Sunday, March 2, 2014

Savoy Cabbage Salad with Thai Basil Peanut Dressing

savoy cabbage slaw with peanut dressing

This post isn't really about the salad. It's about the dressing, because you could pour it over shoe leather and it would still taste so god damn delicious you would eat the entire thing and ask for more without even realizing you'd just eaten a shoe (hypothetically speaking). Because holy shit, this peanut dressing puts all other peanut dressings to shame. If you eat this peanut dressing and then try eating a different kind of peanut dressing or sauce, you'll feel like you're committing peanut sauce adultery, because once you eat this peanut dressing you will realize that it's THE ONLY PEANUT DRESSING you will ever need, want, or desire.

Let me explain.

This dressing, which has all the usual elements of a good peanut sauce (peanut butter, acid, heat, a touch of sweetness), has a generous addition of fresh herbs that turns it into something altogether more moving and awe-inspiring. So don't be surprised if you find yourself eating it out of the jar or suddenly realize you just ate two entire heads of broccoli because you couldn't stop dipping broccoli in this dressing in order to eat more of it.

I don't know what else to tell you, except that one roommate of mine, who has relatively neutral feelings about peanut butter (we try not to speak of it because it hurts me), declared this dressing so good that she would "eat it on anything." ANYTHING, people. I once ate a bowl of cold noodles drenched in this sauce (partly because there was nothing else in the fridge) but it was STILL AMAZING. It's so peanut buttery but also fragrant and tangy and just a bit spicy and would this taste good on tofu, soba noodles, or raw spinach, or drizzled over steamed broccoli and cauliflower? YES. TO ALL AND ANY OF THE THINGS, YES.

So, if you respect yourself you will make this dressing and enjoy it on many things, perhaps this salad included.

textures of green it packs a good crunch

Savoy Cabbage Salad with Thai Basil Peanut Dressing
This salad is really all about the dressing, which is, simply put, the best. Feel free to change up the salad by adding carrot, cucumber, or other veggies. If you want to bulk it up, you can add chickpeas or tofu, and the dressing would also go well with soba noodles and scallions.

1/2 head savoy cabbage, thinly sliced & chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded & julienned
1/3 cup roasted & unsalted peanuts, chopped

Thai Basil Dressing
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

2 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp olive or peanut oil
1 tbsp hot water
2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp Sriracha (aka rooster sauce)
2 scallions, minced
8 mint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp chopped basil (Thai basil, if you can find it, but sweet basil will do just fine)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

herbs and things chopped up fine
still whiskin' peanut dressing in motion whisked
add the green stuff creamy, peanut goodness

1. Toss the prepped vegetables together in a large bowl, then set aside.

2. To make the dressing, whisk together the peanut butter and oil, then the hot water. Whisk in the vinegar, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Stir in the minced scallions and herbs. Add salt to taste, if desired. If you like a smoother dressing, you can puree all of the ingredients in a blender. If you find the sauce is too thick, just whisk another tablespoon or two of water until the dressing reaches your desired consistency.

3. Serve the salad and drizzle with as much dressing as you desire, then top with chopped peanuts. The dressing will keep for a week stored in the fridge in a sealed container.

savoy slaw & Thai basil peanut dressing


  1. This sounds great! You mentioned using vinegar in the directions in the directions but I don't see it in the recipe. How much and what kind?

    1. Hi Mira, sorry about that! It's in the recipe now, 2 1/2 tbsp of rice or apple cider vinegar.

  2. The salad looks so good! Have to give this nutty dressing a try soon.

    1. Thanks! I hope you try it soon - it's totally worth it.

  3. That's hilarious! I'm visiting your blog for the first time, and I read the top of this post thinking, "How can she possibly do better than the peanut sauce recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone?" Oh. My favorite, too. I often do wraps with cream cheese, cabbage, cucumber, maybe tofu, and a crazy amount of peanut dressing.

    1. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who's discovered the awesomeness that is this peanut sauce! Peanut sauce wraps sound amazing.

  4. I'm doing no oil, will it taste just as good without the peanut oil? or, any substitutions?

    1. I used olive oil, and it tastes fine. Peanut oil would just amp up the peanut flavour, but I rarely have it on hand, so I make do. You can use any mild flavoured oil, like sunflower or vegetable. If you're not using oil it will change the texture and viscosity of the dressing, so I'd recommend adding at least another tablespoon of water. Play around and see what works for you!