Cabbage Slaw with Asian Pesto Recipe

This tasty cabbage slaw with Asian pesto makes a great side dish to any of your favorite summer meals.

Summer 2013

  • Garnish this dish with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts for added flavor and crunch.
    Photo By Karen K. Will

Summer is the time of year when our gardens, farmers’ markets, and grocers are bursting at the seams with a beautiful abundance of produce. It’s also the time of year when we least desire to be in the kitchen, preparing elaborate suppers for our families. (The heat usually saps our appetites for such anyway.)

Saving the hard labor for the requisite canning and preserving, try out this simple summer dish that requires no cooking, and that you can toss together in a few moments time that will showcase the flavors of the season. Double the recipe and enjoy leftovers the next day for even less time spent in the kitchen!


• 1 small head cabbage, chopped

• 2 carrots, shredded

• 1/2 red onion, diced

• 1 small red bell pepper, diced


• 1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, plus more for garnish

• 2 garlic cloves, peeled

• 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves

• 1/4 cup tightly packed mint leaves

• 1/2 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves

• 1 teaspoon salt

• Juice of 1 lime

• 1/2 cup peanut, sesame, or olive oil, or combination

• 1 teaspoon chile sauce


1. Rinse the cabbage in a colander and set in the sink to drain. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the cabbage and let drain for 15 to 30 minutes. Place the carrots, onions, and bell pepper in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Place the peanuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until minced, but not a paste. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.

3. Process the herbs in small batches until finely minced and add them to the bowl with peanuts. Stir in the salt, lime juice, oil, and chile sauce, mixing until well combined. Add a little more oil if necessary. The pesto should be loose but not excessively oily. Let the pesto sit for 15 minutes; taste and season with more salt if necessary.

3. Dump the cabbage onto a clean tea towel and press to dry. Transfer to the bowl with the carrots, onions, and peppers. Toss to combine. Add amount of pesto to taste (save excess in refrigerator for up to 3 days—great on pizza!). Loosen the sauce with more lime juice if necessary, and season with salt if needed. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. To serve, garnish with additional chopped peanuts.

Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube

click me