Feb 24

Spicy Asian Slaw Recipe with Napa Cabbage, Carrots & Ginger Dressing


Spicy Asian Slaw Recipe with Napa Cabbage, Carrots & Ginger Dressing

Steer clear of the cole slaw! That has always been my motto at summer barbecues. There is something about limp cabbage salads drenched in sun-warmed mayonnaise and permeated with the harsh taste of raw onions that makes me lose my appetite. However, when I made a Teriyaki Flank Steak Sandwich with Napa Cabbage, Red Peppers & Carrots a few weeks ago, I was reminded of the inherent crispness of Napa cabbage. With Asian flavors on the mind, I whisked together a dressing that included rice vinegar, lime juice, sesame oil, and ginger. And then came the kicker. A potent little chile that the food world likes to refer to as a serrano chile. I call it the devil’s pitchfork. Not remembering where serranos fell on the heat scale, I popped a tiny piece into my mouth – and then proceeded to latch my lips to the cold water spigot. Hence, the use of half a chile in this recipe…seeds and membranes removed!

Despite my run-in with the serrano chile, this is possibly the best slaw I have ever eaten. Between the crispness of the cabbage and carrots, and the tangy and sweet dressing, this slaw will not be the last dish standing at your next potluck or barbecue.

In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger, 1 tablespoons sesame oil, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, and 1/2 finely chopped fresh serrano chile, with seeds and membranes removed.

Cut a 1 1/2 pound Napa cabbage in half lengthwise, core it, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.

Separate the cabbage leaves into a large bowl.

Add 1 1/2 cups grated carrots, 4 chopped scallions, and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, and toss well.

Pour the dressing into the cabbage mixture and toss again. Let stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Other slaw recipes:

Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Spicy Cilantro-Peanut Slaw
The Kitchn’s Miso Slaw
A Veggie Venture’s Celeriac Slaw
FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s Bean Sprouts & Broccoli Slaw Salad with Coconut-Ginger Dressing
Recipe Girl’s Blue Cheese Cole Slaw

Spicy Asian Slaw with Napa Cabbage, Carrots & Ginger Dressing
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 serrano chile, seeded and membranes removed, finely chopped
1 small Napa cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved lengthwise, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
4 scallions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, sesame oil, canola oil, lime zest, lime juice, and chile. Set aside.

Separate the cabbage leaves into a large bowl. Add carrots, scallions, and cilantro, and toss well.

Pour the dressing into the cabbage mixture and toss again. Let stand for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Serves 4 to 6.

Printable recipe

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 megan February 24, 2010 at 5:59 am

I never remember where the chiles rate either! Lucky for me I like my food hot, or unlucky for them, (depending on what part of the spectrum you are) my children don't…


2 Bob February 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

I love a light, crispy slaw. I'm filing this one away for this summer.


3 Jenn February 24, 2010 at 6:11 am

I love the flecks of green and orange throughout the slaw. I think it would be hard for me to stay away from it.


4 MaryMoh February 24, 2010 at 7:21 am

Mmmmm….looks colourful, healthy and delicious. I love it.


5 5 Star Foodie February 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Excellent slaw! I love the ginger and serrano chile here!


6 Claudia February 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I've been trying to learn to love cabbage – the Napa is much more flavorful and this dish does entice.


7 Divina Pe February 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm

This is a must-try refreshing, light and flavorful coleslaw. I absolutely love the photo. It's speaking to me.


8 Maria February 24, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Asian slaw is my favorite way to eat cabbage. I make one with red pepper and cilantro. I will be trying yours next time!


9 Kalyn February 24, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Oh yes, I love this already and I haven't even tasted it yet! I might have to cut down to 1/4 a chile though, since I'm such a lightweight.


10 Cookin' Canuck February 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Megan – I did steer my kids clear of this one. I think next time I'll divide the slaw in half and top their portion with a serrano-free dressing.

Bob – Why wait for summer? =)

Jenn – I have been taking a bite of this each time I open the fridge.

MaryMoh, 5 Star Foodie, Divina – Thank you!

Claudia – I am not typically a big cabbage fan, but this is so crispy and flavorful that I can't resist it.

Maria – The red pepper and cilantro combination sounds great, too.

Kalyn – 1/4 chile would be just as good in here. Eating something that's too spicy for your palate is never enjoyable.


11 Cathy February 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I happen to have cabbage and carrots in the garden :). I think this is in my near future. Printing.


12 Biren February 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm

This looks delicious! I can imagine the taste and will have to try this soon.


13 Mary February 24, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Most excellent! It's hard to beat a perfectly made Asian slaw.


14 Tasty Eats At Home February 24, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Love your slaw. So much lighter and friendlier than the mayo slaws. And be careful with those serranos – if you're not ready, they'll kick you in the you-know-what!


15 pegasuslegend February 24, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Now this is perfect for the start of spring I just love the colors with the heat in the recipe awesome!


16 Cinnamon-Girl February 24, 2010 at 11:26 pm

What a gorgeous slaw! The dressing with the spicy kick sounds excellent!


17 Bellini Valli February 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

This coleslaw sounds crisp and refreshing.


18 averagebetty February 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Great recipe :) I love slaw – especially Asian slaw! Cabbage is so great for you too!


19 Trix February 25, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I love the flavors in your dressing, so nice. Poor you with the chile! I've done a similar thing where I forget I was chopping habaneros and then I touch my mouth or worse – my eye!!! Yikes.


20 dada February 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Sounds so fresh and tasty!


21 My Little Space February 26, 2010 at 12:52 am

Hi Canuck, nice recipe for this napa cabbage. I always like to try something new besides stir fried. And this cold salad sounds great especially during this heaty & humid weather over here lately! It's been awhile since the changes made by FB. Still trying to catch up with all of you guys. All the best!
Have a nice day!
Cheers always, Kristy


22 tigerfish February 27, 2010 at 12:14 am

Yes yes, I am for your dressing, definitely. 😉


23 Jessica March 17, 2010 at 3:55 am

This was wonderful, very light and refreshing. We served it alongside Turkey Spinach Burgers from here:

Thanks for the awesome recipe!


24 Carla July 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm

I was craving asian slaw and decided on your recipe after perusing tastespotting. Your recipe turned out a delicious, light summer salad. I added ground chicken and cashews for protein and made a wonderful meal. Thanks for sharing your recipe!


25 Cookin' Canuck July 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Carla, thanks so much for letting me know that you enjoyed this recipe. Adding ground chicken and cashews is a great idea – I'll have to try that.


26 JQ August 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Excellent Asian slaw, made it for dinner this evening with Asian lettuce wraps! Everybody liked it! Gonna share this with my Foodie peeps!!


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