Asian Coleslaw

We eat a lot of cabbage around here. Could be my father’s Minnesota German roots, but for whatever reason, coleslaw is on the menu several times a week. I recently had a lovely Asian coleslaw at a local grill, that was served with an ahi tuna burger. This is my attempt to recreate that coleslaw, and I think I’ve come pretty close (may try my hand at the burger sometime too). It’s super easy to put together; the defining ingredients are cabbage, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. This version also has some peanut butter in the dressing and some twice toasted peanuts. So good! We had to stop eating it after our “test kitchen” tasting, just to save enough for dinner.

Asian Coleslaw Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

The dressing on this salad is peanut-based. If you have a food allergy to peanuts, you can substitute tahini for the peanut butter (or leave it out all together), and toasted sesame seeds for the peanuts.



  • 1 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted (dark) sesame oil
  • 4 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (if seasoned rice vinegar is not available, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to regular rice vinegar)
  • 4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (Napa, green, purple, or a combination)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup toasted, salted, shelled, peeled peanuts


  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Thinly sliced green onions or chives


1 Prepare dressing. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl. Add the vegetable oil and the toasted sesame oil and whisk until nicely smooth. Whisk in the seasoned rice vinegar and do a taste test. Depending on how you like your dressing, how salty your peanut butter is, how seasoned your rice vinegar is, you may want to add a little more vinegar, a little more sugar, or a little salt. (Makes about 3/4 cup of dressing.)

2 Toast the peanuts. Although the roasted peanuts from the store may already be cooked, you'll get even better flavor with just a little toasting. Heat a small skillet on medium high heat and add the nuts to the pan. Do not ignore or the nuts can easily burn. Stir a little with a wooden spoon until the peanuts begin to get browned in spots and you can smell the toasting aromas. Remove peanuts from pan to a dish.

3 In a large bowl, toss the sliced cabbage, grated carrots, and peanuts together, and any other optional ingredients you care to add (like a little chopped cilantro or green onions). Right before serving, mix in the dressing.

Great with fish or burgers.

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Crack Slaw, and Asian Cole Slaw from East Village Kitchen
Lime and Peanut Coleslaw Recipe from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

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Showing 4 of 24 Comments

  • Angela

    Had a great slaw yesterday, in the Sunset Test Kitchen, using raw parsnips. Who knew? Absolutely delicious.

    Have you ever used PB2 in recipes? It’s a fun ingredient: dried peanut butter, it’s what’s leftover after peanut oil is made. Less fat, plenty of taste, and doesn’t take much shelf space. I use it for peanut sauce of various types … for Asian noodles and salads, on toast, on fruit (especially bananas), veggie dip.

  • Stephanie

    I have a somewhat similar recipe for “Asian Coleslaw” passed down from my grandma. I might have to modify it with the addition of the peanut butter in the dressing! And ours uses toasted almonds on top, for those who want a substitute.

  • E. Peevie

    I just made an Asian coleslaw last night for the first time ever, and then this recipe shows up in my inbox. Must be the universe trying to tell me something–probably something along the lines of “Make Asian coleslaw more often.”

    In addition to the cabbage and carrots, mine included some zucchini, yellow squash, and onion, which gave it more heft than a typical slaw. I made a peanut-based dressing also.

    Your version looks nice and simple, which makes me happy. I will try it soon.

  • Susan

    My Mom used to make a similar dressing and drizzled it over bananas that were sliced onto a bed of salad greens. It was so good but some chopped peanuts would have been a great addition. I’ve never seen her application anywhere else since. Thanks for this, Elise.

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