What the heck do you call such a colorful side? Colorful coconut coleslaw? More specifically, hot pink coconut coleslaw? Radical coconut slaw? I don’t know, but coconut slaw doesn’t do it justice. I do know that if you are a coconut fan, you should make this as soon as possible. You’ll be glad you did!
This whatever-you-call-it slaw was roughly inspired by some coconut tostadas I enjoyed at Hola Arepa in Minneapolis this summer. (I say roughly mostly because the original version was much prettier.)
I already went on about how amazing they were, but everything at that restaurant is amazing. I would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner there if I could. I would apprentice there to learn all of their secrets if I could.
Anyway, Hola Arepa topped tostadas with poblano-avocado spread and a “ceviche” made with fresh strips of coconut meat marinated in lime. I don’t know where to buy fresh coconuts, and even if I did, I’m fairly certain I would lose a finger trying to slice it.
I used big, dried, unsweetened coconut flakes instead. Given that I had to stop myself from inhaling this giant bowl of coleslaw in one sitting, I’d say that it worked.
This antioxidant-rich coconut slaw is fantastic as a side as is, so I decided to present it as such. It’s also awesome with guacamole or strips of fresh avocado—try that on a taco or chips or tostada.
It also plays surprising well with black beans, the creamy cashew sour cream in Love Real Food, and with feta. Just keep in mind that the 20-minute marinating time is absolutely necessary. As always, please let me know how you like it!
Hot Pink Coconut Slaw
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side
This hot pink slaw is totally irresistible, thanks to—surprise—coconut! If you like coconut, you’re going to love this nutrient-dense coleslaw/side salad. Recipe yields 6 side servings (about 1 cup each).
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 1 large lime)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small-to-medium red onion, thinly sliced (2 cups)
- 4 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage (about ½ medium cabbage)
- 1 cup thinly sliced radishes (about 5 large) or shredded carrots
- 1 small jalapeño, seeds and membranes removed, chopped
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup large unsweetened coconut flakes or ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- In a large serving bowl, combine the lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, honey and salt. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
- Set aside for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. It will seem like you don’t have nearly enough liquid, but be patient—the produce will release liquid as it marinates.
- Taste, and add additional salt if necessary (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon). This salad is best served between 20 minutes to 3 hours after preparing, but it will keep for up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Recipe inspired by Hola Arepa in Minneapolis.
Make it vegan: Use maple syrup instead of honey.
I love the colors in this salad. Here in Sweden we love cabbage slaws and I know this will be a winner here too. We’ll be introducing this to some of our friends at our next BBQ.
Thanks for the great post.
Thanks, Ron! Hope it’s a big hit.
The color of this slaw is UNREAL
Oh, this will *have* to happen soon, sans cilantro (of course :).
Hope you love it, Jules!
This slaw was so fresh and bright, with a lovely unexpected flavor from the coconut. I packed it for lunch with some black beans and cilantro-lime rice, and can’t wait to dig in!
That sounds like such a perfect combination! Thank you, Roshni!
Loving the colors in this dish! ! Looks so delicious and tasty! Thanks for the share, love checking out your blog for recipe ideas.
Thank you, Bella!
This looks lovely! I adore slaws. A word of caution, though. I once ruined a Heidi Swanson coconut/kale salad by failing to read all of her instructions, and substituting an equal amount of shredded coconut for large flakes. When the salad turned out to be inedible, I reread the directions to find that she recommended greatly reducing the amount of coconut if using shredded – from 1-1/2 cups to 1/2 cup. I am wondering if the same would be true here.
That’s an interesting point! This slaw can take quite a bit more coconut than called for here, so I’m not terribly concerned about it. I just weighed the flakes vs. shredded to compare, and the flakes are about 20% lighter. I added the suggestion to use 1 cup flakes or 3/4 cup shredded. Thank you for sharing!
I love the colours but especially the idea for using up the radishes which always tend to sit at the bottom of the fridge until they are thrown away. I will definitely be trying this recipe as it sounds so fresh and clean Kate.
Thanks, Vikki! I love to add thinly sliced radishes to salads.
This recipe is super yummy. I left the oil out, used 4 dates ground with the lime juice and balsanic vinegar in a vitamix. Yum. The coconut gives it a special flavor.
Thanks, Linda! I’m so glad this slaw worked for you.
I made this yesterday evening and it was excellent. The only change I made was to lightly toast my coconut flakes to intensify their flavour a bit. I will certainly make it again, probably to go with grilled fish.
This is a well-considered recipe because it’s healthy, a nice balance of flavours (the smooth and rich coconut with the sharpness and acidity of the veggies and dressing) and a stunning colour. Plus, there’s some cool science behind it: the super-healthy anthocyanins form the purple cabbage turn brighter pink as they sit in the acidic dressing. Google it – purple cabbage is a fun pH (acid-base) indicator!
Thank you for creating and sharing this, Kate.
Oooh, that is such a fun fact! Thank you for sharing. :)
Kate, the problem with fresh coconuts is getting the shell open and then getting the meat out. Once you accomplish those, slicing it is easy. I’m surprised that you don’t periodically find fresh coconuts in your grocery store – I thought they were widely available. I really like the sound of this slaw, but would probably have to leave out the onion, because I feed only two of us, and onion that sits around cut for any time is something I find rather unpleasant.
Hi Susan! No, I don’t regularly find coconuts in grocery stores here in the Midwest. I might be able to find one at Whole Foods, but I try to keep my recipes as accessible as possible. Hope you give this one a shot!
made it on sat for a dinner party – everyone raved! using leftovers on tacos this week :D
I’m so glad! Thank you, Asako!
Beautiful! A bit heavy on the onion for us, but delicious and so gorgeous on a plate!
Thank you, Rachel! If you’re generally sensitive to the flavor of raw onions, you might consider rinsing them under cold running water and draining well before adding them to recipes. That should help!
Cassie Autumn Tran
Colorful sides are my favorite sides! This looks fabulous. I’m SUCH a sucker for cabbage!
This was delicious! We devoured it all. Our 3-year-old even said “Num, num!”, and she is not usually a huge cabbage fan. (Also, if you ever do another kid-friendly recipe round up, we can send you our faves – we eat C&K many times a week, and our daughter loves the photos of Cookie in the cookbook!)
Thanks, Amanda! I’m so glad this one was a hit. Your daughter sounds so adorable! :)
This is excellent!
I have made this twice now. It is really fantastic. Thank you!
It was delicious. Thank you for continuing to post wonderful recipes!
You are welcome! Thank you, Helen for your review.
Made today for a friend’s surprise tea party. It was delicious!
That is a fun dish for a surprise party! Thanks for sharing, Susan.
Hello! Planning on making this but not a huge fan of radish. Is the flavour profile going to be changed beyond recognition if I omit? Thank you!
You could leave out the radish, but it really does add a lot to the dish. But, if you don’t like radish, it may not matter to your taste. Hope that helps!
Hi ! is there a way to replace the nutritional yeast with something else? Thanks
I’m not sure what you mean? There isn’t nutritional yeast with this recipe.
Yum! Do you think I can use white cabbage? I know it’s not hot pink lol. I am getting a cabbage from my CSA this week. Also, can I use lemon instead of lime?
You can use white cabbage, just won’t be as colorful and flavor might be slightly different. I wouldn’t recommend the lemon based on the other flavors having a spicy flare. But if you do try it, let me know what you think!
Deeeeeelish! Son we’ll have the veggies from the garden (except the coconut, we live in Canada….) so its gonna taste even better!
Yes it will! I love that you have almost all of it in your garden. Thanks so much, Valerie!
I thought it was very good , Love the colors and combo of flavors., the only thing I would do differently would be to chop the cabbage. Thinly sliced was kind of hard to eat. Well at least in front of other people . Haha
Thank you, Elizabeth! Thanks for commenting and providing a review.
Good afternoon, Kate : ) I had been so enthusiastic upon discovering your site! What is in mind today is the turnip (as I made a basic recipe last week for the first time). I just was wondering whether you would consider adding a turnip recipe to your amazing collection. Also, CONGRATULATIONS about your cookbook (where has the time gone since I saw that it was launched…?)! I already plan to buy copies as gifts for some friends (& perhaps I should ask a relative for one for myself as this year’s holiday gift
; ) ).
Thanks very much and enjoy the rest of your weekend (please say “hello” to Cookie for me!),
Thank you for your comment, Andrea!
I’ve made this salad many times for gatherings with friends and family . . . it has also become a staple weeknight dinner side dish. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes with us. I am so grateful for all the delicious flavour combinations you come up with!
Thank you, Sara! I love that it’s a staple for your family. Thank so much for the comment and review.
I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this was! I was a little unsure about the coconut, seemed like such an out of place ingredient but radishes and purple cabbage was in season at my CSA, and I’m a big fan of most of your recipes so I decided to go for it, and it was great! I served it as a topping for vegan potato tacos and it was perfect. I’ll make it again for sure!
Updating to five stars! Polished off the leftovers today and I loved it even more. Truly a delicious and unique salad!
Hooray!! I love that. Thanks for coming back. :)
I’m glad you tried it and liked it, Laura!
Absolutely amazing!! Thank you for sharing.
You’re welcome, Cynthia!
I want to make this for a party but can only find sweetened coconut. Should I cut the maple syrup back. Need help.
I would add based on taste then!
That was a great salad !! I used 1/2 cup shredded coconut plus 1 cup shredded young coconut meat. I’m planning on adding a lot more coconut to the leftovers. My husband and I made a conscious decision to replace most of our meals with salads. Your recipes are the only reason we have been able to stick to that.
I’m glad you loved it, Prabha!
Hi Kate, my coconut slaw was not pink since the cabbage I had in the fridge was a summer white one, and since I subbed (correct spelling?) grated carrots for the radish slices. Anyway, it was really tasty and fresh! I might go up to 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes next time: as you said, it’s not overly coconutty as such, and we do love coconut! Thanks, Kate!
NB …and congrats for your wedding! What a talented and charming bride!
I’m really you you liked it with your substitutions! Thanks for sharing, Nathalie!
My husband loved this and tried to convince me I could serve it with corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day! I served it with tilapia w/ smoky adobo & lime. The slaw marinated while I prepared and cooked the fish.
Thanks for sharing, Eileen!
Wow! This salad tastes amazing! I’ll never eat any other red cabbage slaw…!
I’m glad you loved it, Veronique. Thank you for sharing!
Hi Kate!!! Love this recipe :) Do you think it would pair well with a main course with a balsamic reduction sauce base?
That may be interesting! Let me know if you try it, Jane.
This sounds great and I want to make it tonight. I have everything at home except I only have a white onion, not red. Do you think that will be ok?
That can work as a substitute. Let me know what you think!
Just made this yesterday because I had everything on hand and it sounded so interesting! This slaw was fantastic! A refreshing change of pace. The only change I made was a 1/2 tsp of Hatch Green Chile Powder to the dressing because I like a little zing! I will definitely make this again! I have used many of your recipes, Kate, and look here first for vegetarian recipes. If I want to try something new, you will have a recipe to showcase it! The first recipe I ever tried was your Mason Jar Chickpea and Farro Salad. Every time I make it for a gathering I have to share the recipe. I also sub kale for the spring mix and my husband likes that even better! Thank you Cookie and Kate!
Amazing!! Thank you.
You’re welcome, Stephanie!
I used Lyle’s Golden Syrup (also a vegan option) instead of honey which gave the salad a slightly ‘burnt’ taste. I will definitely make this salad again for my vegan daughters who will visit me shortly! The colours are so vibrant and I just love the textures.
Keep up the good work!
Hot Pink Slaw is a go-to WOW salad at our house. I love to take it to get-togethers. I find that making this salad the day ahead deepens the pink in the salad.
Cabbage is such a great food for people with digestion problems, and this is yummy way to boost consumption.
That’s great! Thank you for sharing, Laura.
Gorgeous and had a good, fresh flavor. The coconut flakes that are available here in Italy seem too thick and hard for this salad, so I may try it a second time if I can get shreds. And no cilantro here, so had to make do with parsley. I might try lime and basil.
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Meredith! I appreciate your review.
So great – thank you!!!
You’re welcome, Jessie!
One guest and I thought this was great though it didn’t seem like many people put it on their plates. :-(
I made this slaw yesterday and it was delicious. However, neither my husband or I could really taste the coconut, despite having followed your directions to a T. I’ll add more before eating it again. And might try toasting the coconut as one of your reviewers suggested.
Love your site! ❤️
Another fantastic and unexpected combination Kate! I always love your salads. This paired so well with my brother’s blackened salmon tacos we almost polished it off. Thank you again for your outstanding creations. They’re always such a hit with my family.