There is a Season with Molly Parr: A crowd-pleasing summer slaw

  • I’ve made this slaw three times in the past week: for a block party, for a Shabbat dinner, and for a Sunday BBQ. And all three times it’s been a hit. PHOTO BY MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 8/18/2023 1:52:30 PM
Modified: 8/18/2023 1:52:12 PM

“Who brought the cole slaw?” hollered a voice at last week’s neighborhood block party. It was I who had brought the cole slaw, and I sent my neighbor the recipe for it that night.

I’ve made this slaw three times in the past week: for the block party, for a Shabbat dinner, and for a Sunday BBQ. And all three times it’s been a hit.

Our CSA is Mountain View Farm, and many of you are aware that nearly all their crops were wiped out by the devastating rains and flooding last month. However, not all their crops were destroyed, and what they have to offer their shareholders they have in abundance. With piles of cabbage, carrots and green onion on offer, my first thought was some sort of slaw.

But not just any slaw would do. I had had an Asian-style slaw at a different block party a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed it. Could I reproduce it in my own kitchen? I wondered.

With more than 300 cookbooks on my shelves, the first cookbook I grabbed was “The Complete Summer Cookbook” from America’s Test Kitchen, because in my mind, summer equals slaw. The first recipe, which I quickly decided against, involved, and I am not exaggerating, a microwave, a salad spinner and the freezer. While I enjoy the time and thought ATC puts into breaking down a recipe, their recipe just seemed bonkers to me.

I quickly settled on this slaw instead because, even though my husband isn’t a big sesame oil fan, I thought the other ingredients would blend so nicely that it wouldn’t be too in-your-face. Rice vinegar, soy sauce, white wine vinegar and sugar all served as a nice counterpoint to the sesame.

The sesame seeds called for in the recipe were left out because I couldn’t find/didn’t look very hard to find them, although I think they really would elevate the slaw to the next level. I also really like that this slaw is mayo-free, making picnics on hot summer days a little less stressful because there is no worrying about anything spoiling in the sun.

And there you have it. A vegan slaw that is portable, delicious, and makes use of cabbage, green onions and carrots that my CSA is able to offer.

Napa Cabbage Slaw with Carrots and Sesame


1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 Tablespoon rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 small head napa cabbage, sliced thin (I used a regular head of green cabbage)

2 carrots, peeled and grated

4 scallions, sliced thin on bias

1/4 cup sesame seeds toasted (if using)

Bring white wine vinegar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer white wine vinegar to a large bowl and let cool completely, about 10 minutes. Whisk in sesame oil, vegetable oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and salt.

When ready to serve, add cabbage and carrots to dressing and toss to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add scallions and sesame toss to combine. Serve.

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She’s been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. Send questions or comments to


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