This salad is helping me slowly change my views about peanut butter, which are as follows: peanut butter only belongs on bread and apples. Maybe celery. It does not belong in baked goods, it does not belong in pastas, and it ruins perfectly good chocolate desserts and candy bars.
Phew. It feels good to get that out there, even though I know full well that it’s an incredibly unpopular opinion. Some people may have already left the blog, never to come back again, cursing me as they run to make criss-crosses on their peanut butter cookies.
That said, I do like peanuts themselves, and I’m always up for challenging my viewpoints and my palate when it comes to food. I’ve learned to like many things I had no interest in before. I decided to try this dressing because it only had 1 Tbsp. peanut butter in the whole thing, and I figured that would be enough to get the flavor, but not be totally overwhelming (a reason why I tend to dislike peanut-sauced pastas, etc.). And it was! There was just a hint of peanut butter in the dressing, which complemented the veggies perfectly and the roasted peanuts added a great crunch and just enough peanut flavor.
I made a few changed to this recipe, but nothing major—swapped veg oil for canola, added a bell pepper, and upped the sesame oil a bit. We did add the peanuts; I just forgot to add them before taking the picture. Oops! If you want to reduce the calories in this a bit, you could probably reduce the dressing. I decided to make the full batch of dressing, but did leave a little off off the slaw. It was still dressed enough, and I’m pretty sure I used more than 4 cups of cabbage, though I never measure those kinds of things. I think a little heat in the dressing would be great, too—maybe some crushed red pepper or a little chili garlic sauce.
Mine is also not sliced super thin, so it’s more salad-like than coleslaw-like, but it worked for me!
Adapted from Simply Recipes
1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
6 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
4 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar (if unseasoned, add 1-2 tsp. of sugar)
4 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts
In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, canola oil, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and/or sugar, if necessary.
Toast the peanuts by heating a small skillet over medium high and adding the nuts to the pan. Stir a little with a wooden spoon, or shake the pan, until the peanuts begin to get browned in spots and you can smell the toasting aromas. Remove peanuts from pan to a dish.
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, bell pepper, carrots and peanuts. Toss with the dressing and serve.