Spicy Crunchy Asian Slaw

Let’s talk coleslaw.

I don’t really like the mayonnaisey stuff. I sorta don’t really like mayonnaise in general. Unless, of course, it’s in tuna salad. Or potato salad. But shredded lettuce and mayonnaise? No sir.

But this coleslaw is different!! It’s light and refreshing with a squeeze of lime, a pinch of red pepper flakes and dry salted peanuts for extra crunch.

And for some reason, it’s all I’m craving now that I can finally start to eat solid food again. You KNOW I’ve been sick if I turn down food. But now that I can finally eat again, I’m craving crunchy vegetables. Well, that and blue gatorade. It’s as if the stomach flu took away the old Jenna and in it’s place, left some veggie freak. How odd.

I like to keep the dressing light, too, so the cabbage isn’t drenched. The end result is a super light, crisp slaw that pretty much pairs with anything.

And my dirty little secret? You can buy pre-sliced napa cabbage in big bags at Trader Joe’s for $1.19.

Happy Friday!!! What are your plans this weekend?

Spicy Crunchy Asian Slaw

serves 2-4

Print this recipe!


1 small head napa cabbage (or a bag from Trader Joe’s)

2 large carrots

1 bell pepper, very thinly sliced

2 T dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

1.5 tsp canola oil

1.5 tsp sesame oil

1 T rice vinegar

2 tsp soy sauce

1 lime, juiced

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


Shred the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Using a peeler or a grater, peel or grate the carrots and place in bowl with the cabbage along with the bell pepper. Toss well to combine.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combing the canola oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and red pepper flakes. Drizzle over coleslaw and toss well. Add peanuts and serve.


15 minutes









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  • Kathryn
    August 26, 2011 at 4:34 am

    I completely agree with you – for years I thought I didn’t like coleslaw because of all the mayo but now that I’ve realised you can have it without, it’s changed my life (maybe a slight exaggeration…) Love the flavours in this, can’t wait to try it!

  • Natasha (OveLoves)
    August 26, 2011 at 4:37 am

    Agreed – hate traditional coleslaw but love asian style coleslaws with a vinegar based dressing. Once again, another one of your recipes that I will be adding to my list to make.


  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}
    August 26, 2011 at 4:44 am

    This is my kind of cole slaw. The flavors sound great and I love the addition of peanuts. Happy Friday to you!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    August 26, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Oh wow, great minds think alike because I have a very similar version of this in my lunch today! The only difference is that I don’t have the spicy peanuts, and added some flaked tuna for protein. I think I might need to throw the peanuts in though 😉 Thanks for the idea, and have a fabulous weekend Jenna!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    August 26, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I am loving cabbage lately. The mayonnaise is still on the black list though.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    August 26, 2011 at 4:56 am

    i’m not a big mayo person either…but i do love lighter slaws and this one sounds perfect!

  • Heather
    August 26, 2011 at 5:00 am

    YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM. This WILL be made in my house ASAP, Jenna! This looks delicious. SO happy to hear that you’re feeling better. (:

  • Blog is the New Black
    August 26, 2011 at 5:05 am

    I made something very similar for a Father’s Day cookout- I hate mayo! Anything like this without mayo is great in my book. Light & refreshing!

  • Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance
    August 26, 2011 at 5:08 am

    I’m with you, Jenna– not a big fan of mayo salads & coleslaws

  • Katrina
    August 26, 2011 at 5:16 am

    This sounds so scrumptious. Love this!

  • Heather
    August 26, 2011 at 5:16 am

    this looks so devine! Especially for an end of summer picnic!!

  • Khushboo
    August 26, 2011 at 5:18 am

    GAH I HATE mayonnaise and stay far away from coleslaw! Will definitely be trying your version though, something about it screams ‘pad thai’

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers
    August 26, 2011 at 5:18 am

    I made almost exactly the same slaw last week and ate on it for days. Ugh to mayo! 🙂

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    August 26, 2011 at 5:23 am

    oh this sounds really good. I’m not a huge coleslaw fan, but for some reason this just seems like something I want to eat 🙂

  • Baking N Books
    August 26, 2011 at 5:25 am

    I’ve actually been buying pre-packaged coleslaw the past few weeks that’s new out. I know – “make your own” – but it’s easier for me as it doesn’t go bad. And if I buy a whole cabbage – I know it’ll just sit there in the fridge and I won’t take the time to prepare it.

    I think you can do coleslaw just like any salad. I add hummus and salsa to it! It makes a light side dish.

    Glad your feeling better – did you have food poisoning or something going around?

  • Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray
    August 26, 2011 at 5:26 am

    Asian coleslaw is so much better than regular coleslaw! This looks like a great recipe!

  • Lauren @ What Lauren Likes
    August 26, 2011 at 5:36 am

    I hated mayo for such a long time because of the mayo, never like it….this recipe is bomb! I cant wait to try it 🙂

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    August 26, 2011 at 5:42 am

    It’s funny that when we get really sick or go thru a big change with our bodies that what emerges can be a little different, i.e. the total veggie craving Jenna part you mentioned 🙂 When i was pregnant, all I wanted/could keep down was white carbs, breads, starches, pastas, and NO fresh anything, nothing crunchy, just a total 180 from my usual. Random comment but your post jogged that memory for me.

    The crunchy salad looks awesome! RIGHT up my alley!

    • Baking N Books
      August 26, 2011 at 9:41 am

      I’m the same when I’m sick. I can’t look at vegetables usually and just want starches. But I’m not sick often – or pregnant 😉

  • Shannon
    August 26, 2011 at 5:48 am

    I loooooooove this slaw! I’m all about slaw but I too can’t get into the mayo-laden kind. I made one not too long ago with jalapenos that was okay but this one looks great… and I didn’t know TJ’s sold bagged cabbage so you better believe I’m all over that!

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    August 26, 2011 at 5:53 am

    this looks like my kind of coleslaw! so light and flavorful – yum!

  • Tasha @ Voracious Eats
    August 26, 2011 at 5:57 am

    This is so beautiful! I personally LOVE mayonaisse, but I also love lighter more vinegar based slaws. This dish looks so pretty with all the bright colors, and I can only imagine that the flavors play off each other perfectly. I’ll be making this soon! Glad to hear you are feeling better. 🙂

  • Cait's Plate
    August 26, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Haha oh man. Blue gatorade. I haven’t had that since my softball days – I miss it!

    Anyway, I digress. I love this version of coleslaw. I love mayo, but I find I’m not as big a fan of the slaws that are drenched in it so this is right up my alley.

    Glad you’re feeling better!

  • Lisa | Life in Green
    August 26, 2011 at 6:35 am

    That slaw looks dang good. I’m right there with you…no mayo-ey stuff on my cabbage either.

    I made a Crunchy Asian salad earlier this summer it was tasty and mayo-free too:

  • josie
    August 26, 2011 at 6:53 am

    This looks wonderful! Alternatively, if you are really pressed for time, you can just use a little of Newman’s low fat ginger dressing with a sqeeze of lime instead. I’ve done this many times and it’s good and fast!

  • Corey @ Learning Patience
    August 26, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I’m a NO MAYO girl myself….yuck… Thanks this came just in time for my Asian inspired dinner tonight… I think I might stuff this into some spring rolls tonight…yum!

    Thanks! xoxo from Trinidad

  • katie @KatieDid
    August 26, 2011 at 7:11 am

    I had an insanely good asian slaw out to eat once. It was in a lime peanut sauce. I’ll never forget it, SO delicious! I prefer these kinds of slaws to mayo slaw any day!

  • Carissa @ ChoiceSustenance
    August 26, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I’m not a huge fan of mayo either. This looks fantastic. I’ve been craving Asian flavors lately.

  • Moni'sMeals
    August 26, 2011 at 7:50 am

    yes, this is my type of slaw. I have a recipe very similiar too… I add tempeh bacon to it and greek yogurt as well!

    Anything with “spicy” in the title, count me in!! Here is my recipe if you are interested, I look forward to trying yours as I always have TJ Slaw!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    August 26, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I love cole slaw like this!! Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  • Kiah
    August 26, 2011 at 8:01 am

    I have those little white dishes–they’re so cute! And a nice snack serving size 🙂

  • Bev Weidner
    August 26, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Oh girl, now that’s my kinda slaw!

    I think I just like saying SLAW.

  • Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen
    August 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

    This looks so tasty! I’m with you on the mayo-laden coleslaw. I love vinaigrette on coleslaw – esp w purple cabbage. Is this a coleslaw that you can dress and then eat for days, or does it get soggy/I should leave the dressing separate? I’m thinking it would be nice to mix up my usual lunch salad and make up a big batch on Sunday night.

  • Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles
    August 26, 2011 at 8:35 am

    I’m with you a 100% on the mayo. Ick ick ick.

    But be careful with the cabbage…It can be rough on a sensitive tummy. It’s no surprise that you can make even a photo of coleslaw look pretty.

  • Sarah@The Flying ONION
    August 26, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Ever since I tried a coleslaw WITHOUT mayo laden dressings, I’ve been a convert. There’s no going back. I’m pretty sure if cabbage could talk, it would beg to be served in such a fresh, flavorful way. Yes, absolutely…forget the mayo!!

    Thanks for this recipe! Can’t wait to try it out for my next cookout! 😀

  • Logan
    August 26, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I have a recipe that uses toasted ramen noodles for the “crunch” instead of peanuts. I don’t mind mayonaise, but i do prefer slaw to be much lighter. This looks good!

    • Tania
      August 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Yes Jenna, you MUST try your recipe with toasted ramen noodles!! It is off the hook with the noodles!! Just shred them into small pieces.

      • HilJo
        August 26, 2011 at 1:39 pm

        mmmm I agree, thats how we always eat it!! and sometimes toasted almonds, sometimes sunflower seeds 🙂

  • Liz @ Southern Charm
    August 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Looks delicious and light, especially since there isn’t any mayo. Bet it would be tasty with some seared tuna steak 🙂 Can’t wait to try it out!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
    August 26, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Asian slaws are so much better than the mayo kind!
    How did I not know about the pre shredded cabbage? That’s amazing b/c 1. who likes shredding it? and 2. I can never seem to use the whole cabbage!

  • Jackie @ That Deep Breath
    August 26, 2011 at 9:58 am

    This looks amazing! I never get to eat coleslaw because I can’t stand the thought of mayonnaise. I can’t wait to try this!!

  • Lisa G. Perez
    August 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I didn’t know so many people hated mayonnaise! I would understand why – just the thought of so many concentrated calories in one teaspoon is enough to make me shudder! Thanks for the recipe! I’m excited to try it out. And all those veggies will surely make this a treat for those going for a healthy lifestyle.

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  • Alexa @ Simple Eats
    August 26, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I love cole slaw like this! It’s super refreshing!

  • Mauimandy@The Grains of Paradise
    August 26, 2011 at 11:05 am

    So pretty! Almost looks like green papaya salad 🙂

  • Celeste
    August 26, 2011 at 11:09 am

    !! rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil pair together SO well. I’ve been using those 3 as a simple dressing for every salad under the sun!

  • Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble
    August 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Glad you’re feeling better! I love the tang of lime juice, green onion, and salty peanuts in this recipe!

  • Mads
    August 26, 2011 at 11:31 am

    mmm I make a similar Asian slaw and I LOVE IT. I have to stop myself from eating the whole bowl. haha I use toasted almonds in mine, but peanuts sound so much better today for some reason.

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Modern Bites
    August 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I actually ADORE regular coleslaw… but lightly dressed. I never was a fan of mayonnaise until now.. my tastes are changing so much as I get older!

    Yur slaw looks awesome….. it would make a super fun potluck dish. Not everyone likes mayo based slaws like I do! You can totally write this one off as a kind of… salad? Super healthy 😀

  • Jessica @ Jess Go Bananas
    August 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I usually hate all cole slaws as well – that darn mayonnaise! But this actually sounds appetizing! =] When I am sick the blue gatorade is my go-to too! Feel Better!

  • Erin @ Cooking on Whim
    August 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Looks wonderful! A friend of mine made a recipe similar to this…. except she added dry ramen noodles. A different type of crunch, I know. 🙂

  • Kaye
    August 26, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I’ve been craving something like this! Asian flavors are so bomb in the summer time! Just a question though – did you use a mix of regular cabbage and napa? Because the pics look like green cabbage and I want to make this correctly so I can eat it!

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  • Jenny @ Train for Wellness
    August 26, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    I know hate is a strong word but I hate mayo. With a passion. I even dislike things that resemble mayo. Garlic aioli? No thanks, it’s just a fancy word for mayo. It even took me a long time to warm up to creamy salad dressings but I’m slowly getting over that 🙂

  • Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel
    August 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    yum! yum! yum! i always try to keep rice vinegar stocked in the pantry for salads, especially for Asian dressings- so delicious and really irreplaceable <3

  • Emily @ Comfortable Home Life
    August 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    MMMMMM this looks absolutely crunchy, citrusy and refreshing. Totally what I’m in the mood for — a perfect end of summer light side dish.

  • Shannon
    August 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Ah yes, a kindred spirit you are. No thanks to mayo. Yes to crunchy fresh cabbage. Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

  • Amira @hungrydancers
    August 26, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Looks so good! definitely going to have to make that soon! reminds me of the Chinese chicken salad I grew up eating from costo!

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  • Becki @ Becki's Whole Life
    August 27, 2011 at 4:40 am

    This looks great and I love all of the different flavors….you could also probably add this to quite a few Asian dishes for some extra crunch (like you add slaw to tacos.) I am getting over being stomach sick, too – if you are craving veggies you definitely must feel better! I only want carbs and sweets right now so you are definitely better off than me!

  • Jessica
    August 27, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Glad you’re feeling better Jenna! Terrible cold going around over here on the other side of the world – crummy. The slaw looks amazing – what a great and easy side to go with all sorts of Asian-y things!

  • Vasu Manimaran
    August 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I hate mayonnaise so I’m looking forward to making a cole slaw recipe with no mayo!

  • Mellie
    August 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Yum! I don’t like mayonnaise, either, but I love coleslaw.

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    August 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm


  • kim a
    August 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    oh boy jenna you are reading my mind. i am on a detox and bought some pre-shredded slaw mix and have been trying to figure out what to do with it. most of the ingredients listed in your asian slaw are approved and would be perfect! will have to sub peanuts for almonds and use a tahini sauce that is non-gluten but i am sure it will be good! thanks!!!

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    August 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Oh, sorry to hear you were sick Jenna! Glad you’re stomach is starting to crave things again. And with this fabulous recipe, how can it not?! Looks awesome.

  • Jenn
    August 28, 2011 at 4:51 am

    I made this yesterday for a cookout. GREAT! Thanks for sharing:)
    Feel better and enjoy your last day with your parents!

  • The Newlywed Chefs
    August 28, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    We don’t like the mayonaseey stuff either- this recipe looks wonderful!

  • Kelsey @ aslolife
    August 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Totally agree about mayo. For some reason, my husband loves it and would eat it straight out of the bottle so we usually compromise with cole slaw and just add a bit.

  • Heather @ Better With Veggies
    August 29, 2011 at 6:25 am

    This slaw looks amazing! I’m not a fan of mayo slaw either (sounds like there are a lot of us), the mayo just covers up the flavor of everything in the slaw. This recipe has been added to me “need-to-make” list. 🙂

  • Nikki
    August 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    This looks so delicious! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

    I would love it if you would share this and/or any other projects you have been up to at Tuesday Talent Show at Chef In Training Tomorrow! Plus there is going to be a fun giveaway too! Thanks so much and I hope to see you there!

  • Alice
    August 30, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Hi Jenna!
    I love your blog! I just made your Asian coleslaw recipe and raspberry jam brownies tonight and they were delicious! My husband loved both! And if you are ever in Paris again, feel free to visit us as we will be here for another few years 🙂


  • Caitlyn
    August 30, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Oh my Lord & Taylor, does this ever sound good! If only I had money to go the the store and purchase all the things I would need, I would make an enormous batch!!

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  • glidingcalm
    August 31, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    my oh my ! that sounds wonderful!! thanks for the recipe, Jenna!!

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  • Emily P
    June 23, 2012 at 10:04 am

    best.coleslaw.ever. thank youuuu!

  • Stephanie Sauber
    June 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I loved this recipe, it was exactly what I was looking for!

    I made two modifications:
    1. I used a touch of agave syrup instead of sugar
    2. I used PB2’s organic powdered peanut butter instead of peanuts which I added to the dressing. This stuff is awesome, it has all the flavor of peanut butter, but it has 85% less fat!

  • Penny
    August 22, 2012 at 1:39 am

    The dish is so fresh and just scrumptious!

    I made a similar recipe just yesterday evening, from my (French) Chinese cookbook. Differences are there is no sugar, lime and peanuts but there is garlic, and I added chopped cilantro. It was absolutely fabulous!… I’ll definitely add in the peanuts next time, though.

  • Liz
    September 8, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Do you use TOASTED sesame oil in here (the dark kind) or just the regular oil?

    • jenna
      September 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      It really doesn’t matter—either is fine but you will get more flavor with toasted.

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    October 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. I did adjust the dressing a little, adding 1tsp honey, 1tsp fresh minced ginger, and reducing the soy sauce to 1tsp. I guess I needed less salt and more sweet:)

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