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Asian Cabbage and Cranberry Coleslaw


At my last cooking class I made a very basic coleslaw.  Pretty much just a dressing and cabbage.  The goal was to demonstrate that you can easily make your own dressings and it’s a great way to save money.  The demonstration was MIND BLOWING for a lot of the participants.  They had no idea that you could make your own dressings!  Their excitement was really contagious for me because I have so many dressing ideas to offer.  This cole slaw is made with my favorite Asian salad dressing recipe and has a little more pizzaz to it than the one we made in class.

As food bloggers we often forget that the rest of the country/world doesn’t necessarily see food the way we do.  For me, if we’re out of mayonnaise, I need to make some more or we simply do without.  If I want a salad for dinner, I whip up my own dressing because I always have oil and vinegar or citrus in the house.

But a lot of America thinks, if you need salad dressing, go to the store.  I used to feel the same way!  Is it advertising that has convinced us that we can’t make our own condiments?

I think of those ridiculous commercials for gadgets that make a simple task look impossible.  You know what I mean, like the lady trying to strain her spaghetti who either dumps the whole pot down the drain, or ends up scalding herself, so obviously needs a special built in strainer to suddenly make pasta easy.

Is that the way of our food world?  How much of America is convinced that if you want soup stock, barbecue sauce, salad dressing, mayonnaise or other condiments, you have to go buy it?

I’m trying not to get on a soapbox here.  I certainly don’t blame the people who don’t know any better.  I used to be one of them.  It’s funny because I grew up mixing ketchup with soy sauce or Worcestershire to make a sauce for my beef or french fries.  But I never really thought of it as steak sauce.  If I wanted steak sauce I thought needed to buy A-1 (now I make my own and it’s way better!).

Let’s move on to the cole slaw before I get too passionate 😉  This is a pretty basic side dish.  The dressing ingredients are mayonnaise, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and rice vinegar.  You can use white vinegar instead of rice vinegar but use a slightly smaller amount.

When you taste your dressing, it will be pretty tangy, but keep in mind that the cranberries in the salad add a lot of sweetness that mellows the bite of the rice vinegar.

You can skip the black sesame seeds or use white ones, I just like that they add some color and drama to the salad.

So, why do you think so many of us don’t realize how easy it is to make a lot of basic food items from scratch?

Yield: 4-6 servings

Asian Cabbage and Cranberry Coleslaw

asian cole slaw
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/2 small green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use homemade)
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 TBS black sesame seeds (optional garnish)


  1. Slice the cabbage very thin and then chop those slices into bite sized pieces.
  2. Place cabbage in a medium sized bowl and mix in the dried cranberries.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil until smooth and creamy (I use a fork).
  4. Pour dressing over cabbage and cranberries and toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds to garnish.



Approximate cost/serving: The whole salad cost $3 to make.  That could be 6 servings as a side dish so 50 cents a serving.  Our teenage guys eat twice a serving size as we do so at 4 servings it’s 75 cents a serving.

Vegetarian/gluten free: This is meatless, if you want to make it vegan use a vegan mayonnaise.  For gluten free, make sure to use a gluten free soy sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 146Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 352mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is an estimate only.

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Nutritional and cost information is for estimating purposes only, and subject to variations due to region, seasonality, and product availability.

3 thoughts on “Asian Cabbage and Cranberry Coleslaw”

  1. I love this post! The idea that I could make my own salad dressing never occurred to me until I read personal finance web sites. There are people out there making their own laundry soap and cleaning supplies too. Keep your passion on this subject because the world will see a lot more salad dressing commercials and not enough messages like this one. We should teach children this in schools, but doesn’t it seem like capitalistic cultures almost don’t want children to know?

    • It really does seem that way sometimes. Often things they do make in classes in schools are processed or really unhealthy. I plan to start making my own soaps as well. Sounds like a great money saver!


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