With Summer in “full swing”, it seems like we are grilling 3 or 4 times per week! While we have our old “standby” sides (like my cucumbers and onions recipe or even my baked sweet potato fries), sometimes you want something a little different and this spicy Asian coleslaw is just that!
Serve it as a side dish or you can even toss in some leftover grilled chicken or shrimp to make a complete meal! My mother makes a recipe very similar to this, only she throws in some cooked ramen noodles as well as (shelled) sunflower seeds
The peanut butter acts as both a flavoring and an emulsifier for the dressing but if you're allergic to nuts (or just don't love peanut butter), you could replace it with 2-3 tablespoons of any light-flavored oil. On the other end of the spectrum, if you really like peanuts, you can throw in some peanuts (whole or chopped) for some added crunch!
Just 1/2 teaspoon red pepper makes this quite spicy. If you're sensitive to heat, I suggest starting with even less or none at all (although honestly? I usually add a little more than that, but we like things spicy in my house).
You are going to want to make sure that you make this at least an hour before you want to serve it because you need time for the dressing to “break down” the cabbage so that it wilts a little bit!
Scroll down for the recipe!
- 6 cups cabbage, finely shredded (one small head)
- ¼ cup shredded carrots
- ¼ cup red onion, finely sliced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons white or rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Pinch of sugar, optional
- Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To shred the cabbage, trim the core off of the end so that it sits steady without rolling around. Cut in half vertically and then cut each half in half again to make quarters. Remove any remaining core and thinly slice to make long, thin strands. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add all of the dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings. If the dressing is too tangy, add a pinch of sugar to balance it out. At this point, you can also add more of whatever you like. If you like more soy, add it. More vinegar? Add it! The beauty of these kinds of salads is that you can make them to suit your own tastes.
- Once the dressing is done, add in the veggies and toss to thoroughly coat everything. Almost immediately, the cabbage will start to break down and wilt. Stir a few more times, cover and put in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. If possible, give it a stir every 10 minutes or so.
- Before serving, taste and adjust the seasonings again and add salt and/or pepper, if needed. Serve with extra green onions on top for garnish.