Thai Cabbage Salad with Tofu

Thai Restaurant-inspired Cabbage Salad with Crispy Tofu

Excerpted from Plant-Based & Flavor First by Joy Manning

At a Thai restaurant, cabbage salads are often full of fish sauce. Here, I use kombu powder to give the dressing the slightest funky, oceanic flavor. You can skip it! If you see conehead (also known as sweetheart pointed) cabbage at the farmers market, grab it and make this. It’s a sweet tender variety that makes the best salads and slaws.

Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Keyword peanuts, soy sauce, spicy, Thai, Tofu
Yields 2
Author Joy Manning


  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ jalapeno pepper minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon kombu powder optional
  • 10 ounces shredded cabbage you can use a bag of coleslaw mix
  • 8 cherry tomatoes quartered
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ block firm tofu 7 or 8 ounces, cut into 4 slabs and dried well
  • ½ cup loosely packed cilantro
  • ½ cup loosely packed mint
  • ¼ cup roasted salted peanuts chopped


  1. In the bottom of a large salad bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, jalapeno, salt, and kombu powder. Whisk, and then add the cabbage and tomatoes and toss. Let the cabbage sit while you cook your tofu.
  2. Season the tofu slabs with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel skillet over medium-high and heat until shimmering. Add the tofu slabs and cook without moving until light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip, and continue cooking on the second side until light golden brown, another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Just before serving, add the herbs to the cabbage salad and toss. Divide between two serving plates, and top with the tofu and chopped peanuts. Pour any dressing left at the bottom of the bowl over the top.