Spicy Cabbage Salad With Fish Sauce Dressing Recipe

This Thai green papaya salad has everything...except the green papaya. Shao Z.

Why It Works

  • Cabbage, green apple, and carrot stand in for the green papaya more traditionally used, while still hitting those same crunchy, tart, and sweet notes.
  • Crushing the garlic and red chili with salt under a knife simulates the effect of a mortar and pestle.

Green papaya salad is a Southeast Asian classic, but that green papaya can be hard to find in many parts of the States. Inspired by the flavors of that salad, but using more readily available produce like cabbage, carrot, and green apple, this salad hits all the same notes without sending you on a shopping wild goose chase.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 fresh red bird’s eye chile peppers, seeded and diced (see note)

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lime

  • 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce

  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 head green cabbage, quartered, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces

  • 1 small carrot, julienned

  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored, and thinly sliced

  • 1 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped


  1. Combine garlic and chili one a work surface and sprinkle the 1/4 teaspoon salt on top. Using the side and back of your knife, carefully smash the garlic and chili together to create a paste (see here under "knife-pureeing" for visuals and an explanation of the technique).

  2. Transfer garlic-chili puree to a large mixing bowl and stir in lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Mix well, taste, and add more sugar if needed.

  3. Add cabbage and toss to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.

  4. Mix in carrot, tomatoes, and apple. Transfer to a serving bowl or plate, top with peanuts and serve.


Feel free to use more or less red chili depending on your spice preference. You can also keep the seeds for more heat.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
178 Calories
12g Fat
14g Carbs
7g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 16%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 319mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 21mg 103%
Calcium 48mg 4%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 355mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)