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Delicious Caribbean Cole Slaw

caribbean cole slaw

Delicious Caribbean Cole Slaw for July 4th Picnics

What’s a sailing charter trip without a yummy lunch that includes Caribbean Cole Slaw? You guessed it, I’m writing about food aboard Take Me There again. Happy July 4th everyone! And while we are partying on the water, many of you will probably be prepping for picnics and barbecues.  And what is a good picnic lunch without some delicious Caribbean Cole Slaw to go with it? Are any of you wondering why I call it Caribbean Cole Slaw? So glad you asked!

As many of you know, Steve and I traveled through the Bahamas in 2018. Before that trip, I had all these grand ideas of all the fresh fruits and vegetables we would be enjoying while sailing through the Bahamas. NOT!! Little did I know until we started researching and provisioning for that trip, there are only two fruits that are indigenous to the Bahamas – papayas and coconuts. All other fruits and vegetables must be imported. And if it’s imported, it is hard to get and expensive when you find it.

So I learned to prepare dishes with what was available. And there was plenty of papaya and plenty of coconuts. What could I make with papaya and coconut? Well, cabbage was always readily available and relatively inexpensive, so let’s try putting those ingredients together and see what we come up with. The next thing you know, we were eating Caribbean Cole Slaw with our sandwiches for lunch. But this recipe is especially good with your fish tacos. YUM!  Are you ready for the 8 ingredients to make this delicious Caribbean Cole Slaw?  Here goes!

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 large carrots, shaved
  • 2 cups diced papaya (You can also use chopped pineapple, mango, apples or grapes)
  • ½ cup craisins (I use the reduced sugar ones)
  • ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon of shaved Coconut (You can use dried unsweetened coconut in the bag)


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

As with any recipe that I make, I always encourage others to use more or less of any ingredient that makes your mouth sing. If you like more carrots, then add more. If you like a sweeter taste, then add more papaya (or whatever fruit you are using). Of course, what completely sets this Caribbean Cole Slaw apart from other cole slaw recipes is the coconut.

So grab all your ingredients, and let’s start putting together your first batch of Caribbean Cole Slaw.

Let’s start with the dressing:

As far as the dressing goes, I whip the 1/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup brown sugar together with the 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar in a small food processor to ensure that the brown sugar fully blends with the mayo and apple cider vinegar. I like my dressing smooth, not granular. I make the dressing first so it can fully set and the liquid melts the brown sugar to aid in the creaminess. Once blended together, put it in the refrigerator while you mix the other ingredients in your Caribbean Cole Slaw.

Now for the salad:

Tear off the outer layer of leaves on your head of red cabbage and then cut off about 5 slices of the cabbage. Largely chop those slices of red cabbage and put them into your mixing bowl. This will give you about 4 cups (give or take)

caribbean cole slaw red cabbagecaribbean cole slaw chopped cabbage

Shave two large carrots and then chop the shavings so they are also bite-sized. I like to shave my carrots first because I do not want the crunch of hard carrots in my Caribbean Cole Slaw. By shaving first and then dicing, you will get a subtler taste of the carrots and an easier texture.

caribbean cole slaw shaved carrots

Cut your papaya in half and scoop out the seeds. Depending on the size of your papaya, you may only need 1/4 of it. Slice it in order to make it easier to peel it. Once peeled, then you can dice it. Be sure to choose a papaya that is ripe but firm. You do not want your papaya turning into mush when you stir the ingredients together. If I want a sweeter taste, instead of papaya, I use pineapple. I choose apples if I want more crispiness to my Caribbean Cole Slaw. By the way- my go-to choice for the type of apple is Honeycrisp. They are firm and sweet. If I am using apples, I remove the peel and dice them.

caribbean cole slaw diced papaya

Toss in ½ cup of craisins. But feel free to add more if you like the texture and sweetness that craisins add to your salad.

caribbean cole slaw without dressing

Mix ¼ cup shaved coconut with the other dry ingredients. The extra tablespoon of shaved coconut is reserved for after the dressing has been added and used to sprinkle on top. If you like the texture of coconut, you can choose to add more, but I find that ¼ cup plus a tablespoon to sprinkle on top of this Caribbean Cole Slaw is all I need.

So now that the five salad ingredients are in the mixing bowl, it’s time to mix it all together. Then grab your dressing from the refrigerator and pour it over your salad. After you have mixed the dressing with the salad, then you can sprinkle the tablespoon of shaved coconut over the top.

caribbean cole slaw with dressing

VOILA! There is your first batch of Caribbean Cole Slaw. Be sure and drop me a comment and let me know how it turns out.

Remember- if you don’t feel like making it yourself, you can always book a charter aboard Take Me There and ask us to add it to your menu. Just say Take Me There!

We hope all of you have a happy and safe July 4th holiday.


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