Charles Phan and The Slanted Door

Seven years ago, we came to San Francisco and spent a day with our friends, walking and talking. It was time for lunch when we were passing by the Ferry Building Marketplace. “You have to try this red cabbage salad!” — said my friend and led us to The Slanted Door. Check the menu — the salad is still there! Though the details of the recipe could’ve changed since 2010, the description includes the same main ingredients: “grapefruit & jicama, red cabbage, pickled carrot, candied pecan.” If you were curious to check the links, you probably guessed what made this salad remarkable. No need to be an expert to recognize its Asian roots. I liked it!

…oh, so easy to love!

The original recipe was easy to find and a story of this salad in my kitchen began. Since then, there were many variations with two main ingredients — red cabbage and grapefruit — intact and other included, excluded, and substituted.

Red Cabbage
Red Cabbage

I found kohlrabi and pear suitable replacements for jicama. I added thinly sliced kumquats to grapefruit segments. I tried different glazed, caramelized, or toasted nuts. I used different Asian style dressings — made from scratch or a mix of store-bought, depending on how lazy I felt or what was handy.

Duck Breast with Red Cabbage Salad
Duck Breast with Red Cabbage Salad

Serving this salad with either cooked or cured and smoked duck breast was always a success. The recipe below is a version I make most often.

Red Cabbage, Grapefruit, and Jicama Salad

Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Eastern Asian, Vietnamese
Keyword: grapefruit, red cabbage, salad
Servings: 4 servings


to toss

  • 3 cups red cabbage thinly shredded
  • 1 cup jicama peeled and julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrot peeled and julienned
  • 1 each grapefruit segments
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1/4 cup honey candied pecans
  • 4 tbsp mint fresh, julienned and whole small leaves

for dressing

  • 1 tbsp Thai peanut sauce spicy
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce


  • Wash red cabbage head and remove tough outer leaves. Shred it. Always shred red cabbage thinly for raw salads. Add salt and pepper, gently toss. No need to massage it. Let it stay for a few minutes, and salt will draw the juices to make cabbage softer.
    Red Cabbage
  • Meanwhile, peel and julienne carots and jicama. You can do it using a knife, or a julienne hand slicer/mandoline (see Recipe Notes below).
  • Peel grapefruit and cut the segments (see Recipe Notes for instructional video).
  • Combine all dressing ingredients. Julienne half of the mint leaves. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, carrot, jicama, half of grapefruit segments, and julienned mint with the dressing.
    Red Cabbage Salad with Grapefruit, Jicama, and Pecans
  • Portion salad on 4 plates and arrange the rest of grapefruit segments, mint leaves, and pecans on top. Enjoy!
    Red Cabbage Salad with Grapefruit, Jicama, and Pecans
Red Cabbage Salad with Grapefruit, Jicama, and Pecans