Ain't Your Mama's Slaw

I find myself walking around exclaiming “Battle Napa Cabbage!” with such excitement, an excitement I never thought I would have for a vegetable.

January is the month of Battle Napa Cabbage. The monthly “food fight” held by Mel (Gourmet Fury) and Leela (SheSimmers) has done exactly what it set out to do. In just two months time it has gotten me excited about vegetables and eager to cook with vegetables that are not part of my normal repertoire.

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is a pale green (almost white) elongated cabbage with a mellow, nutty flavor. It has tightly clinging leaves that are crispy and creased. I found that the Napa cabbage was a great canvas for an array of ingredients.

Since it is the start of a new year - a time of resolutions and new beginnings - I thought it fitting to prepare a recipe that was healthy and light. Rather than preparing the Napa cabbage in a soup, stir- fry, or kimchi as it is typically found, I decided to use the cabbage in a slaw.

This is not your mama’s slaw. In thick wedges or large chunks, the Napa cabbage is coated with a tart dill mayonnaise. It is spiked with slivers of carrots and paper-thin rings of red onions. Crack some black pepper over the top and you are done. Serve it with a salty shaving of smoked salmon or accompany it with delicate Sardinian parchment bread and you have a healthy, light, and satisfying meal.

The slaw has a delicate creaminess. The crunch from the cabbage, the sweetness from the carrots, and subtle spice from the onions marry well together. This slaw is the embodiment of simplicity.


1 Napa cabbage

1 carrot

1 red onion

Smoked salmon (less than ¼ pound)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


¾ cup mayonnaise (a great store bought will do, or make it from scratch)

Juice of ½ lemon (or more to taste, the dressing should be really tart!)

½ cup of chopped fresh dill

Take ¾ cup of mayonnaise and add fresh squeezed lemon juice and stir to combine. Add ½ cup of freshly chopped dill and combine. Do not add salt! The salt will pull the moisture from the cabbage and make this slaw soggy. Who wants that?

Shred 1 carrot and shave ¼ of a red onion for garnish.

Pull the exterior leaves from the Napa cabbage and save for another use. Take the heart of the Napa cabbage and cut it into long wedges or thick chunks. Dress the Napa cabbage to taste. Add carrots, red onion, and pepper. Enjoy!


  1. Where do you get the Sardinian parchment bread? Is there a local bakery that sells it, or do you make it from scratch yourself? The whole thing looks great, btw.

  2. This meal rocks!!!!!

  3. This looks like the perfect meal for one of those hot summer days where you don't want to turn the stove on at all! Will definitely have to bookmark this one!

  4. When I was in Culinary School I got Napa Cabbage in my secret mixed bag which I had to create a meal out of for my mid-term. I did a braised cabbage with truffle, it was good. But I love slaw, but only the "not your mother variety" I don't dig mayo slaw at all. Cool!

  5. I know the focus is on cabbage, but whenever smoked salmon is in the picture, I can't seem to focus on anything else! This dish looks fantastic.

  6. I absolutely love napa cabbage! This looks great!

  7. ironiasudbi- I found a couple of sardinian parchment breads recipes online, it has only a few ingredients but requires a lot of attention when cooking. i don't know what area you live in but they sell it at Joan's on Third in Los Angeles also.

    Moogie- Thanks!

    Mireya- Can't wait to hear what you think of the recipe when you make it!

    Devon- Looks like we have very similar tastes =)

    Cathy- Thanks! I needed a little protein in there so I wouldn't go for a muffin afterwards, thus the smoked salmon =)

    Amanda- I didn't know if I loved Napa caggabe, but after this challenge I think I am definitely a fan!

  8. I love playing with different slaws. This one looks great! I love that you served it with smoked salmon. I feel another win coming!!! :)

  9. Beautiful! I have a mild obsession with the dill/salmon combination, so I think I would LOVE this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love slaw, make it all the time, I'll try your recipe next time. I love your blog. LOT'S-O-FUN

  11. that looks SO good. I like Napa cabbage b/c of it's softer and more delicate texture.

    addition of smoked salmon is brilliant!

  12. I forgot about battle napa. You did a really beautiful and creative job with this. The dill is a nice touch, and it looks so creamy and healthy. Hope your new year is off to a good start.

  13. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Loving this! Great blog you have here!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin