Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad with Almonds

A recipe for Chinese-style Napa cabbage slaw with two types of cabbage, plenty of green onions, cucumbers, and sliced almonds. I won’t judge if you choose to add crushed instant ramen noodles, either.

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad Recipe |

We stood at the back door, watching the sky go from blue to grey. The trees bowed towards the grass, green leaves bending to meet green blades. My neighbor’s tree succeeded, the trunk splitting and cracking, breaking apart as the heavy branches toppled toward the earth.

Rain fell in sheets, pulsing up the street creating a heartbeat for the storm as the sky rumbled. Windows were pushed closed against the streams of water pouring through the flimsy screens. Our mail box clattered down the front steps, and then the power gave out. Gone was the hum of the refrigerator, the constant rhythm of the fan whirling the air through the rooms. In the evening dusk, the world still blowing around us, we searched for flashlights and candles for the night ahead.

My neighbor arrived early the next morning, a 20-pound bag of ice in hand, as I was picking up detritus from the storm in the backyard. I opened the fridge, pulling anything perishable into a heaping pile before closing it tight against the thick air of summer. By evening, the power still out, we were consuming everything that didn’t fit in a cooler, eating our way through less durable vegetables and cooking on the grill.

Chinese Nappa Cabbage Salad Recipe |

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad Recipe |

This salad is a nod to our farmers market, nearly every ingredient purchased over tables weighed down with bundles of produce, as cash was exchanged directly overhead. The last few weeks I’ve spent roaming the stalls, wishing I could somehow bag up the lot of it and bring it home with me, preserved, not only the produce, but the vendors, the flowers, the smell of toasted bagels, fresh squeezed lemonade, and spring rolls sold out of a cart. I want to press pause on this moment before summer gets away from us.

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad Recipe |

It’s a bright slaw of sorts, lime juice giving a sweet acidic bent to the sauce, the sambal oelek imparting a distinct heat. Local honey gives it a touch of sweetness to balance the sour and heat. Feel free to experiment with the heat levels, adding additional peppers or more spoonfuls of the red sauce. A nod to all those ’90s salads sold with crispy chicken tenders sliced over the top, this, too, can become your salad-as-meal in a similar fashion.

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad Recipe |

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad with Almonds



  • 5 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (or 1 chopped Thai-style chile)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup neutral oil like grapeseed or sunflower


  1. In a large bowl, combine the napa cabbage, red cabbage, sliced cucumber, carrots, cilantro, and the green onions. Toss to combine.
  2. In a small bowl or jar, combine the lime juice, sesame seed oil, soy sauce, honey, sambal oelek, fish sauce, ginger, and the garlic. Stir to combine. Slowly whisk in the grapeseed/sunflower oil until combined.
  3. Pour the dressing over the greens and toss until coated. Top with sliced almonds. Allow to marinate slightly before serving, at least 10 minutes.


The ingredients in this salad are forgiving. I like mine with generous handfuls of mung bean sprouts added just before serving. A generous sprinkle of sesame seeds never hurt either.
Recipe type: Salads
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 servings



Once again, Becky from Vintage Mixer is hosting Eat Seasonal. Grab some inspiration for what to do with your market purchases this month below.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Corn-Cherry Salsa by Floating Kitchen
Grilled Green Onion & Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chèvre by Simple Bites
Chicken Gyro Bowls with Summer Veggies with Fresh Summer Veggies by Vintage Mixer
Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad with Avocado by Foodie Crush
Broccoli Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Poppyseed Dressing by Flavor the Moments
Peasy Easy Sweet Pea Mint Soup by Letty’s Kitchen
Grilled Summer Squash with Feta, Lemon & Fresh Herbs by Mountain Mama Cooks
Artichoke and Avocado Dip by Kitchen Confidante
Grilled Squash, Corn, and Kale Salad by Completely Delicious

Chinese Napa Cabbage Salad Recipe |


  1. Stocking up on these ingredients today! I love a huge salad with tons of crunch. Beautiful!

  2. Summer goes so quickly these days. I’m trying to hang onto as long as I reasonably can. Gorgeous salad, Shaina. And I love the crunch from the almonds.

  3. Ahh Farmer’s Markets this time of year. Your salad is one a tasty way to take advantage of the bounty. I want to know the finale to the power outage tale…

  4. What perfect timing! Somehow, I have a head of Napa cabbage in my refrigerator – I bought it for another recipe but forgot to put it into the dish (who does that? yeah, me.), so I’ve been looking for another way to use it. This will be dinner tonight!

  5. I love cabbage so much, it’s so fresh and crunchy! Napa cabbage is one of my favorite varieties and I love the addition of the almonds!

  6. Love all of the colors in this one!! And what a crazy storm! Glad you all are okay.

  7. I couldn’t agree more. I too want to freeze these next few weeks and take in all the produce we can. It’s the golden time of summer for sure and our farmers market runneth over with nothing but goodness!

  8. If add diced chicken u can serve as a main dish 🙂

  9. Thanks for the nice recipe. Nice ideas for my family. Love you

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