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This Cabbage Salad is tossed with a sweet sesame-lime dressing that will leave you craving more. It makes a delicious alternative to creamy coleslaw!

cabbage salad in bowl with tongs

This salad makes the perfect side dish to bring to a party, or you can turn it into a meal by adding your favorite protein on top. You can also use it in tacos or add it to a sandwich for extra flavor!

Ingredients You’ll Need

cabbage salad ingredients labeled on a white surface.

Shredded cabbage and carrots are the base of this crunchy slaw, but you can reach for a bag of store-bought coleslaw mix to cut down on the prep time. Paired with fresh cilantro and green onions, this salad has a delicious combination of textures and flavors. 

I tend to use red or green cabbage when making this salad, but napa cabbage or savoy cabbage can be used, as well. Feel free to add any other vegetables you like, such as red bell peppers or thinly sliced red onion, too.

This salad dressing is made with minimal oil, and if you’re not a fan of toasted sesame seed oil, feel free to swap it for olive oil, instead. You can also add any nuts or seeds you love for some crunch!

sesame lime cabbage salad in a serving plate

How to Make the Best Cabbage Salad

To prepare the cabbage salad dressing, combine the lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, honey, and salt in a large bowl. Use a whisk to mix well, then set it aside while you chop the veggies.

Use a sharp knife and cutting board to chop the cilantro and green onions. If you’re working with a whole head of green cabbage, remove the outer leaves, then finely slice it. 

You’ll most likely only need half a head of cabbage for this recipe (about 1 pound). Feel free to use red cabbage or a mix of both for extra color.

Next, shred the carrots using a box grater or food processor attachment.

cabbage salad dresing mixed in bowl

Add the chopped veggies and fresh herbs to the bowl of dressing, and toss well until everything is coated. Let the salad marinate for 10 to 15 minutes for the best flavor.

Taste the salad and make any adjustments as needed. Add an extra splash of lime juice or vinegar to make the flavor tart, or add a little more honey for extra sweetness. 

You can also add an extra pinch of salt or a splash of soy sauce to boost the overall flavor. Or, add a few crushed red pepper flakes or freshly ground black pepper for some spice.

cabbage salad mixed with metal tongs in a glass bowl.

If you’d like to add extra crunchiness, add sliced almonds, cashews, or walnuts just before serving. Garnish with a few sesame seeds if you like, and serve chilled.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Serve it with baked chicken on top for a complete meal.

cabbage salad served with chicken on top.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is coleslaw not called cabbage salad?

Coleslaw typically refers to a salad that is tossed in a creamy dressing. This cabbage salad is tossed with a bright vinaigrette, which makes it unlike traditional coleslaw but it could similarly be served with fish tacos or in sandwiches.

What goes well with cabbage salad?

You can make this salad a complete meal by topping it with baked chicken breasts, salmon, or shrimp. It also works well as a side dish for Pad Thai or Cauliflower Tacos.

Can I use a different vinegar?

Yes, you can swap the apple cider vinegar for white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or champagne vinegar. If you don’t have lime juice on hand, lemon juice will work here, too!

Looking for more cabbage salad recipes? Try Asian Cabbage Salad, Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing, or my popular Detox Salad with Lemon Ginger Dressing.

cabbage salad in bowl with tongs

Sweet Sesame-Lime Cabbage Salad

4.86 from 62 votes
This Cabbage Salad is lightly sweet and tangy, tossed in an easy sesame-lime dressing. It's a delicious alternative to creamy coleslaw and makes the perfect side dish or main course topped with your favorite protein.
prep15 mins cook0 mins total15 mins


Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shredded cabbage (about ½ head)
  • 2 shredded carrots (or 1 cup)
  • 3 green onions , chopped (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro , chopped
  • ½ cup sliced almonds (optional crunch)

Cabbage Salad Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove , minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger , minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


  • Combine the lime juice, vinegar, honey, toasted sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  • Add the shredded cabbage, carrots, green onion, and cilantro, then toss well to coat everything with the dressing. Allow the salad to marinate for at least 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  • Taste the salad again just before serving, and make any adjustments as needed. Add extra salt to boost the flavor, or a pinch of black pepper or red pepper flakes for extra spice. Top with sliced almonds for added crunch, and enjoy!
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.



Nutrition information is for 1/4 of this entire recipe, which is roughly 1 1/2 cups of prepared salad with dressing. This information is automatically calculated and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
For a creamier salad: Replace the toasted sesame oil with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter in the salad dressing.
For a vegan salad: Replace the honey with agave or maple syrup, to taste.
Update Note: This recipe was updated in January 2024 to be more flavorful. If you prefer the original, remove 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey.


Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 5437IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: gluten-free
Keyword: cabbage salad

If you try this cabbage salad recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below, letting me know how you like it.

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. This. Recipe. THIS RECIPE!!!! Thanksgiving 2023 was transformed this year and this recipe played a big role in it. I was in charge of the veggie sides – I love Thanksgiving but the food is soooooo heavy – so this year I made bacon brussels sprouts (heavy) but paired them with green bean almondine (lemony and light), a cranberry orange relish instead of cranberry sauce (tart, tangy, citrussy), and THIS SALAD!!!! And perhaps you’re wondering – why an Asian styled sesame/lime cabbage salad at Thanksgiving? Because I can. And I did. And it was magical. The flavors went SO well to balance the heaviness of turkey, potatoes, and stuffing.

    50/5 stars. Alsooooo, my husband ate leftovers the day after and he said “babe! Make that salad and then make chicken skewers with that peanutbutter sauce and then take the salad and the chicken and wrap it in spring roll wrappers! I want it all!”

    For real – amazing recipe – thank you thank you. Saving this one for a long time.

  2. Hi, this looks amazing. Just wondering if anyone has added fennel to this salad? Trying to find use for my produce 🙂

  3. It’s a good way to eat cabbage, as eating cabbage is very healthy. However, because the recipe contains so much lime juice and apple cider vinegar it is very acidic. If I make drinks that are acidic (such as Hibiscus Tea) I try to drink them through a straw so it avoids most of the contact with the teeth. There is no way to suck this salad through a straw. I don’t know if the teeth grinding on the cabbage while exposed to the acidic dressing does any significant damage to the enamel or not. Regardless, I would recommend anyone eating it should rinse his mouth with water after eating it to try and help minimize the effect of acid damaging tooth enamel. DISCLAIMER: No, I am not a dentist or associated with the American Dental Society in any way…