Asian Coleslaw

SaladQuick and EasyCabbageColeslaw

Quick and delicious, this Asian coleslaw is great with burgers, fish, or any Asian-inspired dish. A creamy dressing with peanut butter and rice vinegar brings it all together.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Recreating a Delicious Asian Slaw

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.

What Goes Into an Asian Slaw?

The defining ingredients for an Asian slaw are cabbage, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. This version also has some peanut butter in the dressing and some twice toasted peanuts.

Asian Coleslaw dressing

What Can You Serve With This Coleslaw?

Anywhere you would serve coleslaw—like alongside a sandwich or a burger—you can serve this. It works well as a light and refreshing side to fish and shrimp.

So good! We had to stop eating this Asian slaw after our “test kitchen” tasting, just to save enough for dinner.

Make-Ahead Tips

You can prep the dressing and the dry salad ingredients for this coleslaw a few days ahead of time. Keep refrigerated. Wait to toss them together and add garnishes until you’re ready to serve.

Any leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge, but the coleslaw will start to become more wilted and watery.

LOVE COLESLAW? HERE ARE A FEW MORE

Updated July 12, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Asian Coleslaw Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6

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.

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted (dark) sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (if seasoned rice vinegar is not available, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to regular rice vinegar)

For the salad:

  • 8 cups thinly sliced cabbage (Napa, green, purple, or a combination)
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup toasted, salted, shelled, peeled peanuts

For garnish (optional):

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions or chives

Method

1 Prepare the 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 Toss the salad together: In a large bowl, toss the sliced cabbage, grated carrots, and peanuts together, and any other optional garnishes, such as a little chopped cilantro or green onions.

Right before serving, mix in the dressing.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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21 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Lynne

    I made this coleslaw for my family dinner and it was a hit! The brightness of the rice vinegar and combined with the slightly salt peanuts was a terrific combination. We’re adding this to our favs.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Tracy

    Very tasty, I’ll definitely try it on other veggies in the future. Subbed tahini for the PB and it gave a very subtle, almost-peanut flavor that melded well with the sesame. May try drizzling it on steamed and roasted veggies, too, it was so good.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. crnp2001

    I added about 1 tsp. of ginger paste & 1 tsp. of garlic to the dressing, as well as about 1/2 tsp of salt & 1 packet of Splenda. It perked up the dressing nicely. We’re trying this recipe in preparation for a huge 100+ person picnic. Thank you!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Leskap19

    I used the 12 oz bag of trader joe’s broccoli slaw instead of cabbage, and made the rest by the recipe. Delicious. I think it will be sturdy enough to eat leftovers tomorrow.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Matt Smith

    My wife just made this with Napa cabbage – sooo good! The only complaint is that there were no leftovers. Next time we’ll have to double it! :)

    xxxxxyyyyy

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