Quick Cabbage Apple Slaw (Korean-Inspired)

Overhead shot of a bowl of Korean-inspired cabbage apple slaw

What’s that? You’re craving kimchi but don’t want to run to the store or wait a week for it to ferment? We’ve got you. This QUICK kimchi-inspired slaw combines cabbage, apple, and carrot in a tangy, optionally spicy dressing.

It’s the perfect companion for all your favorite Korean (and Korean-inspired) dishes, including bibimbap and Korean-style cauliflower wings. Plus, it’s ready in 20 minutes with just 10 ingredients. Let us show you how it’s done!

Rice vinegar, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil, salt, apple, green onion, carrot, ginger, garlic, cabbage, and gochujang

The base of this cabbage apple slaw is (you guessed it)…cabbage! Given that it’s used in classic kimchi, we initially tested this slaw with Napa cabbage but ultimately preferred the more sturdy texture of green or purple cabbage here.

After thinly slicing the cabbage, we massage it well with salt for a subtle, crunchy texture and better digestibility! Apples, carrots, and green onions add color and ensure the perfect sweet + savory balance!

Massaging green cabbage in a bowl

Next comes the ginger sesame dressing! Fresh garlic and ginger add spice and flavor while rice vinegar, maple syrup, and toasted sesame oil create the perfect dressing texture. Gochujang is optional but gives the slaw that classic kimchi taste!

Pouring rice vinegar over grated ginger, garlic, and gochujang

Put it all together, and voilà! You’ve got yourself a fresh, crunchy, bright, and versatile slaw. Bonus? It keeps well for a couple days (if you have any leftovers…)!

Using a spoon to add a garlicky, Korean-inspired dressing to the slaw

We hope you LOVE this slaw! It’s:

Spicy (optionally)
Quick & easy
& SO delicious!

It’s a versatile side that goes well with almost anything spicy + savory, especially other Korean-inspired recipes, including our Easy Bibimbap with Gochujang Sauce and Spicy Korean-Style Cauliflower Wings. And stay tuned for another delicious pairing coming soon (sneak peek below 👀)!

More Simple Cabbage Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Korean-inspired bowl with gochujang tofu, cabbage apple slaw, rice, and lime wedges

Prep Time 20 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

Servings 4 (~1 cup servings)

Course Side

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Korean-Inspired, Vegan

Freezer Friendly No

Does it keep? 1-2 Days


  • 3 cups thinly sliced cabbage (purple or green*)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup grated carrot (1 large carrot yields ~1 cup or 110 g grated)
  • 1 cup grated apple or Asian pear (1/2 large apple or pear yields ~1 cup or 80 g grated)
  • 2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced (1 stalk yields ~1/4 cup or 25 g)


  • 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (if oil-free, omit)
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2-4 tsp gochujang or gochugaru (optional // for a kimchi-like spicy kick // ensure gluten-free as needed)
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced cabbage and salt. Massage with clean hands for 2-3 minutes, until the cabbage has reduced a bit and just begins to release some moisture (it’s okay if it doesn’t, too). Add the grated carrot, grated apple or pear, and green onions. Toss until evenly combined.

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the pressed or grated garlic, grated ginger, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, and gochujang or gochugaru (optional). Whisk to combine, then add to the slaw and toss to combine. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more rice vinegar for brightness, maple syrup for sweetness, gochujang (or gochugaru) for heat, or salt for overall balance.

  • Serve immediately with your favorite Korean mains, or alongside anything spicy/savory that could use a fresh and crunchy side dish. Keeps in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. Not freezer friendly.

*You can use the more traditional napa cabbage here, but we recommend adding 1-2 more cups as it tends to reduce much more than green or red cabbage when massaged.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Serving: 1 cup Calories: 54 Carbohydrates: 10.4 g Protein: 1.2 g Fat: 1.3 g Saturated Fat: 0.2 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 323 mg Potassium: 229 mg Fiber: 2.7 g Sugar: 6 g Vitamin A: 816 IU Vitamin C: 25 mg Calcium: 41 mg Iron: 0.4 mg