Easy, Make-Ahead Desk Lunch: Vietnamese Slaw with Lemongrass Shrimp and Peanuts


Every day this week, we’re featuring a new easy, make-ahead weekday lunch idea that’s so good, you might just forget you’re eating at your desk. Today’s recipe: Southeast Asian-inspired lemongrass shrimp that’s served with a punchy cabbage slaw and peanuts.

Vietnamese Slaw with Lemongrass Shrimp and Peanuts

An easy weeknight meal that draws on vibrant Vietnamese flavors, this fresh-tasting dish is also great served cold or at room temperature the next day. Store the undressed slaw, dressing and cooked shrimp skewers separately in plastic bags or airtight containers in the refrigerator, and simply toss them together for an easy lunch the next day. You will need 6 to 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 1 hour, to cook the shrimp.


Vietnamese Slaw with Lemongrass Shrimp and Peanuts


2 lemongrass stalks

2 Tbs. soy sauce

2 Tbs. canola oil

1 1/2 Tbs. honey

2 tsp. sesame oil

1-inch (2.5-cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 lb. (750 g) medium shrimp

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) fresh lime juice

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) Asian fish sauce

1 1/2 Tbs. firmly packed brown sugar

1 jalapeño chile, seeded and minced (optional)

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded

2 cups (10 oz./315 g) shredded carrots

1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz./39 g) roasted peanuts, chopped


Cut off the fattest, whitest part of the lemongrass stalk (about 3 to 4 inches/7.5 to 10 cm long). Unwrap the outer layer from the stalks and finely chop the smooth and shiny parts. In a large, nonreactive bowl, combine the lemongrass, soy sauce, canola oil, honey, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Peel and devein the shrimp. Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.


In a small bowl, stir together the lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar and jalapeño. In a large salad bowl, toss together the cabbages, carrots, cilantro and mint. Pour in the dressing and toss to coat all the ingredients well. Let stand at room temperature, stirring a few times, while you cook the shrimp.


Remove the shrimp from the refrigerator and thread 3 to 5 shrimp onto each skewer. Warm a grill pan or frying pan over high heat. Coat with nonstick cooking spray and add the shrimp. Cook until bright pink and opaque throughout, about 3 minutes per side.


Mound the slaw on a platter, top with the skewers and sprinkle with the peanuts. Serve immediately. Serves 4.


School Night



Find ways to make hectic suppers into fun, relaxed gatherings that the whole
family can enjoy in our cookbook School Night, by Kate McMillan.

10 comments about “Easy, Make-Ahead Desk Lunch: Vietnamese Slaw with Lemongrass Shrimp and Peanuts

  1. Easy, Make-Ahead Lunch Recipes | Williams Sonoma Taste

  2. Sue Rupp

    The recipe indicates that after grilling, the shrimp should be served immediately. This is intended to be served warm but having it as a quick lunch would result in cold shrimp. I suppose that is OK but not really sure why the recipe was included in this group.

  3. Nicole Larege

    Sorry but all of these make ahead lunches would require that I hire a cook!

  4. Nicole Larege

    Too much prep time! I like the recipes but not the time I would spend making lunches ahead.

  5. Joyce Chang

    I usually make this kind of thing at dinner the previous night, and I take the leftovers to work for lunch.

  6. Sherry Murphy

    I would hope if I shopped for all those fresh ingredients and did all that work it would be a special meal…. not my kind of healthy, make ahead lunch. I am still laughing trying to figure out if this cook lives in the real world….. I am sure it is delicious-

  7. Jean White

    Hey, I made this and it was a snap, but I simply sauteed the shrimp, and used a packaged slaw mix for the salad. Really delicious and quick!

    1. Jean White

      Oh, and both lemongrass and ginger come in those squeezy tubes? Garlic can also be used from a jar. It’s much better than it used to be.

  8. Teena

    Could you please make your Recipe Print option more printer friendly? It took 4 pages to print the Vietnamese slaw recipe because all the comments and a HUGE image printed. THAT would be so helpful!


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