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Colorful Cabbage Slaw with Ginger Tahini Dressing

5 from 1 vote

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A quick, fresh vegetable slaw with red and green cabbage and Asian-inspired flavors, tossed in a zesty tahini dressing. Try this rainbow-colored salad as a side dish or in a healthy lunch bowl.

Green and red cabbage slaw with no mayo, mixed with carrots, snowpeas and sesame dressing in a white bowl.

This beautifully colorful Asian-styles slaw bridges a gap — something between a salad and a vegetarian main dish.

It’s nothing like your average cole slaw, which can sometimes be so sweetly saturated with mayonnaise that it can feel the opposite of light and clean..

My method takes it up a notch. A mixture of red and green cabbage, carrot, leeks, snap peas and bell peppers is quickly wilted in a skillet, then it’s all tossed in a tangy ginger-sesame sauce, not mayo.

Serving ideas for cabbage slaw

I love to add some of this slaw to a bowl with leftover cooked brown rice and call it lunch!

Green and red cabbage slaw mixed with carrots, snowpeas and sesame dressing in a white bowl.

Cabbage has a sweet nature under its sturdy façade.

In fact, it might even need a rebranding, don’t you think?

Although it’s part of the same family of brassicas as kale and Brussels sprouts, cabbage is unjustly overlooked as a boring, less-than-trendy sibling.

Green and red cabbage slaw mixed with carrots, snowpeas and sesame dressing in a white bowl.

Red or green cabbage is ready to please whether cooked or raw, but cooking cabbage ever-so-slightly brings out its natural sweetness.

When cabbage is lightly wilted it has a more tender texture than when it’s raw.

And it stands up perfectly to the bold, bright seasonings in the dressing: sesame, red chili and lime juice.

Green and red cabbage slaw mixed with carrots, snowpeas and sesame dressing in a white bowl.

How to slice cabbage for slaw

To prep cabbage for slaw:

  1. Slice the head of cabbage into quarters with a large chef’s knife. Trim out the core.
  2. Place the halves cut-side down and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch wide ribbons.
  3. Alternatively, you can use a mandoline slicer or use the julienne blade in a food processor.

Basic green cabbage works just fine in the slaw, just be sure to slice it very thin.

Savoy cabbage leaves are light green and curly, with a slightly more delicate texture than regular green cabbage.

Make ahead tips

Keep in mind that red cabbage will eventually tint the rest of the salad a shade of hot pink once you add a vinaigrette or salad dressing.

That’s not a bad thing, but if you’re making this ahead of time for a potluck or lunch here’s how to to keep it in beautiful shape.

  • Make the slaw with all green cabbage instead.
  • Add the raw red cabbage to the slaw just before serving (instead of wilting) — it will add color and crunch.

Cabbage Slaw with Ginger Tahini Dressing

Karen Tedesco
This flavorful, fresh cabbage slaw is colorful and so easy to make. Add to your lunch meal plan or add some cooked protein for a hearty main dish salad.
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5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Vegetarian/Vegan
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

For the dressing
  • 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce or sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
For the slaw
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 leek, white and light green section thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas or snowpeas, sliced into slivers
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, tough stems trimmed off
  • 1 tablespoon black or brown sesame seeds
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally

Instructions 

  • Make the dressing: Whisk the honey, tahini, sesame oil, lime juice, vinegar, ginger, chili sauce, salt and cayenne in a small bowl until blended.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and leeks and cook until softened slightly, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the remaining vegetables through the sugar snap peas to the pan.
  • Cook just until the cabbage begins to wilt, tossing constantly with tongs, about 2 more minutes.
  • Transfer the slaw to a large bowl and add the dressing and cilantro. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and scallions over the slaw and serve.

Notes

Undressed slaw will keep 3 days refrigerated.
To slice cabbage for slaw:
  1. Slice the cabbage into quarters with a large chef's knife. Trim out the core.
  2. Place the halves cut-side down and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch wide ribbons.
  3. Alternatively, you can use a mandoline slicer or use the julienne blade in a food processor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 661mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 7228IU | Vitamin C: 100mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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10 Comments

  1. This came out delicious! I just tried it with my sister (we’re both giving vegetarian a try) and we are so delighted! Thanks so much for sharing this woderful recipe!

  2. I just made something similar, only it had slivers of pork in it to make it more of a main dish with steamed rice. I love a mix of veggies like this. You get something new in every bite.

  3. I like the looks of the ingredient list, especially the cilantro, lime juice, and ginger. Oh the power of fresh herbs (and roots)! 🙂 Yum.

  4. I’m a huge cabbage fan – smell and all 🙂 So, needless to say, I’m definitely digging the above recipe. Simple and beautiful. Perfect!

    1. Callie, glad to know that you find beauty in cabbage. There must be hope for us all, which is a good thing since cabbage is so healthy for us. Thanks!

      Sweet Road and Kadhyaa – thank you!

      Lol, Kalyn, lucky you. Nice to hear from you.

      Lynn – The red chili would be a great substitute for the bell peppers – good idea. And no, thank you very much on the cabbage ice cream. Although, creamed braised cabbage is absolutely delicious; I guess I prefer to take my cabbage in a savory form.

  5. I went to a local chef challenge last week –the secret ingredient which the chefs had to incorporate into all six dishes was cabbage! Cabbage ice cream anyone?

    I’m always on the look-out for easy Asian side dishes. Your slaw looks great! I can’t eat bell pepper so may use a combination of red and green cabbages, and maybe throw in a little fresh red chili for some color and spice. Thanks for the recipe!