In this simple Thai-inspired chicken and cabbage salad recipe, cabbage is tossed with a simple dressing—fresh lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and Sriracha—and a ton of chopped cilantro, scallions, and vegetables. It comes together in a snap, and tastes light and summery. I’ve added shredded chicken to make it more of a meal, but it could work as a side salad, too, a cooling accompaniment to grilled fish or steak.

A bowl of chicken and cabbage salad with Thai dressing.

Earlier this year I learned a salting-and-rinsing technique for cabbage from The Slanted Door cookbook that forever changed my slaw-making (and eating) experience. A brief salting softened the shreds of cabbage, allowing them to better absorb the dressing. The texture, too, improved, making the cabbage easier to eat.

Over the long weekend, I learned a similar but different technique from Julia Turshen’s Small Victories. Read more about it here or skip straight to the recipe below.

PS: Simplest Cabbage Slaw.

Ingredients for Thai-inspired chicken and cabbage salad.
A board of shredded cabbage.
A bowl of massaged cabbage.
Dressing ingredients for Thai chicken and cabbage salad.
A bowl of julienned carrots.
A large bowl filled with tossed Thai chicken and cabbage Salad.
bowl of thai chicken and cabbage slaw
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bowl of chicken and cabbage Thai salad.

Thai-Inspired Chicken and Cabbage Salad

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Carrots: I like to use a mandoline, because the pieces look so pretty. If you can find fat carrots, this makes mandoline work easier. When you get down to the bottom of the carrot, simply slice it up with a knife or eat the pieces as a snack. Alternatively, shred it with a box grater or the shredder attachment of a food processor.


  • 2 chicken breasts, about 1 lb., optional
  • 1/2 cabbage, Savoy or Napa or whatever you have
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 carrots, thinly sliced, see notes above
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped to yield about 1 cup
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons sugar (4.5 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha + more to taste


  1. If you are using the chicken, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Drop in the chicken breasts. Cover the pot. Remove pot from heat. Let stand 15 minutes. Uncover. Remove breasts. Let cool briefly. Pull/shred into pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the core from the cabbage. Thinly slice the cabbage and place in a large bowl. Pour in the oil. Sprinkle evenly with the salt. Massage the cabbage with your hands. Really squeeze it firmly until it shrinks in size and becomes more saturated in hue.
  3. To the bowl of cabbage, add the peppers, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and red onion. Add the chicken, if using.
  4. Make the dressing: Stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and Sriracha. Pour over the bowl of vegetables. Toss to coat evenly. Taste. Adjust with more salt or Sriracha as needed.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Poach
  • Cuisine: Thai