Eat the rainbow with this bright and colourful Asian cabbage salad! Served with a creamy and spicy peanut dressing, this hearty salad is perfect both as a side and a vegan main.
Cabbage has always been one of my favourite ingredients because it’s so economical and versatile.
In fact, this vegetarian cabbage soup recipe is just pennies a bowl and one of my most popular recipes to date for its simplicity and great taste.
With one cheap head of cabbage you can make several healthy recipes that will keep you fed for a week or more!
Cabbage salad with peanut dressing
This Asian cabbage salad recipe with peanut dressing that I have for you today draws inspiration from Thai flavours.
But this isn’t just another Asian slaw recipe!
Protein-packed quinoa and chickpeas make this salad hearty enough to be a main dish while a rainbow of raw veggies make for a meal rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Cashews add a dose of healthy fats and cilantro brightens everything up.
Cabbage salad dressing
But the real star is the peanut salad dressing! It only takes a few minutes to whip up and is super flavourful.
Creamy salad dressings can sometimes be a challenge for vegan recipes but nut butters are always a quick and easy solution over blending cashews.
To make this Thai-inspired dressing I combined natural peanut butter with ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and sriracha. Water helps thin it out to a pourable consistency.
Oftentimes, peanut salad dressing recipes call for some kind of sweetener like sugar, honey, agave or maple syrup.
Personally, I try to avoid added sugars and this dressing is delicious as is but you can go ahead and add your choice of sweetener if you’re looking for the salty-sour-sweet-spicy balance often found in Thai recipes.
How to make Asian cabbage salad
This salad is super easy to make. The most time consuming part is shredding the cabbage and chopping the veggies.
Start by boiling the quinoa until tender. This should take 10 - 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred the cabbage and chop all the vegetables.
Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
Prepare the peanut dressing by adding all the ingredients to a bowl and mixing well until smooth and creamy.
Depending on which type of peanut butter you use, you may need to add more or less water to reach a pourable consistency.
Feel free to taste the dressing and adjust the ingredient measurements to your liking.
Once the quinoa has absorbed all the water and is tender, you can remove it from the heat.
You have the choice if you want to allow the quinoa to cool before adding it to the salad or to add it in still warm.
Personally, I like to let it cool a bit before tossing all the salad ingredients together.
This recipe makes a big salad that’s great for a potluck or as a meal prep for the rest of the week.
If you’re serving it to a big group, go ahead and dress it with the peanut dressing.
If you’ll be eating this over several days like I do, I prefer to keep the salad and dressing separate until I’m ready to eat.
Can I prep this salad in advance?
To make this salad in advance, allow the quinoa to cool before transferring it to an airtight container.
In a separate container store your chopped veggies, chickpeas and cilantro.
Keep the dressing in a separate container.
When you’re ready to serve, combine the quinoa and veggies in a big bowl and top with the cashews.
Because the dressing tends to thicken as it sits, you may need to add another splash of water to loosen it up back to a pourable consistency.
How long does cabbage salad last?
Once combined, this Asian cabbage salad will last 3 - 4 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If you store the dressing separately, it will last a day or two longer.
How to serve it
- As a main. Quinoa and chickpeas make this Asian cabbage salad a hearty main dish
- Tofu. This salad would make an excellent side dish to teriyaki tofu or garlic tofu.
- Curry. Alongside a Thai red or green curry.
- Noodles. Try this recipe with vegan garlic noodles or udon noodle soup.
Asian Cabbage Salad
For the Asian cabbage salad
- 1 ¼ cups (295 ml) water
- 1 cup (170 grams) uncooked quinoa
- ⅛ purple cabbage shredded
- ½ medium broccoli finely chopped
- 1 medium red pepper diced
- 1 large carrot grated
- 2 green onions chopped
- 1 can (15 oz / 400 gram) chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 cup (140 grams) cashews
- ½ cup (17 grams) cilantro
For the peanut dressing
- 5 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- Juice of ½ lime
- 5 tablespoons water or as needed to thin the dressing
- Bring the water to boil in a small pot with a lid. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse under cool water. Place the quinoa in the pot of boiling water, reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow to cook until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender - 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile chop all the vegetables.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Depending on what type of peanut butter you use, you may need more or less water to reach a pourable consistency.
- When the quinoa is cooked, you can either let it cool before combining with the rest of the ingredients or serve your salad warm.
- Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss well.
- This makes a large salad so if you’re expecting to have leftovers, I suggest keeping the dressing separate and just dressing each bowl as it’s served.
- Keep leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The dressing tends to thicken in the fridge but can be loosened up again with a splash of water.