This Asian Cabbage Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Peanut Dressing is a crunchy and delicious Thai-inspired entrée or side dish. Loaded with fresh ingredients and big flavors!
The spicy peanut dressing has a dash of honey for sweetness and a splash of citrus for a unique flavor twist.
Serves 4 and ready in under 30 minutes! You can also find a honey substitute if you have a dietary restriction or allergy.
Why You'll Love This Salad
There are a bunch of reasons to love this Asian Cabbage Salad!
Easy to find ingredients - This crispy crunchy slaw is one of our favorite side dishes. You can serve it any time of the year thanks to the year-round availability of ingredients.
Delicious peanut dressing - The peanut dressing has that classic spicy flavor but with an added sweet and citrus flavor combination that compliments and pulls it together nicely.
Fresh and crispy - The salad (or slaw) is made with cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, mandarin oranges, toasted peanuts, and cilantro.
Sweet orange flavor - The mandarin oranges add beautiful color as well as additional sweet and citrus flavors that pair well with the peanut butter and ginger dressing. Serve this side salad with chicken or pork, or use it as a topping on your favorite sandwich or wrap.
Cabbage craze - As you probably already know, cabbage is one of our favorite vegetables because it's versatile, healthy, inexpensive, and available virtually year round. You can eat it raw or cooked. Check out some of my other cabbage recipes: Creamy Cheesy Cabbage Casserole, and Egg Roll in a Bowl.
Easy - This recipe is easy to throw together for a simple vegetable side dish to make any occasion special. Make it a meal by adding sliced grilled chicken! Great for meal prep!
Fresh vegetables - Coleslaw mix, carrots, red bell pepper, and green onions.
Fresh cilantro - provides a lemony, pepper flavor.
Toasted peanuts - can substitute unsalted, roasted peanuts.
Mandarin orange - canned, packed in juice.
White sesame seeds - if you can't find white sesame seeds, use the regular kind,
- For the vegetables, you can also add a small amount of chopped broccoli, snow peas, or water chestnuts.
- You can use roasted cashews instead of the peanuts.
- For added crunch, sprinkle some toasted, crumbled ramen noodles.
Peanut Dressing Ingredients
Peanut butter - I like to use the natural peanut peanut but any creamy peanut butter will work fine.
Rice vinegar - a common ingredient in Asian recipes, vinegar adds a little bit of zing.
Sesame oil - adds that signature nutty flavor that's common in many Asian recipes.
Sriracha sauce - a type of hot sauce with the texture of ketchup.
Honey - adds sweetness. Use agave nectar or regular sugar if that's what you have.
Fresh lime juice - adds a citrus twang. Use the bottled lime juice if you already have it on hand.
Fresh ginger - you can use ginger paste that comes in a tube if you don't want to buy fresh ginger as it can be expensive.
Fresh garlic - you can use the minced garlic that comes in a jar. Jarred, minced garlic is very handy and keeps well in the refrigerator.
Mandarin oranges - found in the canned fruit section of your grocery store - choose packed in juice, not syrup.
How to Make It
For the best Asian Cabbage Salad results, follow the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: Combine coleslaw mix, carrots, bell pepper, green onion, and fresh cilantro (save a little cilantro for garnish) in a large bowl. Set aside.
Step 2: Over medium heat, combine the peanut butter, vinegar, sesame oil, and sriracha sauce in a medium-size pot. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Step 3: Whisk in tamari or coconut aminos, honey, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and reserved liquid from the mandarin oranges. Simmer for about 2 minutes.
Step 4: Drizzle the slaw mixture with a small amount of warm peanut dressing. Toss to combine.
Step 5: Top the slaw with peanuts, Mandarin oranges, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Serve extra peanut sauce on the side.
How to Serve Asian Cabbage
As a main - Enjoy as a entree salad with or without meat. Serve with garlic bread and crispy croutons and sesame seeds on top.
As a filling - Top your hamburger or taco with this tasty slaw!
Frequently Asked Questions
Tamari is soy sauce that's made without grains, therefore, it's a great gluten-free soy sauce alternative. Coconut aminos is a soy-free seasoning sauce that's a popular alternative to soy sauce for those who avoid soy. Coconut aminos are lighter in flavor than tamari, but are a great soy sauce alternative.
Definitely! This can be made 1 day in advance. Make the spicy peanut dressing as directed, let cool completely, place into a sealable container, and store in the refrigerator. Combine shredded green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, and bell pepper in a large bowl; cover and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, toss the dressing and salad mixture together. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and add the peanuts, sesame seeds, and cilantro leaves. Top with the mandarin oranges.
The most common meats to serve with Asian Slaw are chicken or turkey, and fish (see my Easy Grilled or Broiled BBQ Salmon recipe.
Make a salad like this one! The ever so popular Inside Out Egg Roll is always a delicious meal choice! Try this Southern Fried Cabbage recipe from Immaculate Bites....cooked with garlic and bacon....delicious!
Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I prefer to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco, available now on Amazon.
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Asian Cabbage Salad
FOR THE SALAD
- 16 ounce bag of shredded coleslaw mix (green and red cabbage) you'll need about 5-6 cups of coleslaw mix.
- 2 large carrots, shredded
- 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 2 green onions, (green part only), sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ¼ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- 15 ounces Mandarin Oranges (no sugar added), drained but save ¼ cup liquid for the dressing
FOR THE DRESSING
- ½ cup all-natural peanut butter (or regular)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (or use garlic chili sauce)
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1-½ tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (you'll need about 4 limes to get enough juice)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced (or use ginger paste in the tube)
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or use 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic that comes in a jar. Do not use dried garlic powder or dried minced garlic)
- ¼ cup reserved Mandarin orange liquid
- Combine coleslaw mix, carrots, bell pepper, green onion, and fresh cilantro (save a little cilantro for garnish) in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Over medium heat, combine the peanut butter, vinegar, sesame oil, and sriracha sauce in a medium-size pot. Taste for flavor, and add salt and pepper if needed. Stir or whisk constantly until the peanut butter melts and is completely blended with the ingredients (about 2-3 minutes).
- Turn the heat down to low and whisk in tamari or coconut aminos, honey, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and reserved liquid from the mandarin oranges. Simmer, constantly stirring, until thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drizzle the slaw mixture with a small amount of warm peanut dressing. Toss to combine. Taste test and season with a small amount of salt and pepper if desired.
- Top the slaw with peanuts, Mandarin oranges, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately with the remaining peanut dressing on the side.
This recipe was originally published in 2019 and was updated in 2023.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy to my readers. I'm not a nutritionist and I don't guarantee the accuracy of this data. The data may differ according to the brands I used versus the brands you use. To calculate the data yourself using your brands, try using an online nutrition calculator or app.