Summer Napa Cabbage Slaw Mayonnaise Recipe on Food52 (2024)

Make Ahead

by: Amanda Hesser



7 Ratings

  • Serves 6

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Author Notes

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! - Amanda —Amanda Hesser

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 to 1 napa cabbage, trimmed and very thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cupsliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoonssesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tablespoonsbasil leaves, thinly sliced (or torn)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoonslemon juice (or lemon and lime)
  • 1 teaspoongrated ginger
  • 2 tablespoonsmayonnaise
  • Salt
  • 4 to 5 tablespoonsolive oil
  1. Combine the sliced cabbage, almonds, sesame seeds, basil, and scallions in a large bowl. Mix together.
  2. Whisk together the lemon juice, ginger, and mayonnaise. Season with salt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until smooth.
  3. Pour most but not all of the dressing over the cabbage mixture, and toss until lightly coated with the dressing. Taste, and add more dressing or seasoning as needed. Feel free to add more oil or mayo if desired. Eat soon. The cabbage gets watery as it wilts.


  • Salad
  • American
  • Vegetable
  • Green Onion/Scallion
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sesame
  • Make Ahead
  • Serves a Crowd
  • Summer
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten-Free

Recipe 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.

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17 Reviews

Hilbjak June 14, 2018

Feeding extended family at the Jersey Shore and needed ideas for fresh slaw. This was easy and delicious - using what was available in fridge, I replaced basil with cilantro and omitted the sesame seeds. Lots of options for variation. Thanks, Amanda

Amanda H. June 14, 2018

Glad you went your own way -- it's meant to be flexible and I like the sound of your changes!

Rhonda35 August 19, 2016

Skipped the basil and only used 1/4 tsp ginger, but otherwise followed the recipe and then used the slaw in grilled fish tacos - major yum!

Jenny June 17, 2016

Sliced up some crisp apples in there too to add some more freshness and sweetness because I don't have basil and I tried mixing sesame oil with olive oil. Turned out great! Thank you Amanda!

Amanda H. June 18, 2016

Thanks for giving it a try! Bet the sesame oil was a good addition.

[emailprotected] June 26, 2014

Being of Polish descent, my son and I love all things cabbage. I made this coleslaw and my son absolutely loves it! In fact, he asked that this recipe be the only one that I use from now on. ;-)

Amanda H. June 26, 2014


za'atar July 4, 2013

Love the napa cabbage! This is a refreshing change of pace from more traditional slaws - everyone really enjoyed it.

baltimoregon June 7, 2012

Nice! Just made, spiking the dressing with a splash of fish sauce and rice wine vinegar for added zing. Used fresh young garlic shoots instead of scallions. Chopped salty roasted peanuts and a little Thai chili would be nice additions. Thanks for the inspiration!

IthacaNancy July 30, 2011

I doubled the amount of cabbage, and used a cucumber-chili aioli instead of mayonnaise, and forgot to add the basil, so maybe I shouldn't even comment . . . but everyone liked it. It's nice it wasn't too sweet and the flavor was quite mild.

Amanda H. August 3, 2011

Glad you commented -- you should add the recipe to the site, it sounds terrific.

gaelc July 10, 2011

Amanda...friends and I on an art retreat (with the emphasis on "eat") made your summer slaw and voted it one of the best of our 6 day stay. We used savoy cabbage because I thought the napa was a bit too "lettuce-y." Of course, it was fine. The flavor was so delicate and refreshing with the ginger, and the tiny amount of Hellman's mayo gave it all the creaminess it needed. Thank you so much!

Amanda H. July 10, 2011

Delighted to hear this -- and I'll have to try it with savoy. I love savoy and don't eat enough of it!

mayuchico June 27, 2011

I had a cabbage I have to use in the fridge, so I used it instead of napa. I also used cilantro, chopped hazel nuts. It still came out really refreshing and so summer!

Amanda H. July 10, 2011

Glad you liked it!

Polly H. June 26, 2011

Just beautiful -- and imagine the delicious 'crunch' as a well sharpened chef's knife slices into that cabbage. My cooking mantra is 'notice ALL the benefits of preparing good things to eat.'

Amanda H. July 10, 2011

Napa cabbage is very satisfying to slice because it's so light and crisp -- and you don't have to work all that hard.

Summer Napa Cabbage Slaw Mayonnaise Recipe on Food52 (2024)


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