Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad

This Napa Cabbage Salad is perfect for a picnic potluck! It's made with Napa cabbage, radishes, snow peas, toasted almonds, and a creamy sesame mayo dressing. A real crowd pleaser!

Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad
Elise Bauer

Perfect Picnic Salad

Are you looking for the perfect picnic salad to bring to a potluck?

Look no more, this is it. This napa cabbage picnic salad has been a favorite of my friends and neighbors for years. It's one of the most requested potluck salads I've ever made.

My neighbor Pat first introduced it to me, followed by my friend Chigiy. The original recipe comes from Sunset magazine (July 2004) and serves a crowd.

We've scaled the recipe back for a regular family and friends meal, but you can easily scale it up for a large picnic.

chinese cabbage salad in bowl
Elise Bauer

More Resilient Than Lettuce

Napa cabbage (a kind of Chinese cabbage), while not as sturdy as regular cabbage, is much more resilient than lettuce, so it lends itself well to picnic salads that have to sit around for a while.

This salad has Napa cabbage, radishes, snow peas, toasted slivered almonds, and a sweet sesame ginger mayo dressing.

Much of it can be made ahead, and then assembled when you are ready to serve.

Asian-Inspired Salad Dressing

The mayo-based salad dressing has Asian-inspired seasonings whisked in, like rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. The result is a light dressing that flavors every bite of this crunchy salad.

Make It a Meal

This recipe is meant to be a side salad for a backyard potluck, but it can also work for a stand-alone lunch. Add some grilled chicken or salmon to make it a full meal.

More Picnic Side Salads to Try!

Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

The dressing recipe makes a little more than you will likely need. So, use about 1/2 of it to start, and add more to taste when you dress the salad.

This salad recipes scales easily for a potluck or picnic.

Recipe adapted from one in Sunset Magazine, July 2004


  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds

  • 4 cups (1/2 pound) coarsely shredded napa cabbage

  • 6 ounces snow peas, sliced into half-inch slices on the diagonal

  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced radishes

  • 2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (including greens)

  • 2/3 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1/2 clove peeled and minced garlic (about 1/2 teaspoon)

  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise


  1. Toast the almonds:

    Toast the almond slivers in a dry nonstick or cast-iron skillet on medium high, stirring frequently until browned. Set aside.

  2. Assemble the salad ingredients:

    Combine cabbage, snow peas, radishes, green onions, cilantro in a large bowl. Can make this step a day or two ahead.

  3. Make the dressing:

    In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, and cayenne until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise.

  4. Toss the salad with dressing:

    When ready to serve, gently combine the dressing and almonds with the cabbage mixture.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
192 Calories
17g Fat
8g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 192
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 8mg 3%
Sodium 276mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 19mg 97%
Calcium 53mg 4%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 228mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.