Asian Coleslaw With Rice Vinegar Dressing

Asian Coleslaw With Rice Vinegar Dressing

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
77 Calories
3g Fat
11g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 77
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 59mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 54mg 272%
Calcium 117mg 9%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 551mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe falls into the category of fusion cuisine—it combines traditional coleslaw, which has European origins, with Asian flavors. While cabbage is a popular vegetable in many Chinese dishes, and it is fermented to make the Chinese sauerkraut suancai, the notion of using raw cabbage and marinating it like in coleslaw to be consumed right away is not known in Chinese cuisine. 

This is a great dish to bring along to a picnic, potluck, party, or cookout. The coleslaw is both vegetarian and vegan.

Red cabbage is similar in flavor to green cabbage, but using red cabbage for this coleslaw makes it visually more striking. In addition to red cabbage, this coleslaw is made with bok choy and mung bean sprouts, which you can find in health food stores, the produce section of most grocery stores, and Asian markets. 

Sprouted mung beans are very perishable, so it’s best to buy them fresh and not keep them longer than five days in the fridge. As they are consumed raw in this recipe, wash them thoroughly just before using. Fill a large bowl with cold water and pull the sprouts apart. Carefully pick through them and discard any that are stringy, discolored, slimy, or smell moldy. Drain them well in a colander. You can also gently spin them in your salad spinner to get rid of any excess water. 

The distinct Asian flavor of the dressing comes from the rice vinegar and the sesame oil. Rice vinegar comes unseasoned and seasoned; make sure to use unseasoned rice vinegar for this dish. Sesame oil comes in two variations as well, plain and toasted. The plain sesame oil used in this recipe is made from raw sesame seeds; it is colorless and neutral in both flavor and scent. Toasted sesame oil is dark, almost black, with a nutty flavor and a thick, syrupy consistency.

Once you have all your vegetables prepped, whipping up the dressing and mixing it with the vegetables is a cinch. But you might still want to wait a little bit. Like all coleslaw, it benefits from marinating in the refrigerator so the flavors can meld. Keeping the coleslaw chilled is important because it keeps the vegetables crunchy.

Instead of making this recipe with red cabbage, you can also use Napa cabbage, an Asian cabbage variety that originated in China (it’s also called Chinese cabbage).


  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage

  • 1/2 cup grated carrot

  • 2 large bok choy leaves

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups mung bean sprouts

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish, optional

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Asian Coleslaw With Rice Vinegar Dressing ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Wash the vegetables and drain thoroughly. Shred the cabbage and carrots.

    Shred the cabbage and carrots, and wash other vegetables

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Separate the bok choy stalks and leaves. Cut the stalks diagonally and the leaves straight across.

    Cut the bok choy stalks diagonally and the leaves straight across

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Toss the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, bok choy, and mung bean sprouts in a large bowl. Set aside.

    combine the shredded cabbage, carrots, bok choy and mung bean sprouts in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and rice vinegar. Whisk in the sesame seed oil.

    whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar and sesame seed oil

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Place the dressing in the bottom of a bowl, add the vegetables and toss again. Add the cilantro, if using, and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top. Chill until ready to serve.

    Asian Coleslaw With Rice Vinegar Dressing

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni


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