Asian “Cool Slaw”

asian inspired cashew cole slaw

Two facts you might know about me:

1. I am a Leo & I'm pretty proud of it. But then tell me a Leo who isn't...

2. I hate mayo and cringe at the mere sight of the word mayonnaise. I didn't even know how to spell mayonnaise (THANKS, spell check!) because there is simply no reason for me to. EVER.

OK so I'm a Leo. Let's discuss this briefly because I tend to go ON about astrology-- especially at parties where I've been drinking too much... Being a Leo means that I live by the code "Productivity fueled by laziness."  As a result, I spend most of my time searching for recipes with ingredients I already have sitting in my pantry. I wonder if my incessant need to stockpile food is a Leo thing too? My grandmother who is a Leo does it... But then again I have a Capricorn mom so that could be the reason why. So yeah... I test out a lot of recipes that don't require me to go to the grocery store more than twice a week. I also love coming up with things on the fly. I love tinkering with recipes because it fuels my pride when I get it right. This salad is definitely a product of that. I'm a Leo. RAWR.

And then the mayo thing...Uggh the mayo thing. You can imagine how repulsed I was to see Richard Blais DEEP FRY MAYO on Top Chef this week. I turned my head and plugged my ears like a 2 year old until the Quickfire challenge was over. Barf! There are thousands of recipes I pass by the instant I see "mayo" as an ingredient. It's a shame because there are SOO many good ones out there...that are ruined by mayo. When I found this "cool slaw" recipe that uses cashews as the creamy base, I was intrigued. If the Everyday Chickpea Salad I recently made & fell in love with had the same cashew base, wouldn't I love this one too? After mixing up the ingredients & letting it sit, I took a taste and thought it needed something. Because I set out to eat a substantial salad for lunch, I couldn't see myself eating a whole bowl of the "cool slaw," like I planned. Back into my pantry & fridge I went and came up with a few additions of my own--soy sauce, green onions, toasted sesame oil & toasted slivered almonds.  A pretty fricking delicious Asian inspired coleslaw was birthed and it maintained the "vegan" status on the original recipe. Although I'm thinking of dipping into my freezer stash and adding shrimp or chicken...just cuz.

And we're off!

Let's make the dressing first!


Water, cashews, agave syrup, Dijon & apple cider vinegar go into the food proceesor.  BLEND.

about to blend

For like 5 minutes. Yup. I'm serious.


Scrape down the sides every minute or so.

slaw dressing!

Pour the dressing over your coleslaw mix.

to the slaw!

Let it sit for awhile.

letting it sit

And here's my tinkering.... If you think it needs some zip continue with my steps.

some new additions

Add green onions, slivered almonds, sesame oil....

green onions & almonds enter the picture

And some soy sauce....

hello soy

And take a taste....


Productivity fueled by laziness pays off. Try it.

Asian "Cool Slaw"

Makes 6 servings

(recipe adapted from Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Moskowitz)

  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 2 tablespoons white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup
  • 1 14oz. bag coleslaw mix

And here's where my tinkering begins:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 chopped green onions (both white & green parts)
  • 1/3 cup slivered toasted almonds

To make the dressing, place the cashews, onion, water, apple cider vinegar, Dijon & agave syrup in a food processor and blend for at least 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides often and continue blending until smooth. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw mixture and mix well. Let it sit for at least 45 minutes so the cabbage is nice & wilted.

Let's tinker!

Add in the soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions & toasted slivered almonds and mix thoroughly. Taste for salt and chill until ready to serve.

Other possible additions:

  • sesame seeds
  • mango
  • peanuts
  • jicama
  • red peppers
  • won ton chips
  • grilled shrimp
  • orange segments
  • green beans, snap peas, peas...
  • baked tofu
  • chicken
  • shrimp
  • anything really....except mayo
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  • February 25, 2011

    that slaw looks delish! i absolutely HATE mayonnaise, too! it's probably one of the grossest substances in the whole wide world. a few semesters back in culinary school we had to make mayonnaise for our final exam, and i wanted to die. seriously. it's just so...oily. and gelatinous. and blobby. and...gross.

    i'm glad i'm not the only one who abhors mayo! when i saw blais deep-fry it, i wanted to hide and cry. the only thing worse than mayonnaise is hot, liquidy mayonnaise. blech.

    • February 27, 2011

      thank you. THANK YOU.

  • February 25, 2011

    I will be making this asap because omg it looks tasty. (even though i love mayo based slaws (especially in the summer, on hot dogs.))

    • February 25, 2011

      I was thinking this would be really good in a I'm thinking of it in a wrap with a hot dog. Thanks a LOT. yum

  • February 25, 2011

    First of all- you totally crack me up with the astrology stuff. My sister goes on-and-on about her sign!

    Oh, where am I going with this? ah! Recipe. Although I could go for a mayo-based slaw once in a while, sometimes I just get fed up with the stuff (mayo) and I go on a no-mayo diet for like six months. Mustard tastes soo much better.

    I'm totally making this for lunch next week!

    • February 25, 2011

      Mustard is the best. BEST BEST BEST. Hey what's your sign?

  • February 25, 2011

    So my high school boyfriend would eat mayo out of the jar. Like spoonfuls. Straight. Just thought I'd leave you with that image on this lovely Friday evening :) xo

    • February 25, 2011

      my old coworker used to put it on his peanut butter sandwiches in front of me in the kitchen at work. I AM NOT KIDDING. :P

  • February 25, 2011

    Ahh, see I typically dislike coleslaw, but am a mayo-lovin' Aquarius! (like lick the spoon kind of love!) Everything about this sounds good...except the slaw. Maybe I could try the sauce on shredded brussels sprouts a la that salad you posted awhile back. I loved that! (yeah, no rhyme or reason to my cabbagey prefs...)

    • February 25, 2011

      I always like seeing what you pick up on, on my posts! Your comments make me happy....even though you don't like coleslaw.

  • February 25, 2011

    i am a leo. RARW! ;)

    • February 27, 2011

      that's why we're friends.

  • roxy
    February 25, 2011

    YUM! I too find mayo disgusting and freaky white globby...partly due to my dad's love affair with it. He eat it with anything and everything and sometime (gag!) by itself!

  • emma p
    February 26, 2011

    aha! i bought appetite for reduction the other day and just made a massive bowl of this. i used red onions, brussell sprouts, carrots and a reduced in price bag of slad i felt sorry for in the local kind of tweaked a little.

    the dressing i use red onions as it sort of had a pink tinge to the dressing, but the letting it sit and wilt a little idea is fabulous and im on my 2nd bowlful..yummm

  • February 26, 2011

    Added, I enjoy your blog! :)

  • February 26, 2011

    1. Leo.
    2. Mustard rules over Mayo most days. SWEET HOT MUSTARD rules over everything.
    3. I stockpile food like I am preparing to live in a Walking Dead scenario.

    • February 27, 2011

      1. YES.
      2. TOTES. Have you tried the new Trader Joe's Sweet Hot Mustard???
      3. My pantry is my disaster kit! I'm locking myself in there if there's an earthquake.
      4. I like you too. How are you?!! You've been quiet.

  • February 26, 2011

    mayo has made my list of ten foods i hate, so you can imagine how much this recipe thrills me. thanks for sharing:)

  • February 27, 2011

    this is so going on my "to make" list! i love all kinds of slaws. you should try it with a tahini dressing - it's amazing!

    • February 28, 2011

      i know you do! And yes. I WILL!!!!!

  • March 2, 2011

    This sounds delicious. I detest traditional Cole slaw. Your description of your pantry and wanting to only cook from it cracked me up as I tend to be similar. As a matter of fact I got so mad this week about having to skip recipes with mushrooms (since fresh mushrooms don't keep well) that I went out and bought a TON of mushrooms and cooked them and then froze them in portions. So now I have mushrooms in my "pantry" also.

    • March 3, 2011

      OOOOH. Good idea. I LOOOOOOOOOVE mushrooms.

  • March 3, 2011

    But what about mayo on BLTs? I refuse to believe a BLT can exist without mayo.

  • March 5, 2011

    I am going to try this this week. Like you I dislike mayo, but I'm in the mood for a creamy coleslaw. I like the asian / cashew angle. And it's a great excuse for me to use my vitamix. ;-)

  • March 18, 2011

    The recipe has been rocking my world. The basic cashew dressing recipe made quite a lot and I've been working through the leftovers. I discovered a great and simple variation that is very askin to traditional cole slaw and a great accompaniment to veggie burgers: toss the dressing with thinly sliced cabbage, a little olive oil, a touch of salt, a good amount of pepper, and a sprinkle of celery seeds. Soooo good.

    Picture here:

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