Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing

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Using salad tongs to pick up a serving of Crunchy Cabbage Slaw made without soy or gluten

A friend recently requested a recipe for Chinese chicken salad* on the blog and this is our inspired take. Plus, look at those colors and that crunch!

Introducing our fresh and flavorful 30-minute crunchy cabbage slaw made with a delicious sesame ginger dressing and seriously simple ingredients.

Red cabbage, napa cabbage, carrot, shredded chicken, ginger, and other ingredients

Cabbage Slaw Ingredients

  • Cabbage – we went with a mix of napa and red cabbage. Napa cabbage for a more classic touch and red cabbage for a pop of color and nice crunch.
  • Carrots – bring on the crunch and color (Hello, antioxidants)!
  • Green onion – perfect for raw dishes, green onion adds subtle onion flavor that enhances the salad.
  • Chicken – we boiled and shredded chicken breasts to make this salad protein-packed and filling. If vegan, feel free to omit the chicken and enjoy this as a side dish instead of a main, or sub our Miso-Glazed Chickpeas!
  • Nuts/seeds – we went with toasted almonds and sesame seeds for a bit of crunch and extra sesame flavor.
  • Dressing – we opted for a sesame-ginger dressing made with simple ingredients.
Tray filled with fresh vegetables and chicken for making our easy Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Sesame Ginger Dressing

The simple, soy-free dressing is made with coconut aminos, which provide saltiness and umami flavor. We also tested it with tamari, but found the flavor to be overpowering. However, if you want to sub tamari, try starting with half as much as it’s quite a bit saltier.

Rice vinegar adds a little tang, and toasted sesame oil provides the bold sesame flavor. Maple syrup adds sweetness and ginger and garlic add a little zing.

Stirring together Sesame Ginger Dressing made with coconut aminos

Simply pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. That’s it!

What to Serve with Cabbage Slaw

This salad is delicious on its own, but for a more filling meal, it would pair well with our Easy Vegan Fried Rice, Crispy Shallot Spring Rolls, Easy Tofu Pad Thai, or Vegan Singapore Noodles.

It would also be a great dish for meal prep! If making in advance, add the dressing just prior to serving to keep the vegetables crunchy.

Pouring Sesame Ginger dressing onto a large platter of our Crunchy Cabbage Slaw

We hope you LOVE this salad! It’s:

Crunchy
Flavorful
Fresh
Colorful
& So delicious!

More Salad Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

*Chinese chicken salad is not a dish authentic to China. Read more about its origins here. This is our inspired take!

Platter of Crunchy Cabbage Slaw beside a bowl of gluten-free and soy-free dressing

Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing

Easy, flavorful, crunchy slaw with cabbage, shredded chicken, carrots, and a ginger-sesame dressing! Almonds and sesame seeds add crunch to this delicious, 30-minute salad!
Author Minimalist Baker
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Using salad tongs to pick up a serving of gluten-free Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Sesame Ginger Dressing
4.97 from 26 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 (Servings)
Course Entrée or Side
Cuisine Asian-Inspired, Gluten-Free
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

SALAD

  • 2 small to medium chicken breasts, shredded (~2 ½ cups shredded chicken as recipe is written // see notes for vegan options)
  • 3 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 bundle green onions, thinly sliced on an angle

DRESSING

  • 5 Tbsp coconut aminos (or sub tamari, but start with 1/2 the amount as it’s saltier)
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 ½ Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (mince instead of grating for less pungent taste)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

FOR SERVING

  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, slightly toasted
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, slightly toasted
  • 1 healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • Chili garlic sauce (optional)

Instructions

  • Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Then add chicken, slightly reduce heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until done all the way through — about 10 minutes. Then remove and use two forks to shred. Set aside.
  • In the meantime, prepare dressing by adding coconut aminos, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, fresh ginger, and garlic to a jar (or mixing bowl) and shaking vigorously (or whisking) to combine.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more ginger for zing, garlic for kick, maple syrup for sweetness, sesame oil for more prominent toasted sesame flavor, or coconut aminos for more saltiness. Set aside.
  • Shred your napa cabbage, red cabbage, and carrot, slice the green onions, and add to a large serving dish or bowl. Toss to combine.
  • Next add sesame seeds and almonds to a small pan and toast over medium heat for ~5 minutes until just slightly golden brown, stirring frequently. Be careful not to burn. Set aside to cool.
  • Add shredded chicken breast to salad, along with toasted sesame seeds and almonds. Top with dressing and toss to combine. Season with a bit of salt and pepper for more flavor. Sample salad and add more salt and/or pepper to taste or more coconut aminos for depth of flavor.
  • Serve immediately or store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
*Recipe modified from RecipeTinEats!
* If vegan, feel free to omit the chicken and enjoy this as a side dish instead of a main, or sub our Miso-Glazed Chickpeas!

Nutrition (1 of 8 servings)

Serving: 1 servings Calories: 215 Carbohydrates: 10.6 g Protein: 20 g Fat: 10.3 g Saturated Fat: 1.7 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.72 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.7 g Trans Fat: 0.05 g Cholesterol: 48.19 mg Sodium: 243 mg Potassium: 374 mg Fiber: 1.9 g Sugar: 6.5 g Vitamin A: 2259 IU Vitamin C: 25.23 mg Calcium: 64.42 mg Iron: 1.35 mg

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  1. Nicole says

    Thoughts on if I could use regular (not napa) green cabbage in place of both the napa and red cabbage here? I have a big one to use up and don’t have the other two currently, and I’d like to try this recipe without the chicken. I know it wouldn’t be as colorful/pretty, but taste and texture-wise. Thanks for your help!

  2. Aliceson says

    Made this tonight and followed recipe exactly. I’m a fan of big salads and this did not disappoint. I like the commenter’s idea of using leftovers in tortilla or i might try rice paper.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  3. Jasmine says

    Love this recipe! I’ve made it several times, either with chicken or, as a substitute, with silken (soft) tofu. It can easily be shredded with two forks. Both versions work great :)

  4. Kat says

    First dish thats ever made me excited to eat cabbage. This salad is great. I Prep all the components separate and throw them all in a tortilla for a portable lunch all week because small children appearently need my attention and eating a salad takes way to long! I add a bit of tahini to the sauce to make it less drippy portable mode.

  5. DeLM says

    I made the recipe as written, and used pan-fried tempeh as the protein source. It was absolutely delicious! A much healthier version of a popular recipe in Australia that uses crispy fried noodles (I think you call them fried ramen). I reckon it would also be amazing with some cooked rice or soba noodles in it as well for something more filling. Let’s be honest, you could put that dressing on most things!

    I will be making this again and again for a healthy lunch (I’m thinking with marinated tofu and a topping of Asian crispy shallots next time) and to take to parties and BBQs!

  6. Courtney Farmer says

    This was wonderful – I had to use cashews, regular green cabbage and air-fried tofu and my husband said it was the best way he has ever had cabbage! We will keep this in rotation. We enjoyed it next to a bowl of wonton soup, and the leftovers for lunch the next day were divine. Thanks for taking the time to share this amazing recipe with us!!

  7. Mika says

    The dressing is pure gold! Followed the recipe to a T, except I cooked my chicken breasts in an instant pot which made this already easy recipe even easier. Fantastic healthy meal prep for the week!

  8. Eli says

    This is simple and delicious. You can prep a lot of the ingredients before hand and then just mix it. Didn’t have any green onion so I used thinly chopped red onion.

  9. Jahnavi says

    I didn’t realize you weren’t vegetarian. Before yesterday I don’t remember coming across any non-vegetarian dishes here. Is it a new thing?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jahnavi, We announced in early 2019 that we’d be adding some meat and eggs back in and will provide vegan options whenever possible. If you’d like to continue seeing our only vegan content, you can subscribe to our vegan-only email list as well as visit our recipe page and select “special diet” “vegan.”

  10. Staci says

    We made this with a kale/cabbage salad bag from Trader Joe’s and it was delicious – the dressing is to die for and the toasted almonds add such a nice crunch! We will definitely be adding this to our rotation.

  11. Larissa says

    I love this recipe so much. It reminds me of a much less health-conscious recipe my mom made growing up. I did end up adding a lot more cabbage (about 2 1/2 more cups) than what the recipe called for, because it was a little saucy for my taste. The toasted sesame seeds and almonds really take it to the next level. I will definitely be returning to this recipe.

  12. Kimberlee says

    Delicious. The dressing is so good! It would go well on just about any salad. I also tried your peanut sauce for the first time. I paired them both on the salad when I made it the second and third time. They went well together!

  13. Elena K says

    This is a super easy, healthy weeknight dinner. The sauce is so flavorful, however the chicken was bland. I would suggest adding some flavor to the poaching liquid. Next time I will probably add a veggie bouillon cube, or at least some salt and pepper.

  14. Ethan Gross says

    This was fresh, tangy, and delicious! Instead of chicken I used some thinly sliced tempeh sauted in a little olive oil and soy sauce. I also added a Tbsp of white miso to the dressing. I like how it came together quickly using ingredients I mostly already had on hand and the leftovers pack up nicely for lunch the next day. Will definitely plan on including this in my regular rotation.

  15. Mandi says

    Just made this tonight for the first time – amazing! Subbed toasted cashews for almonds and added cilantro. This recipe is definitely going into our monthly rotation. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Mandi. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  16. Chris Walker says

    This is a quick and fabulous (and affordable) recipe with or without meat. I cheat by using prepackaged shredded cabbage. Good with both coconut aminos or tamari. I do cut down a bit on the green onion. Something different to take to a party. Thank you, once again, Minimalist Baker for another great recipe to add variety to my life.

  17. Jackie says

    This was so easy and delicious! I kept the salad and the dressing separate, which kept the salad crispy. It was so nice to have a healthy, delicious lunch everyday! I used soy sauce instead of the aminos, which was definitely my mistake. I’ll be using the coconut aminos in the future!

  18. Breanna says

    I made this last night! I made the chicken for my husband, but for me, I subbed portabella mushrooms. It was ridiculously delicious. Your recipes are making clean eating the opposite of torturous ?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Simon. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  19. Stacey Miller says

    Delicious! We had it twice this past week, both with the miso paste coated garbanzos and pulled chicken. I used honey instead of maple syrup in the dressing and added red pepper and avocado to the salad! I will definitely make this recipe again!
    thank you

  20. Madie says

    Love this ❤️ About a year ago I switched from being plant-based, to incorporating meat and dairy slowly. I’m in college, and need quick recipes, that still have a good balance of protein and veg! This is perfect and fresh- thank you!!

  21. Deb Cox says

    This post is brilliant. So many good and fabulous things and recipes. Thank you ever so much for giving us so much goodness. Yum and double yum.

  22. Karen says

    I saw this in my email today and knew I needed to make it tonight because I had all the ingredients. The only thing I did differently was use packaged coleslaw mix and I also added a few Craisins. Because I used leftover chicken it was a really quick and easy meal. I love it! So good. Will definitely make again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing, Karen! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  23. Rebecca says

    Customizable and super tasty! I wanted to make this for lunch today and didn’t have time to run to the store, so I used what I had on hand, subbing shredded kale plus other veggies for the cabbage. I just quick chopped a carrot, couple stalks celery, some broccoli, half a small yellow onion, and pulsed them a few times in my food processor until they were uniform, before adding to the kale. I also used boneless chicken thighs that I cooked up in the instant pot instead of breasts. I subbed in 1 T of tamari for some of the coconut aminos because I tend to like things saltier! And I added a squeeze of sriracha as well. I was too lazy to toast the almonds and sesame seeds. It came out GREAT! Super satisfying with a nice crunchiness. Loved the almonds in there. This one is definitely going into regular rotation.

  24. Debbie Dreyfuss says

    Hiya

    Can you clarify if this is 8 portions as a side and if so how many for a main? It’s only 2 chicken breast so I was wondering.

    Thanks!

    • Leslie says

      Excellent recipe, the dressing is a nice blend of salty and sweet Asian flavor and definitely don’t skip the toasted almonds and sesame seeds, so yummy! I veganized it by adding sautéed tempeh. Great recipe, Dana! Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the app!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      All of our recipes require either 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl, or 30 minutes or less. This one requires 30 minutes.

  25. Lori says

    Hi Dana! This looks amazing! Can you tell me what shredder you are using here? I have tried shredding cabbage and it’s impossible with a standing one. Lol Thanks!