Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: This cabbage salad is crisp and delicious with a blend of red and green cabbage, sweet snap peas, juicy mandarin oranges, and a tangy honey lime dressing. Make it into a main dish by adding chicken, shrimp, or tofu.

How long it takes: 20 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large bowl, zester, sharp knife
Servings: 8 side servings, or 4 main dish servings

Cabbage salad with mandarin oranges and lime.
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Isn’t this a pretty salad? I love all the colors and the great texture. It’s a power hitter when it comes to nutrition, too, making it a winner all around. Oh! I almost neglected to say how delicious it is, too. Good grief! That’s definitely the best part of the salad.

Cabbage is fresh-tasting and crisp. It holds up well whether you mix it with a creamy dressing or a vinaigrette. A cabbage salad goes well with pretty much any type of meal, from roasts to sandwiches.

My infatuation with cabbage is demonstrated by the number of recipes I have on my site that include cabbage. Just recently I posted recipes for sweet and sour German red cabbage and sautéed green cabbage. A couple of my most popular recipes are healthy coleslaw (the dressing is made with yogurt!) and vinegar coleslaw (a no mayonnaise slaw), and the list goes on.

Today’s salad may remind you a bit of my Asian salad. There are some similarities but the two salads really are quite different. I urge you to give that recipe a try soon, too; it’s a crowd-pleaser.

We really love this cabbage salad recipe and I think you will too! The honey lime dressing is tangy with a hint of sweetness and those juicy mandarin oranges are so good! The crunchy chow mein noodles really take it up a notch.

Crisp Cabbage Salad

Nutritious, economical, and available. We really love cabbage salads, aka coleslaw. In our neck of the woods, during the winter, fresh greens are shipped in from who knows where. However, cabbage is called a winter vegetable because it stores well, unlike tender greens, and is available pretty much year round. It’s really good for you, too.

Can be made ahead. You can make the salad an hour or two in advance. It holds up well, unlike many lettuce salads. In fact, most of the ingredients can be prepped a day or two ahead: cabbage, carrots, peas, green onions and cilantro. Put them all together in a big bowl, cover it tightly and refrigerate it. Make the dressing and refrigerate that. When you’re ready to go, simply mix the salad with the dressing, garnish with the chow mein noodles, and serve. So easy!

Versatile. There are many ways you can customize this salad (I’ll give you lots of ideas in the next section). You can also easily turn this cabbage salad into a main dish by adding chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Buy a rotisserie chicken, whip up this salad and Bingo! you have a great dinner.

Colorful salad filling the frame.

Ingredient Notes

  • Shredded Cabbage: A mixture of red and green cabbage is nice visually (and nutritionally) but feel free to use all green cabbage or all red cabbage. An 8 oz. bag of coleslaw mix is an easy substitute.
  • Fresh Sugar Snap Peas: Also known as snap peas, sugar snap peas have an edible pod which is super sweet and crisp. They are similar in appearance to snow peas but the pods are more rounded and not as flat. Snow peas can be substituted if you like.
  • Green Onions (Scallions): Green onions have a milder flavor than regular onions and they add nice color to the salad. If you prefer, substitute thinly sliced red onion or a sweet onion.
  • Carrots: You’ll need one large carrot to shred. Carrots are naturally sweet and very nutritious.
  • Canned Mandarin Oranges: Look for mandarin oranges in light syrup, not heavy syrup. A couple tablespoons of the juice is added to the dressing so be sure to save the juice when you drain the oranges!
  • Fresh Cilantro: If you’re not a fan of cilantro, fresh parsley is a good alternative.
  • Chow Mein Noodles or Crispy Rice Noodles: These crispy fried noodles come in a can. A popular brand is La Choy. The noodles are an optional garnish for the salad.
  • Lime: You’ll need one lime. Be sure to zest the lime before you juice it. Both the juice and the zest go into the dressing.
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil has great flavor and nutritional benefits. If you prefer, other types of oil can be substituted such as avocado, grapeseed, or canola oil.
  • Honey: For just a touch of sweetness, a teaspoon of honey is added. If you want to to make the salad vegan, the honey can be omitted. The mandarin oranges add sweetness, too.
  • Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce: For just a little tingle on your tastebuds, a bit of hot chili sauce is added. Please feel free to amp up the heat, or leave it out entirely. A pinch of red pepper flakes can be substituted.
Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe.

How To Make Cabbage Salad

Begin by prepping the cabbage. Remove the soft outer leaves, rinse the head of cabbage well, and cut it in half through the stem. Make a V-shaped cut to remove the tough core. Place a half, cut side down, on the cutting board, and thinly slice the cabbage vertically. The process is the same for both the green and the red cabbage.

If you have a food processor, you can use that to slice the cabbage instead. The food processor works great to shred the carrot, too. If you’re short on time, buy a bag of coleslaw mix.

Wash and prep the snap peas. They usually have a stringy fiber along the sides which has to be removed. As you snap off the ends, simply pull the string down the sides. I’ve heard that some varieties are stringless but I haven’t seen those yet.

Prep remaining salad ingredients. Prep the carrot, wash the cilantro, and the green onions. Chop and slice them as needed. Drain the can of mandarin oranges but be sure to reserve a couple tablespoons of juice. Zest the lime and juice it.

Make dressing. Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, large measuring cup, or the bottom of the salad bowl.

Dressing mixed in a small bowl.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Unmixed ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Add dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad. If you whisked the dressing right in the salad bowl, you can skip this step.

Dressing being poured onto salad.

Combine. Stir to combine, until everything is well-coated with dressing.

Cabbage salad being mixed with two spoons.

Garnish and serve. When you’re ready to serve the salad, garnish it with the chow mein noodles, if desired.

Colorful salad with chow mein noodles as a garnish.

Serving Suggestions

This cabbage salad goes well with almost any main dish. Try it with soy glazed salmon or orange glazed salmon. Make this salad to go along with marinated grilled salmon. We like it with crockpot teriyaki chicken or orange chicken. It’s perfect with grilled meats, especially chicken made with soy-based Asian chicken marinade or grilled shrimp kabobs with pineapple.


Can you eat cabbage raw?

Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked. It can be steamed, boiled, roasted, fried, or braised. It is super nutritious and has many health benefits (Healthline).
If you suffer from digestive problems, raw cabbage may be hard to digest. Like other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage has a lot of fiber which may make you gassy (Web MD).

Why is cabbage salad called coleslaw?

The word coleslaw comes from the Dutch word koosla, a salad of shredded cabbage that originated in the Netherlands a couple of centuries back.
There are many variations of coleslaw but the primary ingredient is always shredded cabbage.

Recipe Variations

Like most salads, there are so many ways to make it your own. Take a look at the Ingredient Notes (above) for substitution ideas.

Make it a main dish salad. Add cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken, Instant Pot shredded chicken, poached chicken, chicken bites, or oven roasted chicken breast). Sautéed shrimp, crispy air fryer tofu, or baked sesame tofu are great in this salad, too.

Chow mein noodle alternatives. Another way to change up this salad is to replace the chow mein noodles with chopped peanuts, cashews, or toasted sliced or slivered almonds.

Not a fan of cabbage? Try my mandarin orange salad made with crisp greens instead of cabbage.

Salad in a large bowl.

Make-Ahead Ideas

The salad can be made up to 2 hours in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. Add the garnish right before serving.

You can also prep all the vegetables and the dressing up to a day in advance. Store them separately in the refrigerator and toss the salad right before serving.

Storage Tips

The salad will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container although it’s best if you eat it within a couple of days. The cabbage tends to lose some crispness as times goes by. In addition, the red cabbage will bleed color into the salad and make it a bit pink. If you want to avoid this, omit the red cabbage and use all green cabbage.

More Salad Recipes


Cabbage Salad Recipe with Honey Lime Dressing

4.84 from 6 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
This cabbage salad with honey lime dressing is crisp and delicious. Add rotisserie chicken, shrimp, or crispy tofu to make it a main dish.
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  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage (or 2 more cups green cabbage)
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced horizontally (snow peas can be substituted)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (15 oz.) mandarin oranges in light syrup (reserve 2 tablespoons juice for dressing, then drain)
  • 1 cup shredded carrot (about 1 large carrot)
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (leaves and thin stems), roughly chopped
  • ½ cup chow mein noodles for topping, optional


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons reserved mandarin orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (zest the lime first!)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce, more or less to taste
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more if needed


  • In a large bowl, mix together green and red cabbage, snap peas, green onions, mandarin oranges, shredded carrot, and cilantro.
    2 cups shredded green cabbage, 2 cups shredded red cabbage, 1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced horizontally, 2 green onions, thinly sliced, 1 can (15 oz.) mandarin oranges in light syrup, 1 cup shredded carrot, ¼ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (leaves and thin stems), roughly chopped
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine olive oil, mandarin orange juice, lime juice, lime zest, honey, sriracha and salt. Whisk until combined and pour over salad. Toss until well-combined.
    3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons reserved mandarin orange juice, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot chili sauce, more or less to taste, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more if needed
  • Serve immediately, garnished with chow mein noodles. Salad can be refrigerated 1 to 2 hours; garnish right before serving.
    ½ cup chow mein noodles for topping, optional


  • Optional garnishes: Chopped cashews, peanuts, sliced or slivered almonds.
  • Main Dish Salad: Add up to 4 cups shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken, sautéed shrimp, air fryer tofu or baked tofu. Add more dressing if necessary.
  • Recipe retested and revised 10/13/2022.



Serving: 1cup, Calories: 108kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 207mg, Potassium: 254mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 3843IU, Vitamin C: 48mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Zoey says:

    Made this yesterday. Didn’t use the noodles, added more carrots and doubled the dressing. It was a huge hit with my family. Tasty and healthy. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Glad you liked it! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know :)

  2. sarah k @ the pajama chef says:

    fun salad! i looove rotisserie chickens. so easy :)