Saturday, February 19, 2011

Recipe for Napa Cabbage Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, Peanuts, and Dijon-Ginger Dressing

Napa Cabbage Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, Peanuts, and Ginger-Dijon Dressing
I loved this salad with Napa Cabbage, Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, Peanuts, and a Ginger-Dijon dressing.

I'm a huge fan of every type of cabbage, but lately I've been loving napa cabbage, used widely in Asian cuisines and also called Chinese Cabbage.  Napa cabbage has a more delicate flavor than regular green cabbage, although I'm guessing this salad would still taste pretty good with green cabbage if you're a cabbage fan.  This is another idea I found in Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast, but this time I experimented with the dressing several different times and ended up with one that's changed quite a bit from the original recipe.  I loved the flavor blend in my version of the dressing, with rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, ginger puree, sesame oil, and agave nectar blended together with vegetable oil, but if you had sweet-hot Chinese mustard, I think that would also be a great choice for this.  I ate this huge bowl of this salad for lunch, and made it several times after that to test dressing variations, and this version is a keeper for me.

To make the dressing stir together rice vinegar, Dijon mustard, ginger puree, sesame oil, and agave nectar, then whisk in the vegetable oil.  (I made this with both freshly grated ginger and ginger puree from a jar, and I actually preferred the slightly-milder flavor from the ginger puree.)

Cut a red bell pepper into thin strips, aiming for strips that are all the same size.

Thinly slice green onions and chop cilantro.  (If you're a cilantro hater, I'd add more green onion.)

Chop peanuts coarsely with a chef's knife.  (Use unsalted peanuts for a lower-sodium version.)

Chop up 1/2 head of  the napa cabbage, then toss it in a salad bowl with the red bell pepper strips, cilantro, and green onions.  (Forgot to take a photo of the chopped cabbage, blogger error!)

Then add dressing and toss again.  (You may not need all the dressing if you prefer your dressings on the dry side.)

Dish out the salad into individual servings; then sprinkle peanuts on each serving.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Red Bell Pepper, Cilantro, Peanuts, and Dijon-Ginger Dressing
(Makes 4 side-salad servings or 2 main-dish salads; recipe adapted from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast.)

1/2 of large head napa cabbage, chopped (about 5-6 cups chopped cabbage)
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced into same-length slices
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or more; if you're a cilantro hater I'd use more green onion)
1/3 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts

2 T rice vinegar (use unseasoned vinegar without added sugar)
2 tsp. grated ginger puree (can also use freshly grated ginger root, but I liked the ginger puree from a jar for this)
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (I think sweet-hot Chinese mustard would also be good)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 T agave nectar (could also use a slightly smaller amount of white sugar or Splenda)
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste (I used a very small amount of each)
3 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)

Stir together the rice vinegar, grated ginger puree, Dijon mustard, sesame oil, agave nectar, salt, and pepper, then whisk in the oil one tablespoon at a time.  Let the dressing sit to develop flavor while you chop the salad ingredients.

Chop 1/2 head napa cabbage to make 5-6 cups chopped cabbage.  Cut off stem and remove seeds from red bell pepper, then cut into thin slices, trying to make them about the same length.  Thinly slice green onions, chop cilantro, and chop peanuts.

Toss together the chopped napa cabbage, red bell pepper strips, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro in a medium-sized salad bowl.  Add desired amount dressing and toss to coat the salad.  (You may not need all the dressing if you like your salads on the dry side.)  Put salad in individual serving dishes and top each serving with chopped peanuts.

This did not keep particularly well in the fridge, so if you're not going to eat it all  I would add dressing only to the amount you're eating.  Then refrigerate the leftover mixture of napa cabbage, red bell peppers, green onions, and chopped cilantro and add the dressing and peanuts when you eat the leftovers.

You could add chopped leftover rotisserie chicken to this salad to make it a more substantial main-dish salad.

South Beach Suggestions: 
This salad is loaded with low-glycemic ingredients like cabbage, red bell peppers, and peanuts, making it great for every phase of the South Beach Diet.  Be sure to use unseasoned rice vinegar (without sugar) if you're making it for South Beach .  If you're eating this for phase one, it's probably best to use Splenda or another no-calorie sweetener in the dressing, although the amount of agave nectar in a serving of salad is going to be quite small.

More Tasty Salads with Napa Cabbage:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Napa Cabbage and Red Cabbage Salad with Fresh Herbs and Peanuts from Kalyn's Kitchen
Napa Cabbage Slaw with Carrots and Fennel-Dijon Dressing from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gingered Napa Cabbage Salad from The Perfect Pantry
Napa Cabbage and Watercress Salad from Dani Spies
Best Vietnamese Chicken Salad from White on Rice Couple
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. I love Napa cabbage, because it has almost no calories and it fills you up. It's also more delicate than green cabbage, which I often have to steam to achieve the texture I like. This salad looks wonderful (sans cilantro, for me), and I love the sound of the dijon-ginger dressing.

  2. Lydia, I have to confess you were one of the people I thought of when I gave that tip about more green onions if you omit the cilantro! I loved this dressing, lots of good flavors.

  3. This looks delish. Red cabbage, however, has a greater amount of good stuff in it. It also makes for a prettier salad.

  4. It looks delicious. Sans cilantro for me.

  5. The dijon-ginger dressing sounds like the perfect flavor to go with the salad. Asian-inspired cabbage salads are one of my favorite ways to eat cabbage.

  6. I love chopped salads. This one, witht eh Asain flavors is going to be lunch next week. Thank you for another fresh idea Kayln.

  7. I like the way you chopped the cabbage instead of shredding it. This looks like a "keeper" of a salad!

  8. This looks amazing! Going out to buy the goodies to make it.

  9. So pretty! I love Napa cabbage with ginger for some reason. Isn't that a random thing to love? But I really do.

  10. What a colorful healthy salad. I love napa cabbage in salad because it's milder and softer than regular cabbage. It's also a cruciferous vegetable similar to broccoli and cauliflower but without the strong flavor, so very healthy and kid friendly.

  11. I love all the flavors in this chopped salad! It looks wonderful.

  12. Thanks everyone for the nice feedback about the recipe. So glad people are liking it.

  13. I'm not usually the biggest fan of cabbage salads but with that ginger-dijon dressing on it...I think I would fall in love.

  14. Oh this is perfect for dinner tonight. I may toss in just a little chicken and then I'm off and running. You have such creative salads. Thank you for the reminder to eat salads that look good to eat!

  15. I usually don't comment until I've actually tried something but this looks so visually pleasing I had to say something! I can't wait to try this!!!! I hope my grocery sells Napa Cabbage. ;)

  16. Thanks again for the nice feedback about the recipe. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

  17. I stumpled here from another site, of course... this recipe looks yummy and perfect for dinner. I'll add some grilled chicken that I'll prolly marinate in the dressing first... yum!

  18. Kathleen sounds good. And you probably know this, but I just have to caution you to be sure to keep the dressing you marinate the chicken in separate from the dressing you use on the salad!

  19. Hey, this does sound good, and I want to make this, except I don't like peanuts. Do you think there are other nuts that would be just as good with this?

  20. I think you could use any type of nuts that you like. My personal second choice would be cashews.

  21. Don't you love Everyday Food? I saw some lovely Napa cabbage in the Asian market yesterday, and now I wish I'd picked it up.

  22. TW, I've found so many good recipes in both the Everyday Food Cookbooks, just love them!

  23. This combines such great ingredients, and the dressing looks delicious. I'm making this tonight. Seriously. Pairing it with salmon. That will be a perfect, nutritious combo. Thanks!

  24. Love this blog, I've gotten so many tasty recipes from Kayln. Tonight I made this recipe but as I got to the dressing I decided I've been eating a lot of dijon inspired salads so instead I used a TBSP of peanut butter and it is delish!! Thanks for all the food inspiration.

  25. Sunny that sounds good! Glad you've been enjoying the recipes.

  26. Can you tell me what ginger puree is? This salad sounds so good!

  27. Ginger puree is finely ground ginger, usually sold in the produce department. Some Asian stores sell something similar called ground ginger. You can use grated fresh ginger, but the ginger puree mixes into the dressing a little better.


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