My friend Henriette is one of the most talented (and humble!) cooks that I know. We worked together at an organic vegetarian restaurant for years, and I learned so much from her, including how to think outside of the box and try new combinations of foods, even if they seemed unusual. One day she was making a cabbage salad and folded in toasted coconut. I looked over at what she was doing and raised an eyebrow… you can’t mess with coleslaw! But it worked. Ever since then, I love tossing a little coconut into my cabbage salads. It adds sweet, nutty notes, and its richness is the perfect balance for the lightness of the cabbage. My version includes quinoa for a meal-like salad, but this is optional. The smooth and creamy Minty Tahini Dressing is ridiculously yummy on much more than this salad alone, so pour it onto everything you make— especially if it seems weird!
- ½ cup / 85g quinoa
- Scant 1 cup / 225ml water
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Minty Tahini Dressing
- ½ cup / 225ml tahini
- ¼ cup / 60ml freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- ¾ cup / 185ml water
- Pinch of sea salt, plus more as needed
- 1 packed cup / 15g fresh mint leaves
- 2 packed cups / 130g shredded red cabbage
- 2 packed cups / 130g shredded green cabbage
- 2 packed cups / 120g shredded kale
- 3 medium carrots, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper (stems, seeds, and ribs removed), julienned
- ¼ cup / 60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup / 100g unsweetened desiccated coconut
- Make the quinoa: Rinse the quinoa well. In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa grains are tender, about 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a blender, combine the tahini, lime juice, olive oil, maple syrup, water, salt, and mint leaves, and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Season with salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cabbages, kale, carrots, and bell pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt together and pour over the vegetables. Toss well and lightly massage the liquid into the kale and cabbage, then let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Preheat a dry skillet over medium heat. When hot, toast the coconut, stirring often, until golden brown and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and set aside.
- Finish the salad: Add the quinoa and coconut to the vegetable bowl. Toss well to combine. When ready to serve, dish out portions and allow guests to pour the dressing on their salads.