sweet ‘n’ crunchy cabbage salad

My family has been making this salad for years. Let’s see…I’ve lived away from my homeland for almost 15 years & I was making it long before I left. So I’m going to say it’s at least a 20-year favorite. It’s been a hit not just because of its simplicity & ease of making but because of its unique flavor & lots of crunchy texture. The original version uses fried noodles & although I love them, I’m not adding them to this recipe because of the calories & the gluten they contain. If you want to use them knock yourself out. You can find the noodles in the Asian aisle in almost all grocery stores these days. First thing you need to start the salad is a fresh Chinese (Napa) cabbage that is shredded finely. This forms the base of the salad. 

cabbage salad

Then it’s as simple as adding celery, green onions, almonds & sunflower seed kernels. You won’t even break a sweat prepping this recipe it’s that simple. You can get the salad to this stage, cover it then pop it in the fridge & then the only effort that’s later required is to shake the salad dressing, drizzle it over the splendid green-ness & toss. If you serve it at your next barbie, or take it to a pot-luck I bet people will ask you for the recipe. It’s so much nicer than the *yawn* boring, old coleslaw. Serve it alongside ribs, pork chops, grilled steak, roasted chicken. I’ve even served it with beer-battered fish. 

cabbage salad

Besides the crunch, it’s the dressing that really makes this salad great: Olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, palm sugar (or brown sugar to sub) & a little sesame oil. If you’re gluten-free, well…use a gluten-free soy sauce like I do. Hey, speaking of sauces I had someone ask me about a vegetarian substitute for oyster sauce in another recipe of mine I’d recently posted. If you can find mushroom sauce then use that but only if you’re a veggo, otherwise, use the real thing. I’d also made reference to oyster sauce not actually containing oysters…it doesn’t…some of the more premium brands use oyster extract or essence. This is made by cooking oysters in a mixture & using the thickened liquid from that mixture to flavor the sauce, not the oysters themselves. Many of the cheaper brands say either oyster extract or flavoring. You can never be sure, many companies just use a flavoring. Many of the oyster sauces come from countries that don’t regulate labeling. That’s why I suggested using a premium brand that uses the real thing. Ok, that settled, back to this fabulous salad…

cabbage salad

Normally I’d serve this salad in a large deep bowl that’s easy for tossing it in but it doesn’t photograph very well like that so I used a platter to serve it just so you could see it better. Don’t be tempted to add sweet red peppers or carrot to give it more colour color, no, appreciate it just as is. Sprinkle it with some sesame seeds & that’s it. It needs nothing more than for you to tuck in & enjoy it. 

cabbage salad

sweet 'n' crunchy cabbage salad
Serves 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 6 cups shredded Chinese (Napa) cabbage
  2. 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
  3. 1 cup thinly sliced green onion
  4. 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, toasted*
  5. 3/4 cup sunflower seed kernels (I use the raw, unsalted ones)
  6. 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  7. SWEET SOY DRESSING
  8. 1/2 cup olive oil
  9. 1/3 cup grated palm sugar (or brown sugar if you’re not on any dietary restrictions)
  10. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  11. 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce ( I use gluten-free)
  12. 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  1. Place all ingredients in a very large bowl; toss to combine.
  2. To make the sweet soy dressing: Combine all ingredients in a jar with a screw-top lid; shake until very well mixed. Add to the salad; toss until well coated in mixture. Add the dressing to the salad just before serving.
  1. * To toast the almonds, spread almonds on a baking sheet & roast in a 350F (180C) oven for about 10 minutes or until golden; cool before adding into the salad.
The Fresh Aussie http://thefreshaussie.com/
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