Napa cabbage salad with raisins, cashews & capers

Napa cabbage salad

Can cooks concoct comestibles containing cabbage, cucumber, carrots, cashews and capers? Certainly they can! And it will be mother-flippin delicious! And kid-flippin, too as it happens, because my boys both went crazy for this salad. That’s right, my…boys…went…crazy…for…a…salad. (Although, to be honest, after Isaac took his third helping, I noticed he was mining out the cashews, raisins, and “flavor dynamite,” as they call capers.) And, don’t judge me, but I ate the leftovers the next day right out of their little tupperware holding pen, and then I drank the dressing. It’s true, I drank the dressing that was left in the container. Well, I couldn’t just pour it down the drain, when it tasted so good!! And the really shocking thing about this revelation is that Malcolm had wanted to take it for lunch, but I told him it wouldn’t be a good idea because the salad might be mushy by lunchtime. (Which, in fairness, it would have been in his warm little lunchbox.)

I suppose, to be precise, as Thompson and Thomson would say, this is a slaw. But it’s a light slaw, because it involves no mayonnaise. It’s incredibly easy to make, and very versatile. You could add other vegetables that you like, sprouts might be good! Or you could add cilantro leaves or fresh basil. If I’d had fresh basil I would most certainly have added it. This dressing for this salad is a step in my constant journey to find a balance of sweet, spicy, tart and savory flavors.

I’ve realized, recently, that I describe lots of food I make as “bright.” I use the word a lot! I’d better find a new one. In the meantime, here’s Horace Andy using the word in True Love Shines Bright. What a voice!!


1/2 head napa cabbage
1 carrot – peeled and grated
1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
1 large handful of roasted cashews (1/2 a cup, maybe?) chopped
1 smaller handful golden raisins (1/4 cup, maybe?) chopped
2 t capers
fresh basil leaves, if you have them!


2 T olive oil
1 T brown or raw sugar
1 clove garlic – minced
1/2-inch cube ginger, grated or minced
1 t basil
1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 T dijon mustard
juice of half a lime
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 t tamari
lots of ground pepper

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and ginger, cook for a minute or two. Add the sugar. When it starts to melt, take the pan off the heat. At this point the sugar will probably all clump up against the ginger and garlic, and it won’t look very hopeful at all. Fear not! Once you add the mustard, it will melt submissively into a creamy texture. Add everything else, and mix well. Taste for saltiness, pepperiness, hot pepperiness, and liminess, and add more of whatever it needs to taste good to you. Add enough water to make it a pourable consistency (you might not need any – depends on how thick you like it!)


3 thoughts on “Napa cabbage salad with raisins, cashews & capers

  1. Wow, the dressing looks amazing – I’m not usually a fan of dressing as I don’t like vinegar. Balsamic is OK though. Will try!

    • I think it’s a good dressing for people who don’t like dressing. David doesn’t like most vinegar, either, although he loves balsamic, and he doesn’t like creamy dressings. But this one is okay!

  2. Yum, I’m going to make this for dinner tonight. We just got a napa cabbage in our CSA box, so the timing is excellent.

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