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Pickled Napa Cabbage Slaw

Pickled Napa Cabbage Slaw

Last week we prepared an Asian Style Lobster Salad with Lemon Grass Infused Mayonnaise upon the grand re-opening of Assi Plaza in North Wales, Pennsylvania. The accompanying side dish, Pickled Napa Cabbage Slaw, prepared a day in advance before serving, perfectly complemented the lobster salad. As promised, I’m sharing the recipe of this dish today.


Large, firm, pale greenish yellow leaves bunched tightly together appear almost like giant flowers lining the rectangular flat board area at the market typically reserved for the larger, common, produce essentials. Napa Cabbage is a much popular ingredient in many styles of Asian cooking- or non- cooking as our recipe shows today.


The super easy preparation of this pickled slaw is not much different than preparing a fresh Cole- Slaw- sans the fresh ginger, and using rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. Of course, we are using a different cabbage too, rather than the firm round variety. The finishing, Asian style, is in the pickling process, which in this case, only involves refrigerating overnight, where mayonnaise would otherwise combine with the tang in the popular American style sandwich and picnic specialty served in shorter order. Shredded carrots and red bell pepper may be included in both styles and we have used both in this recipe. Hot peppers add a nice kick to the Asian variation.


Napa Cabbage is referred to by a few different names but in the US mostly as Napa Cabbage or Chinese cabbage. It is interesting to note that in the UK, Napa Cabbage is sometimes referred to as Chinese Leaf. With many diverse uses, Napa may be used as part of a stir fry, in homemade dumplings or spring rolls, added into hot pots and soups. It is also the most popular variety in the preparation of Korean Kimchee. Napa cabbage has a rather delicate flavor and can also be sliced finely, chopped and sauteed with some oil, ginger, garlic, and scallions then seasoned with a bit of soy or hoisin sauces, or both, as a side vegetable. 


At Asian Markets Napa Cabbages are generally large sized averaging about 2-3 pounds. Since my family loves any type Asian style pickled foods, I’ve prepared today’s recipe using the whole Napa Cabbage a bit over 2 pounds. The recipe can easily be halved and adjusted to desired amounts. And, as shared in the paragraph above, you’ve plenty of suggestions on the many ways to go about using up any extra.

Once you’ve prepped the vegetables simply pour the rice vinegar into the pot.


Add the sugar.


Add the ginger. Cook on very low heat until the sugar has fully dissolved and is warmed all through around five minutes. Turn off the burner, and cool mixture to room temperature.



 Once the vinegar, sugar, and ginger combination are at room temp, pour all over the vegetables in a glass dish. Stir thoroughly about and refrigerate overnight, stirring once in between. And there you have it Pickled Napa Cabbage Slaw to side with your Asian Lobster Salad with Lemongrass Infused Mayonnaise, or, whatever else your heart and taste buds desire.

Pickled Napa Cabbage Slaw
Serves 6
Recipe may be halved.
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  1. 1 large Napa cabbage, approximately two pounds, sliced in half lengthwise, root end removed, then sliced into long thin strips and quartered
  2. 1 cup shredded carrots
  3. 1 red pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
  4. 1-2 long hot green peppers, seeded, chopped
  5. 3 tablespoons fine chopped ginger
  6. 2 cups rice wine vinegar
  7. 1 cup sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon sesame salt, approximately, or more to taste (may substitute a few generous pinches kosher salt)
  9. 1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or more to taste
  1. Using a nonreactive saucepan pour in the rice wine vinegar, stir in the sugar and finely chopped ginger. Heat mixture on very low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar is melted into the vinegar and the combination is hot, approximately five minutes. Turn off heat and bring to room temperature. Combine Napa cabbage, carrots, red pepper, and hot green pepper into a long glass dish. Pour rice vinegar mixture over the vegetables stirring to combine well. Cover and refrigerate pickled cabbage slaw overnight, removing once from the refrigerator to thoroughly stir together mixture.
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  1. Posted June 17, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    HI Peggy, Oh my family would love this salad, great presentation and pictures!
    cheri recently posted…Three Cheese Baked Crab DipMy Profile

    • Posted June 17, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Thanks Cheri! You know I joined the Cottage Cooking Club due to you-Thank You! I’ve so far been waiting ten days for the cookbook to arrive and am eager to delve into some of this months selections. Thanks so much for joining in!

  2. Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Ooh, I’m intrigued! I’ve only ever made raw cabbage salad. This looks like it might be fun to try! I’ve gotten more into cabbage lately via the family I work for- getting interested in different foods is so much fun 🙂
    Christy@S&S recently posted…How to Eat Well in Coastal MaineMy Profile

    • Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Hi Christy, hope you will give it a try, it is a terrific, unique flavor. Lots of cabbage in Korean foods, including this type of slaw. Thanks so much for joining in!

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.