I’ve been a little bit obsessed with cold salads lately that DON’T involve lettuce. This is my latest favorite. Thai Sesame Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad is cool, crunchy, and refreshing. It’s packed with flavor from fresh mint, cilantro, and basil, with a toasted sesame dressing that’s bursting with umami.
And it’s SO PRETTY! Look at those beautiful colors. Red cabbage is a food blogger’s best friend- it always photographs beautifully. Paired with the bright orange from the carrots, it’s even more beautiful. I had almost a whole head of red cabbage leftover from making chipotle salmon tacos, so I whipped up this colorful salad with the rest.
Honestly, I don’t know why it’s called red cabbage. It’s far more purple than red. Same with red onion. What gives?
I love how simple this salad is, but how much flavor it has. The cabbage and carrots are crunchy and cool. The fresh basil, mint, and cilantro adds that awesome fresh herb flavor found in lots of Thai (and other South Asian) dishes.
And the sesame dressing– oh boy. Toasted sesame oil gives it tons of flavor, the fish sauce gives it a burst of salty umami, the ginger and lime juice brighten it up, and just a little bit of honey sweetens it up a bit. I’m about to put this dressing on EVERYTHING moving forward.
If you have a food processor with attachments, it can make shredding the cabbage and grating the carrots very easy. You can also cut the cabbage by hand with a sharp chef’s knife and grate the carrots with a box grater.
What’s your favorite way to use up extra red cabbage? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Recipe for Thai Sesame Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad below!
Thai Sesame Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad
For the Salad:
- 4 cups shredded red cabbage about one small or 1/2 large head
- 4 carrots grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro roughly chopped
- sesame seeds and extra herbs for garnish (optional)
- Whisk together dressing ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add all salad ingredients (cabbage, carrots, and herbs) to bowl.
- Stir together. Best served immediately. Garnish with sesame seeds and extra herbs just before serving.
- For a vegetarian/vegan recipe, make sure to use a vegetarian/vegan fish sauce substitute.
- Make ahead: This salad will get soggy as it sits. To prep ahead, I recommend mixing the dressing separately and tossing together just before serving.