Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw

5 from 2 votes

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Sesame, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and honey combine for an Asian-inspired vegan coleslaw dressing that is both nutty and vibrant at the same time.

Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw

Sesame, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and honey combine in a coleslaw dressing that is both nutty and vibrant at the same time. This no-mayonnaise cabbage slaw recipe is a menu planning dream in that not only can it be made ahead, but it is best made ahead. One day ahead is perfect, but I have certainly happily eaten leftovers for a couple of days after that. Obviously, it’s perfect for vegans, but it’s also a great alternative if you want a change of pace from creamier slaws, like Traditional Coleslaw or Creamy Blue Cheese Coleslaw.

Made ahead, the dressing has time to soak into crunchy vegetables — napa cabbage, bell peppers, and carrots — softening them slightly and imparting their flavor to the cabbage and other vegetables. This goes with anything simple or anything Asian-inspired — it’s sort of a medley of influences from Japanese, Korean, and Southeast Asian cuisines. For a lovely vegan summer meal, serve it with Orange Tofu, Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, or Tofu with Peanut Sauce. For a non-vegan meal, try it with Simple Asian Salmon or Hoisin Shrimp.

Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw on a white plate.

Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw: A perfect mayonnaise free crunchy slaw. Serve with any simple main dish or with any Asian dishes.

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Asian Cabbage Slaw Ingredients

  • Rice vinegar – Use unseasoned rice vinegar for a more acidic, less sweet flavor.
  • Soy sauce – I like to use less-sodium soy sauce, but any kind is fine.
  • Sesame oil – Adds a delightful toasty flavor.
  • Agave or honey – Many vegans don’t eat honey, so choose the best option for you!
  • Ginger – Fresh ginger is nonnegotiable in this recipe. The dried stuff just doesn’t cut it.
  • Napa cabbage – Napa cabbage is lighter and fluffier than other types of cabbage and really helps keep this slaw bright.
  • Carrots – The orange color of the carrots looks great in this slaw.
  • Red bell pepper – Any color of pepper will work, but the red really stands out.
  • Shallots – Add onion-y flavor with a little more sweetness than other types of allium.
Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw on a table with greens, water glasses, and silverware.

How to Make Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw

  1. Make the dressing: Mix together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and ginger to make a flavorful dressing.
  2. Dress the slaw: Add in the vegetables and toss.
  3. Rest: This slaw is best if you refrigerate it for a day before serving. Otherwise, cover and let sit for an hour at room temperature before serving. The flavors will meld together and the dressing will permeate the vegetables.

Variations

  • The colors are terrific, but you can change things up, such as using a different-colored bell pepper, skipping the shallots in favor of half a red onion, thinly sliced (or yellow, your choice), or using multicolored carrots. If you don’t have napa cabbage, use whatever cabbage you have.
  • And while this salad is vegan as is, you could add some diced or shredded cooked chicken to make it a more robust main course salad. 

What to Serve With Vegan Asian Cabbage Slaw

White bowl of Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw.

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5 from 2 votes

Vegan Asian Napa Cabbage Slaw

Sesame, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and honey combine for an Asian-inspired vegan coleslaw dressing that is both nutty and vibrant at the same time.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

  • ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup less-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave or honey (some vegans don't eat honey, so choose the best option for you!)
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 head napa cabbage
  • 4 carrots (peeled and grated)
  • 1 red bell pepper (cored and thinly sliced)
  • 3 shallots (halved and thinly sliced)

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and ginger. Add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and shallots and toss to combine.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 day. If you didn't plan ahead, let it sit in the fridge or at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving so the vegetables soften slightly and absorb the dressing.

Notes

  • The colors are terrific, but you can change things up, such as using a different color bell pepper, skipping the shallots in favor of half of a red onion, thinly sliced (or yellow, your choice), or using multicolored carrots. If you don’t have napa cabbage, use whatever cabbage you have.
  • And while this salad is vegan as is, you could add some shredded or diced cooked chicken to make it a more robust main course salad. 

Nutrition

Calories: 73kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 299mg, Potassium: 442mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 5919IU, Vitamin C: 52mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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