Quick and Easy Spicy Korean Coleslaw

Spicy Korean coleslaw

Harald Walker/Stocksy United

  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
168 Calories
3g Fat
32g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 168
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 432mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 8g 27%
Protein 6g
Calcium 164mg 13%
*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 is an easy Korean "salad" that my mother would always make with Western cabbage (yang baechu). While we ate it, she'd usually reminisce about how she used to make this as a replacement for kimchi when she first moved to America. She couldn't always find Korean cabbage or didn't have the storage space, time or materials necessary to make large batches of kimchi.

These days, now that you can easily find bagged coleslaw in grocery stores, this Korean coleslaw is easy to make. There's no mayo, so this coleslaw is light and pairs well with both picnic food and Korean meals.


  • 1 small head cabbage (shredded into thin strips) or bag of shredded cabbage for coleslaw
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage (optional)
  • 1 sweet onion (thinly sliced)
  • 4 or 5 scallions (chopped)
  • 1 carrot, julienned (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp. crushed red pepper (kochukaru)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Mix all of the dressing ingredients together.

  2. Pour over the cabbage, onions, and scallions.

  3. Mix to combine.

  4. You can eat the Korean coleslaw immediately or wait a few hours for the flavors to deepen and combine.

A Short History of Cabbage

Cabbage has a long history of use both as food and medicine. It was developed from wild cabbage, a vegetable that was closer in appearance to collards and kale since it was composed of leaves that did not form a head.

It is thought that wild cabbage was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. It was grown in Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, and those people held it in high regard as a general panacea capable of treating a host of health conditions.

Through history, cultures and societies have used cabbage to treat ulcers, cancers, depression, for strengthening the immune system and fighting against a cough and cold, healing wounds and damaged tissues, for the proper functioning of the nervous system and to treat dementia. Cabbage, along with broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, has a reputation for fighting cancer.

While it's unclear when and where the headed cabbage that we know today was developed, cultivation of cabbage spread across northern Europe into Germany, Poland, and Russia, where it became a very popular vegetable in local food cultures. The Italians are credited with developing the Savoy cabbage. Russia, Poland, China, and Japan are a few of the leading producers of cabbage today.

Health Benefits of Cabbage

There are slightly different benefits with the different varieties of cabbage but always try to avoid overcooking cabbage so that you preserve the nutrients in the vegetable.

Cabbage offers abundant vitamin C. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that cabbage is richer in vitamin C than oranges and other fruits. Vitamin C, an antioxidant, helps to reduce the wear and tear in the body. Cabbage also contains fiber, potassium, and other nutrients.

Of any vegetable, cabbage has the lowest calories and fat. One cup of chopped, raw cabbage contains only 21 calories and none of those calories are from fat, according to The Daily Plate nutritional database.

Cabbage is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins C and K. In fact, one cup of boiled cabbage provides 91.7% percent of your daily vitamin K needs and 50.3% of your daily vitamin C requirements. Cabbage also is a very good source of manganese, vitamin B6 and folate, and a good source of vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and magnesium. Cabbage contains trace amounts of iron, zinc, and manganese.

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