Napa Cabbage Salad Three Ways

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Napa Cabbage Salad with Peanut Dressing

This summer, I have made salad nearly every single day.  I am growing loose-leaf lettuces up on our rooftop and it produces way more than two people can eat, even when those two people love interesting salads.  And believe it or not, I am also kind of burned out on that other oh-so-popular green – kale. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good kale salad. But a girl needs some variety.  Soooooooo, 2019 has turned into the “Summer of Napa Cabbage.”  

In my opinion, napa cabbage is kind of underrated.  It is easy to slice, it maintains it’s crispness for days if stored without dressing, it is crunchy and the perfect backdrop for all kinds of add-ins.  So, this summer I have a two-quart container in my refrigerator at all times containing chopped napa cabbage, shredded carrot, and diced cucumber along with gobs of fresh mint, cilantro, dill, and tarragon.  And I always make sure I have lemons and limes on hand. I generally prep a few batches of salad dressing each week. As a certified food snob, I will never elect to eat commercially bottled dressing. This way, all I need to add are more veggies if I desire (shredded purple cabbage for color, pea pods, cherry tomatoes, peppers, pickled onion nuts, cheese or even leftover roasted broccoli or cauliflower) or previously served hardboiled egg, beans, poultry, fish or meat.  

Here are my three current faves for dressings:



Peanut Dressing

  • ⅓ cup avocado oil or vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar (OR unseasoned rice vinegar with a tsp of honey added)
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

Whisk the above together.  This is great to add to the salad mix along with tons of chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts too.  It takes very little dressing to coat the greens.

Miso Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar (OR unseasoned rice wine vinegar with 1-2 tsp honey added)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso paste
  • ½ teaspoon tamari 
  • ¼ cup avocado oil OR peanut oil
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk the dressing or emulsify it in a nutribullet or immersion blender.  This is tasty when added to your basic napa cabbage salad mix along with tomato, toasted sunflower seeds, toasted sesame seeds …the sky is the limit.

My Daughter’s “Dressing”

(This is the one that got me started down the Napa cabbage path to begin with.  This is so refreshing and easy! It’s not exactly a recipe but you’ll get the picture.) 

  • Napa Cabbage mix (cabbage, shredded carrot, cucumber)
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh herbs (i.e. cilantro, basil, mint, etc.)
  • Citrus (lemon, lime, etc.)
  • Seasonal veggies of your choice, but I love corn
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Toss 4 cups of the basic napa cabbage salad mix of cabbage, shredded carrot, and cucumber with about ½ tsp salt and 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil. And massage a bit to soften (like kale!). Add in about  ⅓-½ cup of chopped fresh herbs of your choice (the other night I did mint and basil from the garden), and seasonal veggies – corn kernels, edamame beans, cucumber. Squeeze fresh citrus (lemon or lime-about 3 Tbsp over the top. Add in about ⅓ c  grated fresh parmesan cheese, and add additional salt and pepper as needed.

Now go crazy! Chop up some napa cabbage and veggies and make a few dressings and you’ll be all set to have delicious salads for days.  Plus – what a perfect thing to bring to the next barbeque!

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