Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing

Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing

A crunchy, spicy red cabbage salad flavored with miso and ginger. Ideal as a side for Asian meals, or as a standalone lunch. Just don’t call it a slaw!

When I was thinking about what I wanted to serve alongside the Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps we were planning on making, I knew I wanted something bright and fresh to counter-balance the rich grilled beef.

That’s when I decided to take our Asian Cabbage and Fennel Salad recipe and mix it up a bit. I love, love, love miso and the addition of it gives this dressing a richness that is almost creamy, though there’s no mayo or any dairy in it. It’s actually almost a nutty flavor. Matt said it tasted like the peanut sauce you get with satay, but even better (and there’s no peanut in it either). It also happens to be vegan and can be made gluten free if you use tamari in place of the soy and use a GF miso, like this one).

Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing
Vegetables are so pretty.

This salad is extremely simple. We just used finely shredded red cabbage and scallions but you could add any of the favorite ingredients you use in slaw. Shredded carrots would be great. Fennel would be delicious.

Aside from the miso, this dressing also calls for guachujang, which is a thick spicy Korean paste. Like miso, it adds body to the sauce, as well as heat. If you can’t find it, you could use a hot sauce like Sriracha. It’s not exactly the same but would still be delicious.

Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing
This dressing is so delicious, we also used it as a dip for fresh radishes.

Don’t forget to check out our Asian Pantry Basics page for descriptions and links to many of the ingredients used in this dish.

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4.43 from 7 votes

Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing

Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Servings: 4 -5 servings
Author: Emily Clifton - Nerds with Knives


For the salad:

  • 3 cups red cabbage finely shredded (about 1/2 a small head)
  • 2 scallions chopped into 2 inch pieces and finely shredded (or finely chopped)

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons guachujang or Sriracha, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic finely grated (1 small clove)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted white or black sesame seeds


  • Add the shredded cabbage and scallions to a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. If dressing is too thick, stir in 1 tablespoon hot water. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. If you like it crunchy, serve it right away. If you like a softer texture, let it sit for an hour or two in the refrigerator.
  • Tip: If you like it crunchy but want to make it in advance, place the vegetables on top of the dressing but don’t stir until you’re ready to serve.
Tried this recipe?Mention @NerdsWithKnives or tag #nerdswithknives!


11 thoughts on “Red Cabbage Salad with Spicy Miso-Ginger Dressing”

  1. How far in advance can I make the dressing to the red cabbage salad? I’m trying to get as much prep done ahead of time. Dinner party is 3 days away. Thank you! Beautiful website by the way.

    • Hi Ree,

      You can make the dressing two, even three days ahead and keep it in the fridge. You can even slice up the cabbage a day or two ahead and keep it in the fridge in a Ziploc bag wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. Then you can lightly dress the salad a couple of hours before you want to serve it and add more dressing at the last minute, as needed. Good luck with the dinner party!

  2. 4 stars
    Hi, this may be as close as I’ll get to a red cabbage “salad” that I was lucky enough to ever taste in a restaurant that is now run by different people. It was just sliced red cabbage with a very simple brown dressing they served in a small cup as an appetizer. So my question is do you think it could have been made with a dark miso paste? It was just mind blowingly simple and I’ve been searching for possible dressing recipes for a long time, yours could be it but no idea where I’ll find dark miso paste. Thanks for posting this one anyway.

    • Hmmm, there’s no way to know for sure obviously but some miso pastes can be quite dark. Red miso is darker than white and has a more intense flavor. It would be excellent in a dressing for a cabbage or bitter green salad so it’s quite possible that’s what it was. Good luck with your search!

  3. 5 stars
    This is my go-to slaw! It’s a great side or added to a hummus wrap or other sandwich. I have made it with green cabbage also, but it holds up much better with red. Thank you for the recipe!

4.43 from 7 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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