Vietnamese inspired cabbage and herb salad

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Arriving to our new house after a 10 hour drive back from Queensland, I was in desperate need of something other than a side-road cafe’s semi-warm pies or McDonald’s scrambled eggs and burgers.

I was craving vegetables, herbs and a little of South East Asian zing. The best thing about it is that it can be served both as a side and as a main, and preparation only requires a knife, a chopping surface and a bowl – perfect!

Those not too convinced about salads as such can be persuaded toward it with a little seared, sliced steak , creating a version of what is more commonly known as a Thai beef salad. Barbecue chicken works well too, and it’s also a great side dish to lightly fried or steamed fish.

Serves 4 as a main // halve ingredients for a side

Vietnamese cabbage and herb salad

It may look like a lot of ingredients but the salad is quite easy to make so don’t be discouraged. For a meaty version, add some steak of shredded barbecue chicken.

{Printable recipe}

For the salad:

  • 1/4 small white cabbage, shredded finely
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, torn
  • 1 capsicum, sliced finely
  • 8 snow pea pods, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame or peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • (crushed unsalted or caramel coated peanuts)

For pickled carrots and onion:

  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 Spanish onion, julienned
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice

To prepare the pickled vegetables: place julienned carrot and onion in a bowl with sugar and salt, mix well and refrigerate for 20 minutes. After that time add a squeeze of lemon juice and stand until ready to use.

To prepare the salad: heat a little of the oil in a pan or on a flat barbecue plate until smoking hot. Add capsicum and allow it to soften and char slightly, then add the sliced peas and stir through.

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl, add pickles and mix around gently. Reserve the pickling juices.  In a cup mix fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce, peanut oil and pickling juices to make the dressing. Pour over salad and mix well to cover. (You can top the salad with crushed peanuts or caramel cashews for added texture and flavour).

For a meaty version: cook the steak to your liking and slice thinly. Mix in with the salad. Alternatively, shred some barbecue chicken and do the same.

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10 Responses to Vietnamese inspired cabbage and herb salad

  1. Oh, after all the Christmas eating and so many truffles, this looks so light and fresh! Yummy!

  2. This looks so refreshing and delicious.

  3. rsmacaalay says:

    Sometimes I have the same cravings specially these christmas season where we eat lots of meat like ham, roasts, barbecues. Nice recipe

  4. Perfect weekday lunch/dinner. I bet the version with BBQ chicken is delicious.

  5. Miss Piggy says:

    I like the look of this – seems so simple and tasty.

  6. Mez says:

    Oh my god, viet coleslaw is my FAVOURITE. But, every time I ask Hamish to make it he say “it’s too much trouble I can’t be bothered” huhuhuhuhuhuhuuuuuuuuuuuu I think it’s because he tries to make some fancy pants restaurant version.

    This looks easy, like I could do it!!! Totally going to give it a go!!!


  7. Refreshing and colorful. A good start for a healthy year. Happy 2012! BAM

  8. raquel says:

    This is what I need after eating a lot of food last holiday =)



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