Cabbage Slaw in Peanut Sesame Dressing (vegan, gluten free)

The name of this salad is actually called  Ying Yang Salad with Peanut-Sesame Dressing from the Real Food Daily Cookbook. I’m going to provide a link over to 101 Cookbooks for the recipe, since Heidi Swanson reprinted it with permission, which I don’t have.

The reason it’s named such is because it is an homage to the ancient Chinese philosophy that all things in the universe contain elements of both yin and yang. The philosophy of yin and yang lies at the heart of Chinese culture. The first reference to yin and yang come from the classic works of Confucius. Taken literally, yin and yang means the dark side and sunny side of a hill. People commonly think that they are opposing forces, but in fact they are complementary pairs. In Yin and Yang cooking there is always a balance in color, flavors and textures. The challenge is to consume a diet that contains the balance between the two. The crunchiness and coolness of the cabbage and carrots are the perfect counterpoint to the rich and creamy peanut dressing.

Serves 4


4 cups shredded napa cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 (2 1/2-inch) piece daikon radish, peeled and julienned
10 scallions,  julienned
1 cup Peanut-Sesame Dressing (recipe below)
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes chilled ginger tofu (recipe below)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


  1. Toss the cabbage, carrots, radish, and green onions in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat.
  2. Mound the salad into 4 wide, shallow bowls or onto plates.
  3. Arrange the tofu around the salad. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and serve.

Peanut-Sesame Dressing

 Makes  1- 1/4 cups


2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup brown rice vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Blend the peanut butter, vinegar, maple syrup, water, tamari, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the cilantro and blend just until it’s finely chopped The dressing will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.

Gingered Tofu

2 (12-ounce) containers water-packed extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
2/3 cup Gluten Free Soy Sauce
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon canola oil

  1. Drain the tofu and save the containers. Cut into 1-inch wide strips, and pat dry with paper towels. Cover a large baking sheet with more dry paper towels. Place the tofu in a single layer over the towels on the baking sheet and let drain for 2 hours, changing the paper towels after 1 hour.
  2. Whisk the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger in a bowl to blend. Pour half of the marinade into the reserved tofu containers. Return the tofu slices to the containers, and pour the remaining marinade over. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400’F.
  4. Oil a heavy, rimmcd baking sheet with the canola oil. Drain the tofu and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes on each side until golden brown and heated through. Serve warm or cold, or at room temperature. The tofu will keep for 1 day, covered and refrigerated.

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