$10 Main: Asian Cabbage Salad

This delightful cabbage salad is so refreshing on a hot day. Crunchy cabbage and toasted almonds, salty-sour dressing spiked with ginger and garlic and toasted sesame oil, and green onions or chives combine to make a wonderful salad. It would work well for a picnic side dish. If you tossed some leftover roasted chicken on top, it’s a nice main dish salad too!

In this recipe I use ume plum vinegar which Elana introduced me too. This vinegar is actually the pickling brine made from ume plums, and shisho leaves. It is” tangy and salty-sour” with a plum like fragrance and adds a wonderful saltiness to the dish. Because the vinegar is so salty, you don’t have to add any extra salt to your dressing. I was pleased to see that it’s not an expensive vinegar either! I was able to find it for about 2.45 for a ten ounce bottle. And look how pretty it is (it’s the pinkish-redish liquid in the measuring cup)!

I have used this brand in the past, but am planning on trying a bottle from this Japanese brand next, as it specifically mentions the product being raw.


Cost Analysis

      Organic Cabbage 1.90


      One Organic Red Pepper, 1.50


      Chives (free from the garden), green onions substitute 1 dollar


      I cup of slivered almonds, 1.35


      Ume Plum Vinegar, .48 cents


      Organic, Raw, Apple Cider Vinegar, .22


      Organic Extra virgin Olive oil, $1.48


      Garlic cloves, .20 cents


    Ginger, toasted sesame oil, cayenne, .25 cents

Total Cost: For me 7.38, if buying green onions, 8.38. To make into a main dish, I would add leftover shredded chicken which would cost an estimated 2-4 dollars more.

Asian Cabbage Salad Serves 4
Feel free to play around with the dressing to make it fit your taste buds! Also, just so you know, we don’t eat a lot of uncooked cabbage because it contains thyroid suppressors. But we feel it’s fine to eat every once in a while.

Salad Ingredients

      5 cups of finely chopped cabbage (one small cabbage) (1.90)
      One large red pepper, washed, and cubed into small cubes (1.50)
      1/2 cup of chives, chopped (or green onions)
    1 cup of slivered almonds, toasted in a dry pan on medium heat until lightly browned


      1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
      1/4 cup of  uma plum vinegar
      1/4 raw apple cider vinegar
      1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
      3-4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced or put through a garlic press
      1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    a pinch (or two) of cayenne powder

1-Place all of the salad ingredients into a serving bowl.

2-Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake until well combined. Pour over salad ingredients and toss. Taste test and adjust as needed. We had some black sesame seeds on hand which we sprinkled on top for not only a lovely presentation but for their great taste as well. Enjoy!

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    Mmmm… I’ve been looking for something to replace that “Ramen Noodle Salad” that I absolutely adore 😉 and yet never eat! This looks like it could do it!

  2. Melissa says

    I noticed the little black specks in the picture. Is that ingredient listed? It looks like black sesame seeds?

  3. says

    I know what I’m having for dinner. Just have to grab that vinegar and sliced almonds. Thanks for sharing such a refreshing low carb meal for summer! Cabbage is so cheap and nourishing–really a life saver! I read somewhere (in a book about organic foods?) you don’t have to buy cabbage, onions, and cauliflower organic. The brassicas smell bad enough to repel most pests naturally! 😀

  4. KimiHarris says

    Hey Michelle,

    I would love to hear how you use the Ume Plum vinegar!


    I know, those salads sure are good! I never make them, but I’ve had other people’s versions and they are yummy. That’s what I was thinking of when I created this recipe.


    Good question. I mention them at the end of the recipe, but they aren’t listed in the list of ingredients. You are right though, they are black sesame seeds! Good eye!


    Cabbage is wonderful isn’t it! You are right! Both cabbage and broccoli are on the list for the 12 cleanest produce as far as pesticides goes. It’s strange though. When we have grown broccoli before we have had a terrible problem with green worms being all over it (a local farm had the same problem too). Maybe it’s just our area, I don’t know. Some people use insect cloths over the plants to protect them from bugs, maybe that’s what I needed! All to say, in our area, there’s definitely still a bug problem that could cause farmers to spray them. 🙁

    I hadn’t though of this as being low carb, but you are right! It is! Another plus. 🙂

  5. says

    How funny! I made up an Asian-flavored cabbage salad this weekend too. I suppose it’s the 4th of July influence. 🙂 Yours looks awesome! I want to try it soon. I’ve still got some shredded cabbage lying around that I haven’t used up yet. I’ve noticed Elana’s use of ume vinegar too, and since I love umeboshi plums, I really should get my booty moving and buy some of the vinegar to try.

  6. michelle says

    Hi Kimi, love what you do with food. Do you have a sour dough “starter” recipe you could share? I have been reluntant to make it, but I think I am ready now. It sounds so wonderful, I just have to try. I have been collecting lots of recipes for Gluten Free baking and sometimes they call for baking soda or powder AND yeast. Can you subsitute the sour dough for the yeast in these recipes? Any help you could give will be greatly appreciated as I am new to GF but I am G intollerant now. Thank you

  7. Jessie says

    Sounds great! I just got an organic cabbage in my CSA! So this is quite timely! Now to find that ume plum vinegar. Are there other brands besides Eden Organic? I’m wondering if I can find it in my Asian grocery. Otherwise, I can check Whole Foods.

    Unrelated to this recipe – but to many other ones you do – do soft wheat berries have a different name? Like red or winter white? My friend has a grain grinder & a good source for wheat berries. But she doesn’t think the people at her little country store will know about “soft” wheatberries. Is there anything else they are called? Thanks for your help!

  8. says

    Yummy looking! And, thanks for the info on the umeboshe vinegar … I had thought it was expensive, too. Glad to hear it’s not!

    BTW, this would be a terrific recipe for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free!, which I am hosting this month. The theme is Make Me A Happy Camper! and there is a broad definition of camping. 😉 Read more here http://glutenfreeeasily.com/july-go-ahead-honey-its-gluten-free/, but add a little reference to the carnival to your post and send me the link and photo and you’re in if you like, Kimi. 🙂 Others are welcome, too! ~~Shirley

  9. says

    What a beautiful salad, Kimi! I did not know that about cabbage being a thyroid suppressor. That perhaps explains some reactions in my family when we used to eat alot of raw cabbage! (I had to stop, we knew it was the cabbage, but not why.) Your recipe is inspirational, as usual! I’m getting some cherries on Wednesday and am excited to try the cherry dessert you posted awhile back.

  10. Jen says


    I made a wonderful sourdough starter following the directions from this site: http://www.sourdoughhome.com/startermyway.html

    Basically you mix 1/4 cup water with 3/8 cup whole wheat flour. Discard 1/2 of it every 12 hours, and add another 1/4 cup water and 3/8 cup whole wheat flour. After about a week you can use it, and after a month you can refigerate it and only feed it once a month. I missed a few feedings here and there, but tried to be good in the beginning. It’s a lot of work at first, but once it’s going it’s awesome! If you have time, explore the whole site. There is great sourdough info, and lots of great recipes.

    Good luck!

  11. Diane says

    Kimiharris, Could you explain about cabbage being a thyroid suppressor? I never knew that and I eat alot of cabbage, both red and green. I always put cabbage in my raw salads which we eat practically every night. (Chopped and tossed salad is the main meal for my 7 year old! He loves greens with an undying passion.) I also have a low performing thyroid and try to avoid any foods/substances that can contribute to is being lower. Many thanks.

  12. KimiHarris says

    Hey Everyone,

    Here are a few answers to your questions.

    Where to find the ume plum vinegar. You should be able to find it at most health food stores (Eden Foods is carried by the health food stores around here).

    More about thyroid suppressors in vegetables

    I should probably do a post about this at some point, but basically cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale “contain chemicals that clock the production of th thyroid hormone (known medically as goitrogens). ” Quoted from Nourishing Traditions. She recommend that you only eat cabbage raw occasionally, and that’s what we do. 🙂

  13. says

    Great recipe! I’ll be making this tomorrow night…after I run to the Asian Grocery store for some vinegar, which is the only thing I don’t have. I’ll also pick up some black sesame seeds. A Chinese friend of mine introduced me to them and they are delish!

  14. Erin says

    Delish! Made it tonight and everyone loved it. So colorful. Since there was plenty of dressing, we tossed the slaw with some red and green lettuce and swiss chard from the garden. Yum! Topped with a little chicken breast, our summer dish was complete. Thanks for the recipe! 🙂
    (as a side note… i used purple cabbage, yellow pepper, red tomatoes, and green onions. wow. a rainbow of nutrients!)

  15. says

    I made this yesterday and added our left over chicken from dinner. I had to improvise a lot to use what I had. I used some soy sauce, rice vinager, and lime juice in my dressing. It’s lovely! and waiting in the fridge for lunch time!

  16. says

    What would be a good substitute for the plum vinegar? I know I’m not going to find it locally and the food budget is really, really tight with baby coming in 69 days. Not that I’m counting or anything.:)

  17. Meggan says

    This was great!! I used balsamic in place of the plum vinegar and it was delicious! I also added a marinated grilled tuna steak (yeah, takes it out of the frugal range) but it was a fantastic addition!!

  18. Kristi says

    We’ve made this salad several times this summer and really enjoy it! One thing we’ve changed, however, is reducing the ume plum vinegar amount. One teaspoon of the vinegar has 44% of daily sodium (1050 mg). So in this recipe, per serving would be 3 times that amount…not sure what NT says about amount of sodium in a day but we thought it was VERY salty at the full 1/4 cup in the recipe. Cutting it back didn’t seem to affect the taste–we LOVE the ume plum vinegar and didn’t want to lose that taste (we just bumped up the ACV to compensate). Great recipe!

  19. Janet Steinmetz says

    I just made this salad and it was fantastic! I just couldn’t quit eating it. I’m anxious to try more of your recipes. Thanks for sharing them. After reading all of the comments from 2009, I will make it with less plum vinegar next time.


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