. My new site (this one), which just launched a week ago, has only “print recipe” and it prints in black and white, so I might not be understanding your problem.

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