Asian Slaw

This quick and easy salad gives coleslaw an Asian flavor with garlic, ginger, Napa cabbage and edamame beans.

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A big bowl of Asian slaw with tongs coming out of the bowl, next to a smaller white bowl of slaw and a white and blue striped napkin.

What is Asian Slaw?

It’s not complicated. “Slaw” is a short for the word coleslaw, which is a mix of thinly sliced cabbage, carrots and other vegetables. An Asian slaw is a salad of cabbage and vegetables with a vinaigrette made with common Asian ingredients – ginger, garlic, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. What the name Asian slaw doesn’t tell you is how delicious this fresh salad is.

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Ingredients on a wooden cutting board with a chef's knife.

Ingredients for Asian Slaw

You can adapt this recipe with any vegetables you have, but what makes it very different from regular coleslaw and helps to give it an Asian flavor and appearance is the red pepper, mint, edamame beans, scallions and peanuts. Pick up a package of frozen shelled edamame beans (soy beans) to save time from having to shell the beans yourself.

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A nakiri knife cutting napa cabbage into thin slices.

Napa Cabbage for Slaw

Coleslaw usually uses green and/or red cabbage. This Asian slaw uses Napa cabbage (also known as Chinese cabbage) instead, which has a couple of advantages – it has a nice delicate flavor AND it is much easier to cut than green cabbage. With a good sharp knife, you can slice through the halved cabbage easily. I also think the crinkly leaves of Napa cabbage are very pretty in this slaw. 

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Ingredients for Asian slaw in a large bowl with a pair of tongs.

Shape and Color

To make this salad look as appealing as possible, pay attention to the colors of the vegetables you choose and how you cut them. Making a salad is always a good time to practice your knife skills, and this slaw is no exception. The round edamame and circles of scallion are a nice compliment to the long thin slices of pepper, julienned carrots and shredded cabbage and as with everything we cook, consistency is key so try to keep the slices of pepper all the same size. Don’t think of it as a chore, but as a challenge instead.

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Pouring a dressing over a bowl of Asian slaw.

Ginger Sesame Dressing

The dressing for this salad is simple and made of easy to find ingredients. You can read more about the dressing and the specific ingredients here, but know that you can put this dressing on salads, cooked vegetables (especially sautéed cabbage) and it also is nice over a fillet of grilled fish. 

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Hands scattering peanuts into a bowl of Asian slaw with a blue and white striped towel around the bowl.

What to Serve with Asian Slaw

This Asian slaw is a nice addition to a group of salads or can be a side dish for any number of entrées. This Sesame Chicken Tortellini Salad would give your whole meal an Asian flavor. I’ve also served this Asian slaw next to a Salmon with Potatoes and Peas in a Ginger Broth or Honey Soy Salmon. It would also be nice to liven up a simple grilled or air-fried steak or chicken breast, some Air-Fryer Fried Chicken or some Chicken Satay Skewers. You could enjoy this slaw anywhere you might think of coleslaw.

Featured Recipe Techniques

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Asian Slaw

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Total Time: 15 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • ½ head napa cabbage thinly sliced (about 1½ to 2 cups)
  • 2 carrots julienned or shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup edamame beans fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 2 scallion sliced
  • 1 handful toasted salted peanuts
  • fresh mint or cilantro leaves
  • toasted sesame seeds optional
Dressing:
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • OR
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ clove garlic grated or very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated or very finely minced
  • teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl.
  2. Make the dressing. If using regular rice wine vinegar (as opposed to seasoned rice vinegar), start by combining the vinegar and sugar in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Toss the vegetables with the dressing and add the peanuts, fresh herbs and toasted sesame seeds (if using).
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Comments (1)Post a Reply

  1. I made this the other day. I used apple cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar. I added mandarin oranges and pears. So good.

    Everything you post that I have made so far has always been easy to follow and turned out fabulous!

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