Asian Cabbage Salad with Wasabi Mayo Dressing

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This Asian Cabbage Salad with wasabi mayo dressing is light, colorful, and bursting with flavor which makes it a perfect side dish for many other dishes!

asian cabbage salad in a bright blue bowl with a wooden spoon.

By: Drenda Michell Brennan

Cabbage doesn’t have to be bland as proven by this bright and beautiful healthy side dish that has a little kick from a light delicious vegan wasabi mayo dressing.

What to do with cabbage

Are you cleaning out the fridge and need to use that head of cabbage that’s been tucked in the back for a couple of weeks? Japanese cabbage salad, or ‘salada’ as the Japanese say, is a crunchy, light, side dish that is super easy and quick to prepare and it pairs well with black bean burgers, bean tacos, or pretty much anything else you need a little something fresh and colorful to compliment.

Cabbages to use for making Asian cabbage salad

I use both red and green cabbage for the vibrant colors, but you can use any variety.  Napa cabbage and broccoli slaw are also great options.

I like to slice my own cabbage and carrots because I love the freshness, but you can also buy precut coleslaw mix and some varieties already have carrots in the medley.  These work especially well if you’re in a hurry. This is the slicer that I use and recommend.

I cut my salad ingredients into long thin strips because we generally eat with chopsticks. If you’re using a fork, you may want to cut them into shorter lengths.

carrots, purple cabbage, onion, and edamame prepped to make asian cabbage salad
PHOTO CREDIT: Drenda Michell Brennan

Ingredients needed

  • Cabbage- Use colorful cabbages like green and red to make this dish really pop.
  • Carrots- These also add vibrant colors.
  • Edamame- Bright green in color and slightly crunchy in texture, edamame is an important ingredient in this recipe, so don’t leave it out.
  • Sunflower seeds- Crunchy and nutty flavor addition.
  • Mayonnaise- We have an amazing vegan mayo recipe that is perfect for this dish.
  • Wasabi- Use paste or powder.
  • Seasonings- Either ground ginger or ginger paste, sweetener, and salt are the seasonings used.

What is wasabi?

Wasabi is a green paste commonly seen on the side of a sushi platter. It is a form of Japanese horseradish that can be bought as a prepared paste in a tube or in a dried powder form.

It has an umami flavor but with an additional sharp, fiery heat. The pungent heat that you get is short-lived so it can be quite addictive and is commonly used on snack foods like peas, crackers, nuts, and chips, for that reason.

Wasabi comes from a plant that is in the same family as horseradish and is native to Japan. It has a surprising number of health benefits associated with it including having antibacterial effects and anti-inflammatory properties.

Wasabi plant being pressed with hands on cutting board

Is wasabi hot?

Wasabi does have a fiery kick. On a personal note, wasabi is no joke, so go slow and learn your threshold. It will open your nasal passages and you think your hair is catching fire if you get too carried away.

Should I use wasabi powder or paste?

Whether to use the wasabi powder or a paste is an ongoing debate at my house. My daughter, Aya, prefers the pre-made wasabi in the tube because it’s easy to use and she thinks it has a little more zing to it.

I like to use the powder because I think it has a richer flavor and, if I’m being completely honest, it might have a little to do with how much I love the little vintage-looking tin.  The powder also has the added convenience of always having it on hand, by storing that cute little tin on a shelf, and then being able to add water and form my own paste whenever I need it.

The powder also offers the versatility of being able to sprinkle it in dishes when you want a little extra oomph and on nuts and chips when you want to liven up a snack. It is also completely oil-free.

So basically, they’re both great options as far as flavor goes, but one is definitely cuter than the other.

How to make Asian cabbage salad

Begin by gathering all of your ingredients and slicing and prepping the cabbage and carrots if you aren’t using pre-shredded. This is the slicer that I use and recommend.

If you’re using wasabi powder, go ahead and mix the powder and cold water in a separate bowl into a paste and let it rest for 5 minutes or so while you’re making the vegan wasabi mayonnaise

can of wasabi powder beside bowl with wasabi mayo and whisk

Next, mix the mayo with the wasabi paste, ginger, sugar, and salt. I recommend starting with a tablespoon of wasabi paste mixed with a cup of mayonnaise. You can increase the amount, ½ teaspoon at a time until you are satisfied with the heat and flavor.

Once you’re satisfied, toss the wasabi mayonnaise ingredients together with the salad mixture, add salt & pepper to taste and it’s ready!  

Keep cabbage salad in the fridge and let it chill until you are ready to serve.

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

blue bowl with asian cabbage and dressing with wooden spoon

Storing Asian cabbage salad leftovers

Wasabi mellows and the flavor fades, so a Japanese cabbage salad with wasabi mayo is best served the day you make it.

If you do have leftovers, place them in an airtight storage container and store them in the refrigerator for a day. This is not a dish you will want to freeze.

What pairs well with Japanese cabbage salad

This delicious cabbage salad goes well with so many dishes, and it is only limited by your imagination. Here are a few of our suggestions to pair this side dish with.

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bright blue bowl with asian cabbage salad and wooden spoon
5 from 6 votes

Asian Cabbage Salad with Wasabi Mayo Dressing

This Asian Cabbage Salad with wasabi mayo dressing is light, colorful, and bursting with flavor which makes it a perfect side dish for many other dishes!
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 2 cups sliced red cabbage
  • 1 carrot sliced into thin strips
  • ½ cup edamame
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds

Wasabi Mayo Dressing

  • 1 cup mayo homemade vegan mayo linked
  • 1 tablespoon wasabi powder
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon pure cane sugar or other sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Plain Homemade Vegan Mayo

  • 12 oz block soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon healthy sweetener (pure cane, sucanat, maple syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Mix the wasabi powder and cold water in a separate bowl into a paste and let it rest for 5 minutes or so while you’re making the mayonnaise. 
  • Making the mayo is simple. Just blend the ingredients listed above (only the plain mayo ingredients) in your blender until smooth. It will make more than needed for this recipe, so be sure to try it on sandwiches, wraps, and in other recipes.
  • Next, mix the mayo with the wasabi paste, ginger, sugar, and salt. I recommend starting with a tablespoon of wasabi paste mixed with a cup of mayonnaise. You can increase the amount, ½ teaspoon at a time until you are satisfied with the heat and flavor.
  • Once you’re satisfied, toss the wasabi mayonnaise ingredients together with the salad mixture, add salt & pepper to taste and it’s ready!  
  • Keep in the fridge and let it chill until you are ready to serve.

Video

Notes

Storing Asian cabbage salad leftovers
Wasabi mellows and the flavor fades, so a Japanese cabbage salad with wasabi mayo is best served the day you make it. If you do have leftovers, place them in an airtight storage container and store them in the refrigerator for a day. This is not a dish you will want to freeze.
About the Chef
Drenda Michell Brennan lived in Japan in the 1990s and learned many traditional Asian cooking methods. She is the mother of 3 Japanese-American grown children and grandmother (HuneyGram) to 8 grandchildren. She also happens to be the sister of Terri Edwards, of EatPlant-Based. Read more about her story in this article, From Veggie Hater to Plant-Based.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 14.2g | Sodium: 305mg | Fiber: 4.6g | Sugar: 14.5g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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4 Comments

  1. This is my sister’s recipe, so she brought a sample over for me to try while she was developing it. Honestly, I do not care for wasabi, but this was such a light amount I actually liked it a lot. That’s seriously saying something!

5 from 6 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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