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: 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.
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 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.
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.
- 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.