Asian Cabbage Salad
on Feb 22, 2021, Updated Apr 03, 2023
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This Asian cabbage salad is the perfect combination of ingredients. From crunchy green and red cabbage to carrots and peppers, this salad doesn’t need any lettuce. It also has chopped almonds, fresh cilantro, scallions and almond ginger dressing.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Salad
Cabbage should be your new favorite kind of lettuce. Cut very thinly or shredded, cabbage is incredibly crisp and fresh. You will be amazed at the yield you get from even half a head of cabbage because of the densely packed leaves. It is sturdy enough to stand up to creamy dressings and other additions.
Besides cabbage, the salad has other wonderfully crunchy ingredients. Carrots, red bell peppers, scallions and chopped almonds all contribute to the texture of the salad.
This nutty salad dressing is incredible. Made with almond butter, fresh ginger, garlic, fresh lime juice, soy sauce and rice vinegar, you will adore this creamy vinaigrette.
How To Cut Cabbage
You’ll notice in this cabbage salad recipe that I use both red cabbage and green cabbage—a half head of each. I love the color mix. To cut cabbage:
- Slice the head in half.
- Cut the halves in half, so you end up with quarters.
- Trim the stems at the bottoms of each section.
- Thinly slice the cabbage perpendicular to the stem.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This is what you need:
- Cabbage: As a lover of colorful vibrant salads, I use both red and green cabbage. But you can use all of one or the other. If you substitute with Napa cabbage, the salad will not have as much crunch because it has softer leaves.
- Carrots: To go with the shredded cabbage, I peel and cut the carrots in matchsticks. Of course, you can buy shredded carrots to save time.
- Red bell peppers: I also slice a red pepper into long slender matchsticks. You can substitute with another bell pepper color.
- Scallions add light, crisp green onion flavor to the salad.
- Cilantro is the best choice for fresh herbs to pair with the rest of the ingredients.
- Almonds add nutty crunch. You can use peanuts instead. If you do that swap, I recommend switching from almond butter to peanut butter in the vinaigrette.
- Sesame seeds are that last (but very important) addition to the salad.
- Ginger almond vinaigrette: Usually, I am an oil and vinegar without much else kind of dressing person, but cabbage leaves can handle something more. So I add almond butter, which makes the dressing ingredients creamier. It also has minced garlic, lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and no surprise, fresh ginger. The dressing is citrusy and a touch salty and sweet bringing everything together.
If you want even more variety in this salad, you can add:
- Shelled edamame
- Snap peas
- Snow peas
- Mandarin oranges
How To Make This Asian Cabbage Salad
1. Cut and prep the cabbage and the rest of the ingredients.
2. Combine the cabbage, carrots, peppers, scallions, cilantro, almonds and sesame seeds in a large mixing bowl.
3. Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the almond butter, minced ginger and garlic, lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
4. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad mixture and toss everything around.
How to Serve this Cabbage Salad
You can serve this salad as a side dish, even like Asian cabbage slaw, or as a main dish. If you want to make it more filling, add baked tofu or rotisserie chicken. Pair the salad with honey garlic tofu, soba noodles with mushrooms & bok choy or sesame tofu asparagus. For proteins, the salad works with salmon, pork, shrimp or chicken dishes.
Leftovers & Storage
Since the base of the salad is cabbage, carrots and peppers, they will retain their bite for 3 days if you store them in an airtight container in the fridge. If you are going to save some of the salad, only toss what you are planning to eat at a time in the vinaigrette, which should be stored in a separate jar.
Pre-cut veggies are a great shortcut. I like this exact balance of cabbage, carrots and peppers as the recipe is written, but I know not everyone is confident in their knife skills. You can use a pre-shredded bagged coleslaw mix that includes carrots. Then stir in the scallions, cilantro and chopped almonds before drizzling in the dressing.
The salad can be made ahead of time. You can prep the dressing a couple days in advance. If is hardens in the chilly temperature of the fridge, let it sit out at room temperature until it liquefies again. You can also run the container or jar it’s in under warm water at the kitchen sink.
Soy sauce is not gluten-free because it contains wheat. Substitute with tamari-style soy sauce with a label that says gluten-free.
More Salad Recipes
Did you make this cabbage salad? Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
Asian Cabbage Salad
- For salad
- 1/2 head red cabbage, shredded
- 1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
- 1 cup shredded or julienned carrots, matchstick size
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced lengthwise into matchsticks
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- For dressing
- 1 tablespoon natural almond butter
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Combine the cabbage, carrots, peppers, scallions, cilantro, almonds and sesame seeds in a large bowl.
- For the dressing, whisk together the almond butter, ginger, garlic, lime juice, oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing into the salad tossing to coat.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Originally published February 22, 2021. Updated April 3, 2023.