Gingered Pear and Daikon Slaw

Gingered Pear and Daikon Slaw
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A quick, crisp, juicy salad that stands on its own or makes a perfect side dish for an Asian-themed meal. Signature Asian flavors such as ginger, lemongrass and sesame are used widely in hot dishes, but they're just as enjoyable in salads. This crunchy, juicy slaw combines the mild bite of daikon radish with the honeyed sweetness of Asian pears and dresses them up with all of those signature tastes. It's an irresistible combination on its own or alongside your favorite Asian entree.


  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Asian pears
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. lemongrass, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar or good white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 cup daikon, shredded (about 1 medium or ½ large daikon)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt, or more to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds


  1. Fill a small mixing bowl with cold water, and add the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Peel the Asian pears if you wish; then cut them into julienne strips and drop the strips into the bowl of water and lemon juice. This keeps them from turning brown as you prepare the rest of the salad.
  2. Whisk together the ginger, lemongrass, oils, vinegar, honey and salt in the bottom of a small salad bowl. Drain the Asian pears thoroughly and add them to the bowl, followed by the daikon and green onion. Toss the slaw gently until the daikon and pears are evenly coated with the dressing.
  3. Taste the salad, and add more salt if necessary to balance the flavors.
  4. Serve immediately with Asian-inspired pork, fish or poultry entrees. The salad's crisp juiciness complements light meals, and provides a refreshing contrast to rich dishes with heavy-tasting sauces.


Toasted sesame oil is essential to the flavor of the salad. It's dark brown in color, and you'll find it in small bottles at Asian groceries or the Asian section of your supermarket. It has a bold sesame flavor that holds its own against the ginger and the vinegar.

If you don't have the time or knife skills to julienne the traditional way, you can use a flat mandoline slicer. Some manufacturers also make a device similar to a vegetable peeler that cuts julienne strips quickly and easily.

You can vary this slaw in a number of ways to suit your taste, or the dish you plan to serve it with. Try adding a splash of Sriracha or sambal oelek to the dressing for chili heat, or, for a sweeter version, some orange juice and orange zest.

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