Thai Coleslaw

By Michelle Nowicki, Nutritionist

The term “coleslaw” is an Anglicization of the Dutch term “koolsla,” which is short for “koolsalade”, or cabbage salad. This Thai version has a great blend of flavors and textures – tangy, slightly sweet, crispy, and crunchy – and is a beautiful mix of colors. Serve it as a side dish or throw in some leftover chicken for a main salad course.



  • ⅓ cup rice or cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce


  • 4 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 3 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • ½ cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts


Blend dressing ingredients and mix in salad one hour prior to serving.

Cover and chill 1 hour (or stick in freezer for 20 mins). Sprinkle with peanuts prior to serving.

Key Ingredient Benefits

Agave Syrup: This sweetener is made from a cactus plant native to Mexico. Marketed as a natural sweetener, blue agave syrup can be used as any other sweetener. Although agave syrup may have a low glycemic index and a greater sweetening power that can allow you to use smaller quantities, it is important to understand that agave is very similar to sugar. It does not provide significant sources of important nutrients and should be used in small amounts.

Cabbage: Countless studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). Cabbage’s role in cancer prevention is due to its antioxidant richness, anti-inflammatory and glucosinolate properties. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C.

Carrots: These versatile veggies are best known for their rich content of the nutrient, beta carotene. These delicious root vegetables are the source of additional nutrients, including a wide variety of antioxidants. Research has demonstrated that significant cardiovascular benefits and anti-cancer benefits are associated with a regular dietary intake of carrots.

Garlic Chili Sauce: Featuring chili peppers and garlic, this spicy sauce may help to lower cholesterol levels and to promote good blood circulation.

Lime Juice: Lime contains citrus bioflavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are active in improving the function of the immune system. Limes also have anti-microbial properties and are a good source of a number of nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, and folate. The lime’s bioflavonoids may also function as anti-inflammatories to promote lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

Rice Vinegar: Made directly from either black or brown rice, this vinegar is especially rich in flavor and amino acids, which are essential for fighting free radicals and maintaining a healthy immune system. Vinegar may also help prevent heart disease and aid in digestion.

Peanut Butter: Peanuts are a very good source of monounsaturated fats. In addition, peanuts are a good source of niacin, folate, copper, manganese, and protein. As an aside, many people are allergic to this popular nut. When purchasing peanut butter, be sure to read the label. Hydrogenated (trans-) fats and sugar are often added to peanut butter. Choose brands that contain peanuts, salt – and nothing else!

Sesame Oil: This oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids including omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are crucial for growth and development and may help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.

Soy Sauce: Soy sauce contains many different types of antioxidants. In fact, some studies have shown more phytonutrient antioxidant density in soy sauce than red wine. Soy sauce is a good source of the mineral antioxidant manganese. It also contains valuable amounts of antioxidant phenolic acids including vanillic, syringic, coumaric, and ferulic acid. High sodium content is perhaps the most common individual concern about intake of soy sauce, so use it sparingly.

Michelle Nowicki has a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition, completed a dietetic internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and has a graduate degree from Yale University.