Spicing Up Tradition: The Asian Cole Slaw Adventure

Ever thought of giving a global spin to your traditional, quintessentially American cole slaw?

Here’s your cue to take the plunge and explore the enticing world of Asian Cole Slaw.

My rendition of the classic American slaw takes your tastebuds on a journey to Asia.

It’s a gastronomical journey with its bold flavors and vibrant ingredients that breathes new life into the familiar dish.

It promises to be the star on your dining table, a conversation starter at parties, and a reason to experiment with adding new flavors to classic dishes.


Cabbage, A Potent Health Ally

Originating from the Dutch word ‘koolsla’, meaning ‘cabbage salad’, this dish was introduced to America by Dutch immigrants.

This lowly garden vegetable is elevated to rock star status in several cuisines including German, Russian, Indian, Mexican, and Korean to name a few.

It’s fascinating how this simple dish has been embraced and adapted by different cultures worldwide, with each bringing its unique touch to the recipe.

And of course cole slaw makes an appearance at BBQs and picnics all across the US.

There’s good reason for the use of cabbage around the world – it’s potent health ally.

Cabbage is rich in nutrients, packed with antioxidants, promotes heart health, and aids in digestion, just to name a few benefits.


Your Tastebuds Will Love This Spice Combination

My version of this slaw adds sesame oil, rice vinegar, and ginger for a pop of  flavor that is refreshingly different.

Red onion slices and colored bell pepper dice add color and crunch.

Cubed pineapple adds color, a pop of flavor, and a hint of sweet that is totally unexpected in American cole slaw.

But the most exciting and addictive component is the crunchy and tasty Chinese Five Spice toasted nuts.

I’ve used a combination of cashews, pecans, and almonds, but you can use whatever nuts float your boat.


Tips for Making Asian Cole Slaw

1. Toast the nuts a day ahead. Give them some time in the fridge to cool and crisp up even more as the sugar cools. Don’t skip this garnish it’s absolutely delightful. The nuts make more than you need for the salad and they make a great snack in the days following.

2. Make the dressing ahead. The flavors in the salad will deepen the longer it sits.

3. Don’t drown the salad. Start with a small amount of dressing, taste and more as needed.

4. Season the salad right before serving. Taste and season with salt right before serving. Salt makes cabbage weep, drawing water from the cabbage cells. Add just the amount of salt needed to season properly.

5. Make your mark. Don’t hesitate to make this slaw your own with the addition of other vegetables – shredded carrot, mangoes, etc.


Try This Asian Cole Slaw Today

Asian Cole Slaw is not just a dish, it’s an exciting culinary journey waiting to begin.

So why not grab a cabbage and embark on a flavorful ride?



Asian Cole Slaw

Asian Cole Slaw puts a global spin on an American classic with its bold flavors and vibrant colors topped with Chinese Five spice nuts.

  • Author: Life At The Table
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x




  • 8 oz cole slaw mix
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup red onion, sliced (half-moon)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded ginger
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt to taste
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Chinese Five Spice Nuts

  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups nuts, cashews, pecans, almonds


Chinese Five Spice Nuts

  1. Heat oven to 250˚ F.
  2. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  3. Whisk the egg white until it becomes frothy and foamy.
  4. Whisk in the sugars, Chinese Five Spice, soy sauce and kosher salt until combined.
  5. Add nuts and use a spatula to thoroughly coat the nuts.
  6. Use your hands to lift the nuts from the egg white mixture and lay them  in an even layer on the sheet tray.
  7. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes until toasted and crispy, about 1 hour.


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and sugar.
  2. In a steady stream, whisk the olive oil into the rice vinegar mixture. Set aside for salad assembly.

Salad Assembly

  1. Toss the slaw mixture with the pineapple, red bell pepper, and red onion.
  2. Pour the dressing into the salad mixture and toss.
  3. Add in the sesame seeds and red bell pepper (and cilantro) and toss once more.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
  5. Plate the salad and garnish with the Chinese Five Spice nuts.


  • You may or may not need kosher salt in this salad. Taste it and make your own judgement.
  • I don’t toss a lot of the nuts into the salad because they will grow soggy. Place extra nuts on the side for people to garnish their own salads.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
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