Lime & Peanut Cole Slaw

We’ve been drowning in cabbage this season; with the cool days and plenty of rain, cabbages are growing to enormous size and there is one nearly every week in our CSA. Today I had no less than 5 heads of cabbage in the fridge: one I gave to our neighbors, two I put into another batch of Christina’s soup (this one with lots of fresh cilantro, green beans and broccoli, yum), and with another I made Lime & Peanut Cole Slaw.

As I discuss in Options, I’ve made this recipe, with various modifications, several times. I’ve come back to what is nearly the original: a simple salad of cabbage, tomatoes and hot pepper, dressed with lime juice, olive oil and peanuts. Like so many of my recipes, this one is about 90% local; cabbage from my CSA, hot peppers and tomatoes from my garden, cilantro from the farmer’s market. But what really ties it together is the lime & olive oil dressing, and the peanuts give it a great crunch, not to mention a protein boost, that makes the slaw exceptional. A summer favorite.

Adapted from Lime & Peanut Cole Slaw on 101 Cookbooks, by Heidi Swanson


Lime & Peanut Cole Slaw


  • 6 cups shredded Napa cabbage (loosely packed), about 1/2 of a large cabbage
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (about 2 cups sliced)
  • 1 small (2 inches) jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 small (2 inches) yellow cayenne pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice & zest from one large lime (about 1/4 cup juice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chile powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups unsalted raw peanuts


  1. Wash, spin-dry and chop the cabbage into thin slivers, no longer than about 3 inches (bite-sized pieces) and add to a large bowl, with room for tossing. Add sliced tomatoes, cilantro, peppers and lime zest and toss to mix.
  2. Add olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chile powder and salt to a separate bowl.  Whisk with a fork and taste; adjust amount of spices to taste. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss well.
  3. Toast the peanuts in a large skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are golden brown and fragrant. Add to the cabbage mixture (if I will be storing some of the slaw, I add the peanuts to each individual portion, and keep the remainder separate from the slaw, as they will soften and lose their crunch) and toss well. Serve immediately.

Yields 4 – 6 servings.


  1. I’ve made this recipe 4 or 5 times now. When I made the original version, I thought it was quite good, but missing a tiny bit of oomph. I’ve made several variations: quick-pickling habanero pepper in white wine vinegar; substituting parsley and mint for the cilantro; using a garlicky cilantro pesto in place of fresh cilantro; adding a bit of sugar, black pepper, chile powder and additional salt to the dressing. I’ve circled back around to what is mostly Heidi Swanson’s original recipe (like I should have questioned her judgement in the first place), although I do like the added punch of the lime zest and chile powder in my version.
  2. Freshly squeezed lime juice is key in this recipe, as is the lime zest. I did make it once with bottled lime juice and it was another animal entirely; definitely not nearly as good.  If you taste the cole slaw and think “Hmm, good, but…” add more lime zest and/or juice.  It should be really limey and, when it is, it is excellent.


Two to three days refrigerated; the peanuts will begin to soften, so if you will be storing, add the peanuts to indiviudal portions and store separately from the main salad.  The main salad (without peanuts) can be made several hours in advance and kept at room temperature in order for the lime juice to wilt the cabbage and the flavors to blend.




  1. kim

    Your posts about this soup make me want cabbage (and that is weird)! I never get any in our basket, maybe once it gets cooler down here.

  2. MG

    We’ve made and loved this twice and can hardly wait to make it again.

    Tonight we added a nice dose of chile powder to replace the jalapeno we didn’t have. We also added corn and a bit of ripe avocado on the side.

    We thought we’d have plenty leftover but ate the entire dish ourselves!

  3. localkitchen

    Corn sounds like a great addition – I’ll have to try it, especially now that corn is overflowing at the farmer’s markets. It’s funny how it disappears, isn’t it? Glad you enjoy it!

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