Yummy Asian Inspired Cabbage Salad

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is a great make-ahead salad for work lunches.  If you keep the meat, dressing and salad parts separate, it will last a few days.  I know there are a lot of steps involved but don’t let that intimidate you.  It’s a pretty easy recipe and because of the marinade process, you have plenty of time to chop up all those veggies.


For the Marinade/Dressing:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons fish sauce (you can sub with soy sauce)
  • 2/3 cup lime juice
  • 4-8 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tablespoon Thai chili powder (or red chili flakes) or to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the Salad:

  • 1 Head of Cabbage, shredded
  • 1-3 Carrots, julienned
  • 1-2 Stalks of Celery, chopped
  • 1 Red, Yellow or Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Small Leek OR 2-3 Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Peanuts, chopped
  • 2-3lbs Meat of your choice (Steak or Chicken work really well.  Tofu might work too but I’ve never tried it.)


Part 1 – The Marinade

  • Dissolve sugar in water on stove over medium heat, stirring constantly
  • Once sugar has dissolved, add all other ingredients except the oil and mix thoroughly
  • Take mixture off of heat and add oil, stirring until well mixed
  • Put whatever meat you’ve decided to use into a large plastic bag or container and pour marinade over it.
  • Let meat sit in marinade for AT LEAST 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Part 2 – The Salad

  • Take all ingredients except peanuts and toss together
  • Set aside

Part 3 – The Meat

SAVE YOUR LEFTOVER MARINADE!  This will be cooked down to create your salad dressing.

  • Cook your meat – This is where the recipe will vary a bit, depending on what kind of meat you use and your preferred cooking method.  Chicken and steak will both grill quite nicely.  However, if you’re planning on using chicken and your stove/oven you may want to try this method.  It is the absolute BEST way to oven roast chicken.  I promise it will come out perfectly and it works great for both boneless, skinless chicken breasts and bone-in/skin on.
  • Once meat is cooked, let it rest/cool while you make your dressing

Part 4 – The Dressing

  • Take your leftover marinade and pour into a saucepan
  • Heat marinade over medium-high heat until it starts to boil, stirring constantly
  • Bring heat down to medium-low and simmer sauce until it has reduced some (5-10 minutes), continue stirring
  • Once reduced, take sauce off of heat and let cool.  (If you’re impatient like I am, you can put the saucepan in a bowl of ice water.  Don’t let the water get in the sauce though!  Make sure to stir while it cools)

Part 5 – Assembly

  • Put salad in single serving bowls
  • Cut up meat and put on top of salads
  • Sprinkle with peanuts
  • Pour desired amount of dressing over salad
  • Eat the crap out of delicious salad

Please let me know if you try this salad and what you think.  I am still working out the dressing to salad ratio and would love your opinion on it.  I will update this recipe as I continue to experiment with it.  I encourage you to do the same.

This version has chicken, purple carrots and a sweet maui onion. Play around with crunchy veggies to make a salad that's just what you want!


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