This Napa Cabbage Salad is perfect for a picnic potluck! It’s made with Napa cabbage, radishes, snow peas, toasted almonds, and a creamy sesame mayo dressing. A real crowd pleaser!
Photography Credit: Elise Bauer
Perfect Picnic Salad
Are you looking for the perfect picnic salad to bring to a potluck?
Look no more, this is it. This napa cabbage picnic salad has been a favorite of my friends and neighbors for years. It’s one of the most requested potluck salads I’ve ever made.
My neighbor Pat first introduced it to me, followed by my friend Chigiy. The original recipe comes from Sunset magazine (July 2004) and serves a crowd.
We’ve scaled the recipe back for a regular family and friends meal, but you can easily scale it up for a large picnic.
More Resilient than Lettuce
Napa cabbage (a kind of Chinese cabbage), while not as sturdy as regular cabbage, is much more resilient than lettuce, so it lends itself well to picnic salads that have to sit around for a while.
This salad has Napa cabbage, radishes, snow peas, toasted slivered almonds, and a sweet sesame ginger mayo dressing.
Much of it can be made ahead, and then assembled when you are ready to serve.
Asian-Inspired Salad Dressing
The mayo-based salad dressing has Asian-inspired seasonings whisked in, like rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger. The result is a light dressing that flavors every bite of this crunchy salad.
Make it a Meal
More Picnic Side Salads to Try!
Updated June 23, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.
Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad Recipe
The dressing recipe makes a little more than you will likely need. So, use about 1/2 of it to start, and add more to taste when you dress the salad.
This salad recipes scales easily for a potluck or picnic.
Recipe adapted from one in Sunset Magazine, July 2004
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 4 cups (1/2 pound) coarsely shredded Napa cabbage
- 6 ounces snow peas, sliced into half-inch slices on the diagonal
- 2/3 cup thinly sliced radishes
- 2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (including greens)
- 2/3 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar (seasoned or unseasoned)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 clove peeled and minced garlic (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Toast the almonds: Toast the almond slivers in a dry nonstick or cast-iron skillet on medium high, stirring frequently until browned. Set aside.
2 Assemble the salad ingredients: Combine cabbage, snow peas, radishes, green onions, cilantro in a large bowl. Can make this step a day or two ahead.
3 Make the dressing: In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, and cayenne until sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise.
4 Toss the salad with dressing: When ready to serve, gently combine the dressing and almonds with the cabbage mixture.
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