Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw

4.45 from 20 votes
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Take your tastebuds on a tanalizing journey with this Asian Coleslaw recipe! Vibrant Napa cabbage, crunchy snow peas, and zesty radishes dance in a creamy soy dressing. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and savory flavors in every refreshing bite.

A close up of a bowl of salad, with Cabbage

 

Inspired by the vibrant cuisines of Asia, this coleslaw takes the classic side dish to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Crisp Napa cabbage, sweet snow peas, and peppery radishes form the foundation of this colorful medley. But the real magic lies in the irresistible dressing. It’s a creamy blend of soy sauce, white wine vinegar, and sesame oil, elevated by the aromatic allure of garlic and ginger. 

This delightful slaw is not only super easy to make, but it’s also a lighter option that’s extra-nutritious when paired with a protein. While there’s some chopping involved, the effort is well worth it. And don’t worry about leftovers. Make some Asian Chicken Wraps or toss any additional cabbage into Chicken Lo Mein, and you’ll have a week’s worth of healthy lunches on deck.

Why You’ll Love This Asian Coleslaw

  • Guilt-Free – With fresh ingredients, this Asian slaw is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s perfect for a filling and wholesome lunch or side dish. 
  • Crowd-Pleaser – Whether hosting a get-together or attending a potluck, this unique twist on a classic will be a hit—all thanks to its vibrant colors and delectable flavors.
  • Simple and Convenient – The most challenging part of the recipe is simply chopping up all the veggies! It’s quick, easy, and (almost) effortless.
A bowl of salad, with Cabbage

What You’ll Need

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for the FULL PRINTABLE recipe card.

For The Slaw

  • Napa Cabbage – Napa cabbage forms the base of the slaw, providing a crisp and slightly sweet flavor. It’s a tender cabbage with crinkled leaves that hold the dressing well to ensure every bite is as flavorful as the last. 
  • Snow Peas – Snow peas add a delightful crunch and a fresh, slightly sweet taste to the slaw. They’re essential because they provide texture and vibrant color to the dish. However, snap peas are a suitable substitute if needed.
  • Radishes – Radishes give a peppery kick and satisfying crunch to the coleslaw. The slightly spicy yet refreshing flavor balances the other ingredients. 
  • Green Onions – In the grocery store, you may find green onions labeled as “scallions.” They provide a mild onion flavor that won’t overpower the coleslaw.
  • Cilantro Leaves – Cilantro infuses the recipe with a bright, herbaceous note that adds freshness and depth. Use fresh cilantro for the best flavor. Some people’s genetics cause them to taste soap when they eat cilantro—if you’re in that group, use Thai basil or mint leaves instead. 
  • Sliced Almonds – Almonds add a toothsome texture and nutty flavor that contrasts the crisp vegetables deliciously. You can toast the almonds for an even more nuanced and elevated flavor. Or, swap in toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts for an alternative nutty element in the coleslaw.

For The Creamy Soy Dressing

  • Sugar – Sugar adds a touch of sweetness to balance the savory and umami flavors of the dressing. Alternatively, you could use honey or maple syrup as natural substitutes for sugar. Feel free to adjust the quantity based on your desired level of sweetness.
  • White Wine Vinegar – The mild acidity of this vinegar enhances the dressing’s tanginess and brightens the flavor of the coleslaw. You could use rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar as substitutes. 
  • Soy Sauce – Soy sauce is the foundation of this dressing because of its intense umami flavor. If you need a gluten-free option, try tamari sauce or coconut aminos. 
  • Garlic – Use freshly minced garlic for the best flavor. Pre-minced garlic isn’t as aromatic as a fresh clove.
  • Ginger – Zesty and spicy, ground ginger gives this coleslaw a kick.
  • Sesame Oil – Sesame oil has a nutty and distinctive flavor characteristic of Asian cuisine. It elevates the coleslaw and gives it an authentic taste.
  • Cayenne Pepper – You can use red pepper flakes or chili powder instead of cayenne. Adjust the amount to suit your spice level, or omit it altogether if you don’t like heat. 
  • Mayo – Mayo creates the creamy base for the dressing. It allows the dressing to coat the vegetables evenly with a smooth, satisfying, and rich texture. For a vegan or egg-free option, consider using vegan mayo or blended silken tofu to achieve a similarly creamy texture.

How To Make Asian Coleslaw

  • Get chopping! Slice, dice, and shred all the veggies, herbs, and nuts into bite-sized morsels. Toss them all into a large mixing bowl.
  • Make the dressing. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients except for the mayo. Once they’re all well combined, whisk in the mayo until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.
  • Mix it all together. Start by folding ⅔ of the dressing into the veggies. Then, add additional dressing as needed until the slaw is fully coated. 
  • Garnish and serve. Top with almonds and a decorative drizzle of dressing before serving.
A bowl of salad, with Cabbage and Napa cabbage

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Save time. Buy pre-packaged shredded cabbage, or use a mandolin for quick and consistent shreds. 
  • Simplify the steps. If you have a personal-sized blender like a Magic Bullet or Nutri Bullet, add all the dressing ingredients to the blender. Then, blend until smooth. 
  • Customize the spice level. Adjust the heat of the dressing by increasing or reducing the amount of cayenne pepper. Alternatively, you could use a milder chili powder. For a kid-friendly version, omit the cayenne altogether.
  • Protein Boost: Add grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make the coleslaw a complete meal. You can marinate the protein with the same ing

Can I Make This Salad Ahead Of Time

Absolutely! This coleslaw is an excellent make-ahead dish. Prepare the vegetables and dressing separately and store them in the refrigerator. Toss the veggies with the dressing before serving to keep the coleslaw crisp and fresh.

Can I Make This Coleslaw Vegan or Gluten-Free

To make the dressing vegan-friendly, use vegan mayo or blend silken tofu as a creamy substitute. Additionally, use tamari sauce or coconut aminos instead of traditional soy sauce for a gluten-free and vegan option.

How To Serve

This really is a great side dish for just about any meal! Grilling burgers, steak, chicken etc. Or here are a few great ideas!

More Summer Side Dish Recipes

Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw - a crunchy cabbage slaw salad with lots of veggies and a creamy asian style soy dressing. Great for lunches, get togethers or with your next barbecue.
4.45 from 20 votes

Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw

By Erin

Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw – a crunchy cabbage slaw salad with lots of veggies and a creamy Asian style soy dressing. Great for lunches, get togethers or with your next barbecue.

Prep: 30 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 

Slaw

  • 1 pound napa cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 12 oz snow peas, ,thinly sliced
  • 1 1/3 cups radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds

Creamy Soy Dressing

  • 1 cup mayo
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minded
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl toss together all of the veggies for the slaw.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together sugar, white wine vinegar, and soy sauce together. Mix in garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and cayenne pepper. Whisk in mayo until smooth and creamy.
  • Mix about 2/3rds of the dressing with the salad. Add more if needed.
  • Add almonds before serving.

Notes

You can make this salad ahead of time. Just store the dressing separate, and add when you are ready to serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 303mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 284
Like this recipe? Leave a comment below!

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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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3 Comments

  1. So many good ingredients in one bowl! I don’t mind a bit of chopping – if I’m really lazy I’ll just use my food processor – especially not when I can eat from it for the rest of the week. With bikini season arriving I’ve been trying to make healthier choices too, and cabbage salads (or steamed cabbage!) is one of my favourite ways to do so!

  2. Wow!I love all the additions going on in this salad bowl. Will use the dressing for my regular coleslaw. Yum!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! I added veggies I had on hand – avocado, carrots, left over cooked chicken breast, dried cranberries; and my daughter made the dressing with half the mayo, and it was still amazing! Definitely a recipe I”ll reach for when I get a Napa cabbage in our CSA!