If you're looking for a new go-to summer slaw recipe, you've found it! A pile of gorgeous crunchy vegetables, lightly dressed with a creamy, mustardy, salty goodness reminiscent of a Chicago hot dog topping. What's not to love?
This easy recipe is perfect as a side to any grilled protein, or as a topper for your fish sandwiches or shrimp po' boys. This Savory Napa Coleslaw Recipe is the most delicious salad for your next potluck party or vegetarian side dish for all your summer cookouts.
Coleslaw is the answer to so many "What should I serve with..." questions that I hear. It's basically a hearty, make-ahead salad and the varieties and styles are constrained only by our imaginations. Two of my favorites are the classic, sweet southern slaw (full cup mayonnaise, please!) and the beautiful Asian napa cabbage slaw that meets every special diet and healthy recipes requirement.
May I add to your list of favorites this Savory Napa Cabbage Slaw? My family has been making this salad for decades - it's a specialty of my mom's. The combination of crunchy vegetables and the fresh, simple dressing provide the ideal supporting flavor profile for so many of our regular weekly dishes. And now that I've transitioned my weekday meals to pescatarian, this perfectly seasoned napa slaw has topped more shrimp and fish tacos and grouper sandwiches than I could count.
Make it! You'll love it.
Here's what you'll need to make this savory napa cabbage slaw recipe:
- shredded napa cabbage
- shredded carrot
- diced green bell pepper
- matchstick radishes
- sliced green onions
- diced tomatoes
- real mayonnaise
- yellow mustard
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- celery salt
- fresh black pepper
Step by step instructions:
Start by washing and drying all of your veggies. This recipe is a list of very simple ingredients, so we want to treat them all with care. For the cabbage, the recipe calls for half of a large head napa cabbage, but of course regular green cabbage can be substituted if that's what you have on hand. Do plan to let the slaw sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to give the more fibrous green cabbage time to soften a bit before serving.
Cut the head of napa cabbage in half, then turn cut side down on the board and slice very thin.
Put the shredded cabbage into a large mixing bowl, along with the shredded carrots (store bought is fine, or shred one large carrot), diced green pepper (substitute red bell pepper or orange bell pepper if that's what you like), diced scallions, julienned radishes and diced grape tomatoes.
Make the dressing by combining 3 tablespoons of real mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard, 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (yes, lime juice works, too) 1 ½ teaspoons of celery salt and ½ teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper. Whisk the ingredients to combine thoroughly.
Pour the dressing over the fresh vegetable and cabbage mixture. It will look like it's not enough, but never fear. Toss all of the dressing through the salad to be sure it's coated.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry and the veggies to soften. Remove from the refrigerator. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer the napa slaw to a serving bowl and get ready to party.
Can I add any other vegetables to this napa cabbage coleslaw?
Certainly - this is the best coleslaw to adapt to whatever you have in your refrigerator for whipping up a last minute side. Lots of veggies will work. Napa cabbage (sometimes called Chinese cabbage) can be replaced by regular green cabbage, or a combination of green and red cabbage. The green bell pepper can be subbed with yellow, orange or red. Radishes add a lovely peppery crunch to the salad, but can be left out or subbed with extra carrots or scallions. The recipe calls for 8-9 total cups of vegetables, so just aim to stay in that range with your substitutions.
Can I use vinegar instead of lemon juice in the dressing?
Lime or lemon juice can be used in the dressing. If substituting vinegar, I recommend a little bit of rice vinegar, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. White distilled vinegar is very acidic and may create an imbalance in the flavors.
I have a fancy mustard - can I use that instead of plain yellow mustard?
Yellow mustard adds the perfect acidity to this dressing. But I have used creamy Dijon mustard and even a bit of whole grain in this recipe. Either would work.
I don't have celery salt - what can I substitute?
If you have celery seed, use ½ teaspoon celery seed and 1 teaspoon sea salt as a substitute. If you don't have celery salt or celery seed, try adding ½ cup of finely diced celery and 1 teaspoon salt to the crunchy napa slaw.
Can I make it spicy?
You know it! Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a few shakes of hot sauce to the dressing before tossing in the salad. I've also used a fresh jalapeno in place of the green bell pepper (when I was sure all of the guests could tolerate some heat).
What can I serve with Savory Napa Cabbage Slaw?
It's ideal with any kind of grilled or blackened fish and shrimp - entrees, tacos, sandwiches. I've also served it as a side for a seafood boil or baked colossal shrimp and the freshness and crunch added the perfect balance to the richness of the spicy seafood and potatoes. Vegetarian recipes like this napa cabbage slaw can also accompany your favorite savory brunch recipes like smoked salmon quiche, which benefit from having a make ahead fresh vegetable side.
To store, keep in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.Print