Napa Coleslaw with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

It’s grilling season again.  Hurrah!  It was a crazy long winter here, so I am so incredibly happy that spring finally arrived.  Once spring arrives, we start cooking as many dinners as we can on the grill.  A classic side dish to accompany a meal prepared on the grill is coleslaw.

Napa Coleslaw with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but if I am going to eat coleslaw, I want one with an oil and vinegar based dressing; none of that creamy coleslaw for me.

Last week, I shared my strawberry cucumber salad with wheat berries in which I used Napa cabbage.  I really liked the Napa cabbage and I thought it would make fabulous coleslaw.  It does.

Napa cabbage is often referred to as Chinese cabbage.  It has a mild flavour compared to other types of cabbage.  I do cut out the base of the rib though, as that is the part that has the most bitter flavour.

Napa Cabbage Coleslaw

Cutting out the base of the rib removes the most bitter part of the otherwise mild cabbage leaf.

The Napa cabbage is really good.  It needs vinaigrette of the same caliber.  This lemon thyme vinaigrette transforms coleslaw, a fairly common side dish that is often an afterthought, into a lovely salad that deserves some attention.

The lemon thyme vinaigrette is light and refreshing. This week we’ve used it on the family’s regular, every day salad.  It changes the feel of the salad completely compared to the balsamic based vinaigrettes we tend to favour during winter.  If you are looking to change up your salads, give this vinaigrette a try.

The coleslaw will have more depth of flavour if it is allowed to sit for at least 30 minutes (a couple of hours is preferable) before serving.  Any leftovers that are not eaten right away can be safely stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week.

Recipe:  Napa Coleslaw with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette for Napa Coleslaw


  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions (scallions) finely chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • Juice of one large lemon, about ¼ cup
  • 1½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


Place first six ingredients in a small bowl.  Whisk.  Continue whisking as you pour in the olive oil.  Add salt and pepper, to taste.


Napa Cabbage Coleslaw

Napa Coleslaw with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette


  • 4 cups (packed) finely chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1½ cups grated carrots
  • Lemon thyme vinaigrette( from recipe above)


Put cabbage and grated carrots in large bowl.  Add vinaigrette.  Toss vegetables to evenly coat.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.


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