Grilled Napa Cabbage with Spicy Avocado Dill Dressing

A simple salad with the delightful high summer flavors of dill and smoke!

When I was growing up, my Aunt Jeanette had a marvelous stand of self-sown dill plants by the edge of her garden. Her dill was happily shared with those in the family making pickles or dilly beans this time of year. I remember how beautiful the dill looked when in bloom, and the fragrance of dill still sends me back to her bountiful garden and her kind and loving heart.

            I planted a few dill starts a couple of years ago, and the plants still sew themselves in various spots in my garden. Technically a biennial, dill sews its seeds quite liberally, so if you want a lot of dill, set it out of your veggie garden so it can do its own thing on the sidelines. Give it plenty of light, and it will reward you.

            The Avocado Dill Dressing is one of our favorites. I found some beautiful purple Napa cabbage at Walker’s Farms in Dummerston this past weekend, and the heads were so beautiful I saw them as a candidate for the charcoal grill, and the dill dressing volunteered to help out.

            You can make the dressing as hot as you like, or use just a little dab of Sriracha, it’s up to you, but the creaminess of the avocado does tamp down the heat a bit. 

            The breadcrumbs add some body to the dish, and the nuts a distinct crunch. Don’t leave out the onion, it adds a special sweetness to the overall deliciousness. 

This makes a lovely light lunch or supper, or add a bit of protein for a more complete meal.

Smoky, crispy, bitter, sweet, spicy, and creamy. Who could ask for anything more?

Grilled Napa Cabbage with Spicy Avocado Dill Dressing

  • 1 large head Napa cabbage
  • 1 sweet onion
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp. vegan or dairy butter
  • Chopped pistachios or other nuts to garnish
  • Spicy Avocado Dill Dressing, below

Prep the vegetables: Slice cabbage into four sections leaving the root end intact. Slice the onions into thick rings. Brush everything with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Make the breadcrumbs: In a food processor, pulse one or two slices of a hearty bread until the desired consistency. In a pinch, you can use panko bread crumbs as a substitute.

Grill over charcoal for just a minute or so on each side, covered, over indirect heat. You want just a bit of char, some smoke, but the cabbage should remain relatively crisp. Remove and tent, and grill the onions, rings intact. This can also be done on a grill pan inside over high heat if the weather does not permit outside cooking. If so, sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the bread crumbs and a pinch of salt. Toss until lightly browned.

Arrange the cabbage on a serving platter and mound a bit of the breadcrumbs on each, along with the chopped nuts. Nestle the onion rings where you like, and give a last light seasoning. Serve with the dressing on the side.

Spicy Avocado Dill dressing

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tbsp. Sriracha sauce, more or less
  • Juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 tbsp. minced dillweed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup water, or so

Place everything in a blender or food processor and mix until creamy and your desired consistency. If too thick, add a bit more water.

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  1. gabychops says:

    As dill is the herb I could not live without, I love this dish!
    Thank you, Dorothy.


    1. Thanks Joanna! I adore dill as well, and use it frequently.

  2. Gail says:

    That salad looks absolutely divine! I want to try the spicy avocado dressing. Sadly, the past 3 times I’ve been to the grocery, the sriracha slot has been empty. 💦

    1. Oh, my husband read me an article yesterday about a shortage because of a drought-induced crop failure. It may be a while, unfortunately. I love not only the heat, but the unique flavor of sriracha. I am rationing my 1/5 of a bottle….

      1. Gail says:

        I saw where someone is making sriracha ketchup. Meh. No way!

      2. Well, with the shortage, that should take care of that!

  3. NativeNM says:

    This looks so good, I especially love the added crunch of bread crumbs and pistachios. I can only imagine all the flavors when you add a bit of dilly avocado!

    1. Thank you Jan! It is a fun salad to make and to eat as well!

  4. TaMara says:

    That looks perfect for our hot weekend. I’ll have to remember to pick up Napa cabbage when I grab corn tomorrow. Yum

    1. Thank you! This was really delicious and satisfying. Love the smoke!

  5. Nancy says:

    This looks amazing. And the added crunch … genius!

    1. Thank you Nancy! Love some texture in a salad!

  6. Beautiful Dorothy! I adore grilled salads, so much flavor! I imagine the fresh dill is quite delicious!

  7. Jovina Coughlin says:

    Love Napa cabbage but I have never made a spicy avocado dressing, Time to give it a try.

  8. Wow, Dorothy, this looks amazing! You always knock it out of the park. I just might have to plant some dill in the backyard and hoard my remaining sriracha sauce! Might try and serve this over the weekend! Hugs, C

    1. Thank you Cheryl! Scatter those seeds!
      I’m rationing my sriracha a dribble at a time, usually that bottle lasts a long time, but not without reinforcements waiting!

  9. Leslie Salmon says:

    This looks fantastic!

    1. Thanks! I’ll make it for you one Friday night!

  10. Ronit says:

    This is such a beautiful and tasty combination. You’re really the queen of veggies! 🙂

  11. Suzassippi says:

    Beautiful! I love dill, and usually grow it in a large pot each year, but I have not grown any herbs this summer. I love when they bloom, and will snip a bloom to bring inside so I can smell the dill. Next time R fires up the grill, I will try this!

    1. I hope you enjoy it my friend!
      Everything dill is delicious in my book!

      1. Suzassippi says:

        Randy used dill in the roasted potato salad he made after he saw some guy’s YouTube video on it. It was really a nice change in the taste of potato salad–potatoes, dill, and the dressing!

  12. Eha says:

    Hello from Australia ! Love both avocadoes and dill but don’t remember putting the two together in a dressing such as yours – cannot wait to try ! Disastrous weather events plus Covid et al have currently led to wild shortages and ghastly prices for most fruits and vegetables but avocadoes are having a record season at giveaway costs . . . we normally rely on back-packing tourists for the picking . . . their absence during our high season is leaving the growers bankrupt . . . . shall try your whole offering – thank you !!!

    1. I’m so sorry! The impacts of Covid, exacerbated by the extreme weather everywhere, have certainly caused many difficulties we could never have dreamed of a few years ago.
      At least you can enjoy the avocados!
      Best of luck.

  13. Carolyn Page says:

    Sriracha sauce is new to me, Dorothy. I’ve been a’googling and can get it at the local supermarket. I’m up for a new flavour! I’ll give it a try.. As EHA above wrote; many of our fruits and veggies are in short supply. However, the avocado is in abundance; I currently have three waiting to go. Okay, here we go!

    1. Enjoy the ride!

  14. CarolCooks2 says:

    Cabbage is one of my favourite vegetables..avocados not so much but with the addition of dill and siracha with crunch it sounds most delicous , Dorothy

    1. Thanks Carol! This is a salad that has something for everyone! Other dressings would be delicious here as well.

  15. Cecilia says:

    This looks so tasty. I love the dressing!! C

    1. Thank you Cecilia! The dressing is also delicious as a spread on a wrap!

  16. sunisanthosh says:

    Sounds really amazing.

    1. Thank you! We were quite pleased with it!

  17. nancyc says:

    What a nice, colorful and summery dish! 🙂

    1. Thanks Nancy! It really tasted like summer!

  18. Americaoncoffee says:

    Just what I need! Every veggie that I love. And so healthy.❤️

    1. Thank you! I designed it just for you!

      1. Americaoncoffee says:

        😍🍽 I am honored!

  19. Christy B says:

    What a nice ode to your Aunt at the start of this post, Dorothy xx

    1. Thanks Christy. Aunt Jeanette was very special to me, and I learned so much from her. I think of her often.

  20. That sounds delicious. I’m not sure any of our stores or local gardens carry Napa cabbage but would love to try it.

    1. Thank you Anne Marie! I don’t always find it in the supermarkets, but the farmers markets and farm stands have the local right now.

  21. terrie gura says:

    I can’t say for sure which of these sounds more awesome to me, the grilled cabbage (LOVE that color) or the avocado dill dressing. Maybe you should make them again and have me over? 😉

    1. You got it! It may take several taste tests!

      1. Terrie says:

        Excellent! I’m very patient… 😁

  22. What an amazing dish! That avocado dill dressing must be heavenly delicious 😋

    1. Thanks Ribana! The dressing is quite versatile, and really tasty!

  23. What an original combination of flavors. Dill instead of the usual cilantro, napa cabbage instead of the usual radicchio. I’ll be cooking on a charcoal grill on the boat both Friday and Saturday, so I may give this a go!

    1. Always necessity of ingredients Stefan! I had tons of dill, so in it went and it was a hit with all!
      The char is the key here, so I hope you enjoy this as much as we doll

  24. This sounds delicious but I have never seen Napa Cabbage. Your avocado dressing is so creamy and I love spicy!

    1. The dressing is really delicious, and you can make it as thin or thick as you like depending on what you are using it with.

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