Sesame Slaw

$5.08 recipe / $0.64 per cup
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.29 from 7 votes
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While red cabbage is still on sale for $0.50/lb., I’m just going to keep going with it! This super simple Sesame Slaw is fast, fresh, and a nice break from the heavy, cooked down fall foods that I’ve been eating lately. It’s good enough to eat as a salad on its own, but today I paired it with a few gyoza for one of the most delightful lunches I’ve had in a while. You can also use it as a bed for some Pan Fried Sesame Tofu or stir in some shredded rotisserie chicken. Eat it as a bowl meal or stuff it into a wrap. There are just so many possibilities for this very basic side dish.

A plate full of Sesame Slaw with Edamame, topped with three gyoza.

How to Store Sesame Slaw

If you’re planning to eat this Sesame Slaw over the span of a few days, I do suggest waiting to add the dressing until just before serving. Make sure you shake your dressing just before adding it, as it does separate.

Finely Shredded Cabbage is Key

Another key aspect to making this slaw so good is making sure the cabbage is very finely shredded. I used my food processor because it’s fast and easy, but a mandolin would be a great alternative. You can use a knife but make sure it’s sharp and go as thinly as possible!

What is Toasted Sesame Oil?

Toasted sesame oil is oil that has been pressed out of sesame seeds that are first toasted. This gives the oil an extremely nutty flavor. I don’t suggest substituting this oil in the recipe because it really gives a big boost of flavor that you can’t get anywhere else. You can find toasted sesame oil in the International aisle of most major grocery stores, with the other Asian ingredients. The label may not say “toasted” on it, but you’ll know it’s toasted by the brown color (un-toasted sesame oil is a light straw color, like canola oil). 

Front view of a bowl of Sesame Slaw and gyoza.
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Sesame Slaw

4.29 from 7 votes
This simple Sesame Slaw makes a great side dish, or a bed for other items like gyoza, fried tofu, or grilled chicken. 
This simple Sesame Slaw makes a great side dish, or a bed for other items like gyoza, fried tofu, or grilled chicken.
Servings 8 1 cup each
Prep 20 minutes
Total 20 minutes


Sesame Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp neutral salad oil* ($0.04)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar ($0.12)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.39)
  • 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil ($0.16)
  • 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.03)
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger ($0.04)
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds ($0.04)


  • 6 cups shredded red cabbage ($1.09)
  • 1 large carrot ($0.11)
  • 1 red bell pepper ($1.89)
  • 1/2 bunch green onion ($0.50)
  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame ($0.67)


  • Prepare the dressing first to allow the flavors time to blend. Place the neutral oil, vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, and sesame seeds in a jar or other small container with a lid, and shake until combined. Set the dressing aside.
  • Shred the cabbage as finely as possible. Use a large-holed cheese grater, mandolin, or food processor to shred the carrot. Finely dice the bell pepper, and slice the green onion. Cook the edamame according to the package directions (mine required microwaving for 5 minutes). 
  • Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and pour about half the dressing over top. Toss the ingredients together until everything is combined and coated in dressing. Taste and add more dressing if desired (I used about 3/4 of the dressing). Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat. Always stir the slaw just before serving to redistribute the dressing.

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*Neutral salad oils do not have a strong flavor, and are a great base for dressing to allow other flavors to shine. Oils like canola, grapeseed oil, light olive oil, or safflower oil.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 98.85kcalCarbohydrates: 10.86gProtein: 3.55gFat: 3.75gSodium: 354.74mgFiber: 3.01g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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A full plate of Sesame Slaw on its own with a black fork.

How to Make Sesame Slaw – Step by Step Photos

Sesame Dressing in a mason jar

Begin with the dressing so the flavors have a little time to blend. To a small jar or other lidded container add 2 Tbsp neutral salad oil, 1 Tbsp rice vinegar, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, and 1/2 Tbsp sesame seeds. Close the container and shake, shake, shake. Set the dressing aside.

Sesame Slaw Vegetables in a bowl

Finely shred a red cabbage (either one small head or half a large head, about 6 cups once shredded). Shred one large carrot, finely dice a red bell pepper, and slice 1/2 bunch green onions. Cook 1 cup frozen shelled edamame according to the package directions (mine required microwaving for 5 minutes). Add the vegetables to a large bowl.

Pour Dressing on Sesame Slaw

Give the dressing another good shake, then add about half of it to the vegetables in the bowl.

Mixed Sesame Slaw in the bowl

Toss all the ingredients together until they’re evenly mixed and coated in the sesame dressing. Give it a taste and add more dressing if desired (I added about 3/4 of the total batch of the dressing). 

A plate of Sesame Slaw with gyoza

I served my Sesame Slaw with some gyoza and they were awesome together. While I have made my own gyoza before, I’ve become hooked on the frozen gyoza from Trader Joes. They are super inexpensive, fast and easy to cook, and super delish. I also have some rotisserie chicken in the fridge that I plan to serve with this over the next couple of days!

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  1. My wife and I thought it was okay. My kids refused to eat it beyond just trying it

  2. I was looking for a recipe that used edamame beans. I found this one, with also red cabbage. Now I could use one of the pots of fermented red cabbage from the fridge. It tasted good when fresh and just as good the next day. 
    My red cabbage was not so finely sliced, but it was already fermented. 

  3. So delicious. I had a bag of prepackaged coleslaw mix and wanted to make an Asian salad with it. Found your recipe, left out the edamane, tweaked dressing a bit and we devoured it. No leftovers. Thank you for the yummy recipe 😋

  4. I used to be very literal when it came to cooking and had to make sure that I had every.single.ingredient that a recipe listed, but one thing I’ve learned from BB is that a swap for something you have on hand is never a bad thing! There are so many other recipes from here that I saw notes from Beth that other ingredients work just fine, and I found this recipe is so easy to do the same!
    Used what I had in my kitchen: red cabbage, carrot (used a peeler to make “shreds”, green onion, bell pepper, cashews, and then the dressing I used: tahini (no sesame oil around), soy sauce, red wine vinegar, vegetable oil.
    No idea if this turned out super similar to the original recipe, or if it’s quite different, but it was delicious regardless and I never would’ve realized I had the right things to make something like this without this recipe, or without Beth’s constant gentle reminders to sub ingredients to what you have – the real Budget Bytes philosophy! :)

    1. I’m so glad that you’ve found the confidence to begin experimenting with ingredient swaps!! That really is the key to becoming a good cook. :)

  5. I made this into a bowl meal with brown rice, baked tofu, and sriracha mayo. It was delicious :)

  6. What a great discovery! This dish turned out to be delicious. I only used half of the quantities for the dressing though, and it was more than enough.

  7. Just made this yesterday as a side dish for veggie potstickers. It was a hit! Ran out of rice vinegar so I used white wine vinegar instead, a little extra white sugar, and added some sunflower seeds for crunch. Very versatile and tasty.

  8. I love slaw, but hate the may-based versions honestly. I think this asian inspired recipe looks great!

  9. Yum! I love the flavor of sesame in any form. We always use your stir fried sesame tofu with broccoli when we crave tofu. It has gotten much easier to eat lots and lots of vege these days. Our daughter is really the driving force for eating more vege. Imagine that! She was not very fond of them when she was a little stinker. Now she’s a fully grown adult. Some things just take time.

    One head of red cabbage seems to last forever Daughter puts chopped red cabbage in all her burrito or taco creations, too. She has become a really good cook and I love it because sometimes I can just sit back and let her take over dinner preparations.. I also have a Savoy cabbage in the frig. Do you have any fabulous ideas for that variety?