Summer Slaw

- Amanda

Cooks often attempt to lighten up coleslaw by removing the mayonnaise from the dressing. But why take away the joy? Instead, lighten it by replacing the sturdy cabbage with crisper, featherweight napa cabbage. Here, sliced almonds and sesame seeds add a little crunch and heft, and ginger brightens up the dressing. Add as much mayonnaise as you like. A giant dollop, you crazy cat!

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Summer Slaw

Serves 6

  • 1/2 to 1 napa cabbage, trimmed and very thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons basil leaves, thinly sliced (or torn)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Salt
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil

See the recipe (and print and save it) here.

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


sharibrooks July 11, 2011
i have a similar slaw I make that doesn't include mayonnaise. Instead, it calls for red wine vinegar and the seasoning from the ramen noodle mix. The noodles and the almond slivers are put in the oven to get a little crispy and crunchy!
lynmartin July 4, 2011
We loved this recipe! Thanks for posting!
Amanda H. July 11, 2011
Glad to know -- and thanks for trying it!
chezmom June 26, 2011
With a not-getting-any-younger head of Napa in the fridge, I tried this with what I had on hand. Thought I had sesame seeds, but no. So, subbed a tablespoon of peanut butter and a few drops of dark sesame oil into the dressing. Many thanks to the reviewer who suggested mint instead of basil. Another reviewer liked it with much more almonds, so threw in the rest of a container from Trader Joe's, about 1/2 cup. If this recipe is better as written than it was with all my crazy substitutions, my husband will eat it every night. Just delicious, thank you for a new twist on cabbage!
Amanda H. June 27, 2011
Thanks -- love all your improvisation!
boulangere June 26, 2011
Love the ginger and lemon, but I'm allergic to nuts. How do sesame seeds sound as a replacement?
hardlikearmour June 26, 2011
How about pine nuts?
boulangere June 26, 2011
Sadly, no.
hardlikearmour June 26, 2011
How about pepitas?
boulangere June 26, 2011
Ooooh! Love it! Thank you so much!
boulangere June 26, 2011
On the grocery list.
boulangere June 27, 2011
On the lunch menu for Thursday.
ELJ June 26, 2011
I made this for brunch today and it was the best thing on the table. Misread the recipe as 1 and 1/2 cups almonds, and it was delightful that way. Subbed in mint for the basil because I was already serving something with basil, and the mint was great, too. Thanks for the recipe!
Amanda H. June 27, 2011
Napa cabbage does well with lots of nuts -- it's so light that it seems to welcome their richness.
Ladystiles June 26, 2011
I love the idea of lightening up the slaw with a different cabbage. I had great success this week using a mandolin to thinly slice a purple cabbage. The finished product turned out light and ribbony simply by slicing it as this as possible.
Amanda H. June 27, 2011
Yes -- that's another great way to go about it. Thanks.
sharibrooks June 24, 2011
love this. i am going to try this recipe. reminds me a little of the one I cook from Mom's recipes:
mrslarkin June 24, 2011
Thanks, Amanda. Sounds yummy. That plate! looks like paper, but it's not? so cute. and that cabbage looks like Audrey II's head.
Amanda H. June 24, 2011
The plate is made of melamine.
Merrill S. June 24, 2011
Love the LSOH reference!
hardlikearmour June 24, 2011
you are soooo right, mrslarkin - just like Audrey II :)