A quick and fresh vegetable slaw with Asian-inspired flavors. Try this rainbow-colored salad as a side dish or in a healthy lunch bowl.
This fresh and beautifully colorful Asian-style vegetable slaw bridges a gap between salad and vegetable side dish. The mixture of red and green cabbage, carrots, leeks, snap peas and bell peppers is quickly cooked, then everything is tossed in a tangy ginger-scented sesame dressing.
The slaw makes a great base for cooked salmon or chicken, or as part of a vegetarian bowl. I love to add some cooked whole grains like brown rice to the vegetable slaw — and call it lunch!
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 usually overlooked as a boring, less-than-trendy sibling.
Red or green cabbage is ready to please whether cooked or raw, but cooking cabbage ever-so-slightly brings out its natural sweetness. And it stands up perfectly to the bold, bright seasonings in the dressing — sesame, chili and citrus.
Green Savoy cabbage leaves are light and curly, with a slightly more delicate texture than regular cabbage, but regular basic green cabbage works just fine in the slaw. Be sure to slice it very thin.
Also, keep in mind that red cabbage will eventually tint the rest of the salad fuchsia — not a bad thing, but if you’re making this ahead of time for a potluck or lunch here’s how to keep the pretty colors intact:
- Make the slaw with all green cabbage instead.
- Add the red cabbage to the slaw raw just before serving — it will add color and crunch.
- Substitute finely sliced radicchio and add it at the last minute.
warm vegetable slaw with ginger tahini dressing
Yield 4 servings
- 3 tablespoons liquid honey or agave nectar (vegan)
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 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
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 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 curly (savoy) cabbage
- 1 cup shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, 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
- 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 5 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 5 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.