Theoretically local Asian-style cabbage salad

Nappa cabbageI call this salad “theoretically local” because in theory, nappa cabbage, mung bean sprouts, carrots, and scallions could all be grown and bought in SE Michigan. As late as November, I could have bought them at the market – and all of these things keep pretty well into this part of the winter, so if I’d had my act together, I could have made it from local ingredients last night. However, being far from a perfect locavore, I’m guessing all of these ingredients actually came from California. I’m not such a fanatic that I refuse to let trucked-in produce pass my lips.

In fact, I think there is great value in theoretically local foods. Eating things that could grow in your area and could be gotten out of storage this time of year helps you change your tastes. It helps you explore the idea of local/seasonal food without the overhead and commitment of tracking down food sources or growing your own. In short, it teaches me that this salad is the kind of salad to be eating in late January, instead of a romaine-tomato-cucumber type of salad.

As an added bonus, it keeps for a week in the fridge, and if you shred extra ingredients, you’ve practically made kimchee. 🙂

Recipe for Asian-style cabbage salad after the break…

Asian-style cabbage salad

Use nappa or celery cabbage, or another type of crinkly cabbage that appears to be masquerading as lettuce. Since sizes vary, I give proportions in the recipe below.

  • 3 parts shredded nappa cabbage
  • 1-2 parts shredded carrots
  • 1 part mung bean sprouts
  • 3-6 scallions, chopped into rings
  • (In other seasons, I’d also add pea pods cut into strips, strips of bell pepper, and shredded cucumber or zucchini)

Toss these together in a bowl. This mix is also a nice kimchee blend.


  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4-1/2c. water
  • 2 Tbl. soy sauce or Bragg’s
  • scant 1/4 c. mild vegetable oil
  • 1-2 Tbl. toasted sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

Whisk dressing together and pour over salad; toss. Let sit at least 1/2 hour before eating. Keeps in the fridge – dressing and all – for at least a week. As the dressing soaks into the cabbage, it resembles slaw more than salad.

Published by Emily

I'm an instructional designer and gardener based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Free moments find me in my garden or the forest, hugging trees and all that jazz.

5 thoughts on “Theoretically local Asian-style cabbage salad

  1. Yum. Thanks for this, Emily. I’m a big fan of cabbage salads. (You know you can DIY your own sprouts, right? LOTS more fresh thataway!)

  2. El: Glad you like it! They make this at a local yuppie grocery and it’s positively addictive so I had to figure out a recipe or go broke.

    re: sprouts: cf: LAAAAAAAAZZZZZZYYYYYY 😉

  3. I have some pea shoots right now, and I have used them in this recipe. I really liked your commentary leading up to the recipe. I try to prepare foods that are seasonal, but when you have a family that craves that tomato or corn, it is hard to do. My son is trying to outwit me. If it is in the farmers market, isn’t seasonal? Well, they truck it in from Mexico.

  4. Frankschulteladbeck – Ooh, pea shoots! You know, I’ve never had them…but I plan to this year. (I’m planting a swathe of field peas to rehabilitate the soil in part of the yard, and apparently they make good pea shoots.)

    Have you tried freezing corn? I’m a total corn snob, and I think it tastes good enough to eat when you freeze your own. Just drop the ears in water for 2-3 minutes, cool in cold water, and cut the kernels off with a knife. I can prep and freeze 15-20 ears of corn in an hour, and that makes 2-3 quart bags of frozen corn. That way you can have your corn and it’s local, too. 🙂

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