Asian Slaw with Ponzu Dressing

When I think of a summer slaw to go with the barbeque, I want something light, tangy, cold and crunchy. Traditional coleslaw just doesn’t do it – its heavy mayonnaise dressing really weighs down the vegetables. Instead of a mayo-based dressing, my Asian slaw is made with a bright, citrusy ponzu sauce – one of the most versatile Asian sauces that I own.

Ponzu is a Japanese “sauce” however I refer to it as both a dressing and sauce. It’s much lighter than soy sauce, with a distinctive tangy lemon/orange flavor combined with a savory note. It’s a perfect balance of salty, sweet and sour! You can use it as a dipping sauce for potstickers, a light sauce for steamed vegetables and combined with some crushed garlic, make the best marinade ever.

I’m working with Mitsukan (pronounced mit-soo-kon) to develop several recipes using popular Japanese sauces and vinegars. This Asian slaw that I’ve made is incredibly simple: thinly sliced cabbage, carrots, snow peas and fennel with a 4-ingredient dressing: ponzu, sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt. 10-minutes to make and you’re done!

How to make Asian Slaw with Ponzu Dressing

Slice the snow peas on the diagonal into thin matchstick-sized pieces.

For carrots, you can purchase matchstick carrots, or slice them yourself — but only do this if you have a very sharp chef’s knife. Skinny, round hard carrots are difficult to slice with a dull knife.

I cut the cabbage into four wedges – we’ll only use 1 wedge. Then, I shred the cabbage as thinly as possible. To do this, use a vegetable peeler and go along the corner. You can also use a box grater with large holes or…..

use a sharp knife to shred by hand, which I prefer.

For the fennel, cut the white bulb from the green top, reserve the green fronds for another recipe (like Bouillabaisse) — you can use them just as you would fresh herbs.  Cut the bulb into quarters and slice one of the quarters as thin as possible using a knife, vegetable peeler or mandoline (save the rest for another recipe).

The dressing ingredients are simple: ponzu, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt.

Add 1/4 cup of ponzu to a bowl.

The sesame oil and seeds are added.

Season with a big pinch of salt.

Whisk with fork.

Pour the  dressing over the snow peas, carrots, cabbage and fennel.

Toss to combine and taste. You can add more ponzu and salt if needed.

Serve immediately.


Asian Slaw with Ponzu Dressing

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time:

If you are not serving immediately, combine the dressing, but do not add the dressing until just before serving.


1/4 head cabbage, shredded
1/4 lb snow peas, cut on the diagonal into matchsticks
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/4 fennel bulb, sliced as thinly as possible
1/3 cup ponzu sauce, Mitsukan brand preferred
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon dark or toasted sesame oil


1) To make the dressing, in a bowl, whisk together the ponzu, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt.
2) In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, snow peas, carrots and fennel. Add half of the dressing, toss to combine and taste. Keep adding additional dressing until you get the desired flavor.

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Comments 34

  1. Lee

    What a great dressing idea! I put Ponzu on all kinds of things. It is our “go-to” marinade base. Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Kim Beaulieu

    Jaden thanks so much for posting this. I have always wanted to eat slaw but have an aversion to mayo. This is such a nice, light version. I have just added ponzu sauce to my market list for next week. Cannot wait to try this.

  3. Maureen

    I made a version of this salad a few weeks ago and it’s so fresh and delicious. It kept for 3 days without dressing in a container with a tight fitting lid. Yummy ! I loved the fennel in it. The dressing changed the flavor of fennel I thought.

  4. Lee

    If you are watching your sodium intake, it might be good to omit the salt. Ponzu is pretty salty already. Just saying.

  5. Skinny Elle

    Loved this! Posted your recipe on my Facebook this evening… Made a great date night with the hubby as we co-sliced-and-diced! Yummy! Thanks!

  6. Sonja

    I love cooking with Ponzu. It is my “secret sauce” in many dishes and marinades. Cuts out the steps of adding salt and lemon, but it does contain GLUTEN (or at least most of the options I’ve seen have gluten). Tamari is gluten-free, however, and though you’ll need to add a little lemon to balance the flavors that are missing it is safe for people with gluten allergies. (just thought I would mention)

  7. Kim in MD

    Now that is one gorgeous slaw! I love the Asian flavors, and I happen to have a brand new bottle of Ponzu in my pantry. I know what I am having as a side dish to my grilled chicken tonight! Thanks, Jaden! 🙂

  8. dorothy

    Love slaw. this will be a great addidtion to recipes..
    a great side for any especially asian..Made your Moms fried rice and it was great…making it again tonight…
    I also need to check out Ponzu don’t have that among my asian condiments…thanks for another great recipe… 🙂

  9. tawney

    Thanks for a slaw recipe for those of us who don’t like mayo – and even those who do (my husband took two helpings) – love the look of the snow peas too.

  10. BreC

    I served this salad with grilled prawns marinated in Ponzu sauce. They were both delicious! Thanks for the great recipes!

  11. Mahealani Flournoy

    I love ponzu!!! It’s a staple in this household, though mainly reserved for shabu shabu night. Just made this dish and paired it with the Spinach Tofu Clear Broth soup. Such an amazing combo of simple soup and citrusy slaw, thank you thank you for the recipies!!!

  12. F.J.S.

    I’m so glad I came across your website! I perfected my egg roll making skills right before I had to make 200 egg rolls for a big function. Also, I found your Asian Slaw recipe which was a great compliment to the egg rolls. Thanks for all the tips and fabulous recipes!

  13. Yuri

    I am Japanese…and this recipe is amazing!! Love it instantly…! I think I am gonna make a big bowl of this for BBQ…with curry…with absolutely everything:) Thank you for this wonderful idea.

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  16. Meg

    I really liked this recipe, the matchstick snow peas are such a cool idea! I added ginger and a little honey to the sauce because why not!

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