Colorful Asian Coleslaw with Creamy Almond Dressing

By Sally Cameron on July 26, 2019

Gluten-Free, Paleo, Salads and Dressings, Side Dishes, the daniel plan, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

The perfect side dish for hot summer weather. Cool, colorful and crunchy, my Asian Coleslaw is a tasty change-up to standard all-cabbage coleslaw. With an Asian-inspired almond butter dressing it pairs wonderfully with grilled meats, seafood, or burgers. Slice all of the veggies ahead of time then dress when you want to serve. Try it for your next picnic or summer cookout.

Asian Coleslaw |

Asian Coleslaw: Skip the Mayo

While there are as many coleslaw recipes as there are cooks, my version replaces mayonnaise-based dressing with a creamy, Asian-inspired dressing made of almond butter (or cashew), ginger, garlic, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce (or tamari for GF), and rice vinegar. For a no-soy version, use coconut aminos.

Ingredient Notes

With so many bright colors, this coleslaw looks like an explosion of confetti. It has has lots of veggies, and where there is color, there is health.  I’ve used three kinds of cabbage for this slaw: Napa cabbage plus standard green and purple varieties. Look for small heads for the green and purple. Not familiar with Napa cabbage? Find more info at this link. It’s available at most grocery stores.

Napa Cabbage | Afoodcentriclife

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 football shaped head with 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.

How to Prep Napa Cabbage

When prepping Napa cabbage for this slaw, break or cut leaves from the bottom of the head. Cut the center ‘V’ shaped core out 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 shell to pile other ingredients. Use extra Napa cabbage leaves instead of Romaine for these Asian Lettuce Wraps made with ground turkey.

Asian Coleslaw |

Finishing Your Asian Coleslaw

In addition to the Napa, green and purple cabbage, add red (even yellow and orange) bell peppers, grated carrot and cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro, use Italian parsley. For the dressing, use a blender or stir dressing ingredients until smooth in a bowl. For small batches of things I use the Tribest Personal Glass Blender. It comes with handy small containers and lids, perfect for things like dressing.

Updated 7-22-19

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.
Course Salad
Cuisine Asian
Servings 6



  • 8 large leaves Napa cabbage sliced, 3 cups
  • 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage about half a head
  • 1 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage about a 1/4 of a head
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots 3 medium
  • 1 cup red bell pepper (or red and yellow) thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • 2 tablespoons creamy almond butter or cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons light flavored oil of choice melted coconut or grapeseed
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger or pureed ginger from jar
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey


To Make the Coleslaw

  • 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.
  • 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.

To Make the Dressing

  • Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth, or use a blender. Thin with a little warm water if it's too thick. Toss with slaw before serving with just enough dressing to coat leaves to your preference. Extra keep well, covered and refrigerated for a week. You'll need about 1/3 cup for the slaw.


Raw sliced vegetables will keep for a few days well wrapped and refrigerated, so slice everything ahead and dress when you eat. It's a great make-ahead dish.
  1. Chris - June 7th, 2014

    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.

  2. Sally - June 7th, 2014

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

  3. susan - February 8th, 2015

    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.

  4. Sally Cameron - February 9th, 2015

    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.

  5. Karen - January 30th, 2018

    The coleslaw is very good and a nice change from so many other slaw recipes! The Asian Almond Butter Sauce was the perfect dressing! Lovely flavors? Served it with your Easy Sesame Teriyaki Chicken Thighs! A delightful meal! Thanks so much!

  6. Sally Cameron - January 31st, 2018

    Sounds like a winning combo Karen! Great idea!

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