“Japanese” white cabbage salad

I did it. I found the best way to eat raw white cabbage. I’ve tried many recipes for years but was never satisfied enough to say “that’s the one”. Here is the secret: as you might know, raw white cabbage, even cut in very thinly slices, is very crunchy and pretty difficult to digest. In this recipe, inspired by a French legendary “Japanese cabbage salad” that couldn’t be less Japanese, the secret to make it tender without loosing the crunchiness are those 3 ingredients and patience:


For the occasion, I did buy (dark) sesame oil for the first time and I’m very happy I did because I love the nutty flavour that I’ve been adding to stir-fried meat, salmon, salad and even pasta since. If you don’t have it or don’t want to buy it, you can add a neutral oil (not olive oil) or some soy sauce.


Regarding the type of vinegar used, usually rice vinegar is required but I don’t feel like I need it in my life so, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can do a great job here.

Sesame seeds

I do mention in the ingredients that they are optional. True. Though if you buy them you won’t regret it, they can be used in so many ways: cakes, cookies, pies, sprinkled on top of salad, fish… (or see my other recipes with sesame seeds)

Positive: Cabbage is full of vitamins, fiber, calcium, magnesium and many other boring healthy nutritious things your body is asking for.

Negative: Not really a last-minute recipe, as it’s best to prepare it 1 or 2 hours before to serve.


  • 1/4 white cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (or 1 teaspoon soy sauce)
  • optional: sesame seeds

In your pantry:

  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt


Slice cabbage as thin a possible, using a mandoline if you have. Place cabbage in a salad bowl and cover with cold water. Add a tablespoon of salt (I used coarse salt) and mix. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.

Drain all the water after 20 minutes.

In a small cup, add 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Pour mixture over cabbage and mix well. Cover with a plastic film and leave in fridge for at least 3o minutes.

When ready to eat, squeeze carefully all the liquid holding firmly the shredded cabbage in your hands. Repeat process to remove any excess liquid.

Place cabbage back in the salad bowl, add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and stir.

Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

japanese white cabbage saladwhite cabbage salad recipe

My advice: This way, the cabbage itself doesn’t have a strong taste, by adding sesame oil or soy sauce you can decide to give it more character.

You can add cucumber slices and grated carrots too for a change.

Update: Awesomely good with cucumber and feta!


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