Asian-Style Sesame Slaw

Salads | July 11, 2016 | By

Sweet Sesame Slaw

I was looking through my collection for a really good coleslaw recipe and ran across this one, which, truth be told, I had completely forgotten I had!  I remember when I first tasted this dish–originally called Chinese Cabbage Salad (I think of it more as a slaw).  Someone had brought it to a shower or a potluck or an office party–I really don’t remember which.  This always happens to me at potlucks:  I get a little bit of each dish, and end up really enjoying one or two, and all I want to do is go back for more of the one or two that I preferred, but I feel bad because there’s still the sub-par offerings on my plate.  “Um….excuse me while I throw out your food for this other dish that was fabulous!” is what I feel like I’m saying to the good folks who worked just as hard to feed a group of people.  

Anyway–this one was definitely on the shortlist, and I immediately asked for the recipe.  I used to make this often, but it had somehow migrated to the back of the “salads” section of my recipe file.  I bought a head of cabbage and some raw sunflower seeds (magically, I had all other ingredients on hand!) and made a batch for the family.  It got rave reviews!  My husband–who is always appreciative of my meals, though some more so than others–told me, “I love this salad.  I could eat it everyday” as he emptied what was left in the bowl onto his plate.  I don’t think he’s ever given any dish that kind of endorsement!  

As you can tell from the recipe card, this one has been brought out a lot!  (I also love how the person who gave it to me actually went to the trouble to type it onto the card!)

Recipe Card

I like it because it’s tangy and sweet, crunchy and nutty.  The dressing includes teriyaki sauce, oil and vinegar, the seasonings from the ramen package, sugar and, my favorite–sesame oil.  I just love the flavor that even the smallest amount of sesame oil imparts. Plus, it’s a breeze to prepare, especially if you shred the cabbage in a food processor (I use the slicing blade).  It’s fabulous with teriyaki or grilled chicken or grilled shrimp.  We enjoyed it with smoked pork.

Sesame Slaw Ingredient Bowls

I have made this myself for potluck parties.  I tend to prepare all the ingredients–mixing the green onions and shredded cabbage–and wait to put it together at the last minute so the ramen noodles stay crunchy.  At home, I keep the cabbage mixture in a bag and the dressing in the refrigerator, then toss everything together in a bowl before serving.  This recipe makes enough for a crowd, so for a family, keeping the ingredients separate makes it easier to serve another night.

The nut/seed mix is toasted, and the original instructions just say to toast them together.  I’ve learned over the years to toast them separately for two reasons: they brown at different rates, and if they’re all in the pan together, the larger pieces stay on top and the sesame seeds burn.  I toast mine in a pan on the stove (watch carefully and stir often), one ingredient at a time.  Be sure you allow the mixture time to cool before handling–it can be quite hot.  Remaining mixture can be stored in an airtight container.


Toasted Seeds

The uncooked, crumbled ramen is a unique addition to the dish.  Folks are always surprised at how something so simple (and cheap!) tastes so good!  Because the seasoning packets are added to the dressing, I prefer the chicken flavor, but feel free to adjust to your own tastes.  Breaking up the ramen in the bag saves some wear and tear on your hands!

Bowl of Ramen Noodles

It’s so simple:  toss the dressing and ingredients together in a large bowl and sit back and wait for the wows!  Enjoy!

Asian-Style Sesame Slaw
Serves 12
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
40 min
For the Slaw
  1. 1 head cabbage
  2. 1 bunch green onions
  3. 1/2 c. sesame seeds
  4. 1/2 c. sunflower seeds
  5. 1/2 c. slivered almonds
  6. 2 pkgs. ramen noodles, crushed
For the Dressing
  1. 3/4 c. vegetable oil
  2. 6 T. rice vinegar
  3. 2 spice packets from ramen noodle package
  4. 1 T. salt
  5. 4 T. sugar
  6. 1 t. black pepper
  7. 2 T. teriyaki sauce
  8. 1 t. sesame oil
  1. Shred cabbage and chop green onions into a large bowl.
  2. Toast sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds, let cool.
  3. Crush ramen noodles.
  4. Add noodles and nuts to cabbage mixture.
  5. Blend dressing ingredients and toss all together and serve.
  1. I toast seeds separately in pan on the stove, but they can be toasted together on a cookie sheet in the oven.
  2. If not serving immediately, keep ingredients separate and toss together when ready to serve.
  3. For a little kick, red pepper flakes can be added to the dressing.
Peas and Butter



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