Coleslaw with a spicy Thai vinaigrette
#100daysofcooking, Recipes

Day 11: Thai one on with this zippy slaw

Asian coleslaw with spicy Thai vinaigrette

At the Edmonton Folk Festival several years ago, there was a food stand all by its lonesomeness on the dusty trail to Stage 6. I can’t remember the name, but it served up the best coleslaw I had ever tasted.

The glory was in the dressing — a light, little bit spicy, Asian-inspired vinaigrette. In that moment, I discovered that coleslaw doesn’t have to be a mayonnaise mess.

Since then, I’ve worked hard to recreate it, testing a number of recipes, but I generally come back to this one from (which, by the way, gets a solid 20 thumbs up when the whole family is gathered for dinner.) The recipe makes quite a bit of dressing, which is just fine since it also works well on other salads, coleslaw, even some cooked veggies like cauliflower.

Kitchen castoffs used

Red and green cabbages used to make coleslaw
Red and green cabbages used to make coleslaw

Remains of two cabbages, purple and green. (The Internet was not providing me with consistent guidance on how long cabbage lasts; my favourite answer was “Cabbages can keep for a considerable length of time in the refrigerator.” We can safely say that my cabbages had certainly been around for a “considerable” length of time.)

This is how we did it:


I’ve ballparked the amounts here for what I usually make, feeding about four with some leftovers, but there’s no wrong or right with coleslaw.

  • Shredded red and green cabbage, about four cups
  • 1 or 2 carrots (Hate julienning? This Paderno Julienne Peeler works great)
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup red (or green) onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds, for garnish if desired

For the vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2-3 tbsp chili-garlic sauce (I use the Huy Fong Foods Chili Garlic Sauce, readily available at most grocery stores. Beware the heat factor though – if you don’t like things too spicy, knock the amount down to 2-3 tsp)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp minced ginger (I keep ginger in the freezer and grate it with a microplaner)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint (optional but totally makes growing mint worthwhile)
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (optional, depending on your household’s tolerance for cilantro)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup peanut, corn or canola oil
Coleslaw with a spicy Thai vinaigrette
A pretty and colourful coleslaw. Add dressing just before serving.


Chop the vegetables and combine in a big bowl. If you are using fresh herbs in the vinaigrette, you can mix them (all or just some) directly into vegetables.

For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients except the oils together, then at the end, whisk in the oils.

Add dressing to the coleslaw to taste. This recipe makes quite a bit of dressing, and I’ve never used it all in one go.

About my 100 day project: 100 days of cooking, using forgotten or cast-off kitchen ingredients.

If you enjoyed this blog post, you might enjoy previous posts about my #100daysofcooking

Calling all Edmonton Folk Fest afficionados: Does anyone know which food vendor inspired me for this coleslaw? It’s driving me bananas. (Oh wait, that was Thursday’s post.)

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