Tropical Slaw with Pineapple

Ahhh…. the magic of coleslaw. Bright and crunchy, slaw is the perfect dance partner for whatever you’ve got cookin’ on the grill.  

Tropical Slaw on a fork

No BBQ is complete without a bowl of crisp, shredded cabbage, lightly bathed in a perfectly creamy dressing. Munching into that pulled pork sandwich just isn’t the same without its crunchy and acidic partner in crime, COLESLAW.

Tropical Slaw with Pineapple on blue plate

We all know the classic taste… but when I set out on my mission in the test kitchen, my question was how can it be improved? What would make this classic dish zestier. Brighter. BETTER!

Blue plate with tropical slaw on ship anchor table cloth

So on this culinary odyssey, I’m taking slaw to the tropics. ?️ ?

Lime and pineapple to liven up the veggies. Crunchy cashews and sweet flaked coconut make it soar.

Tropical slaw on blue plate with fork

Did I mention it’s MAYO free? Here are the pluses (and minuses) of that little detail…

  • PLUS – Makes it a healthier version of a slaw
  • PLUS – Easier to take on a picnic or serve outside (no worries about mayo in the heat)
  • PLUS – Doesn’t weigh on the veg with a rich, heavy dressing
  • PLUS – It can even be vegan if you need (just sub out the honey for brown sugar)
  • MINUS – None! You won’t miss the mayo. Promise.

Serve this up to friends on the patio, bring it with you to a beach picnic, or just enjoy it on a Tuesday at the kitchen table. No matter how you slice it [the cabbage ?], you are sure to love it.

Tropical Slaw on blue plate in foreground with serving bowl and tongs in background

Can I Make This Ahead?

For sure! Per the recipe, you can assemble the veggies and the dressing and store them separately until ready to serve. If you toss the slaw and dressing together too early, the cabbage will leach it’s liquid, making for a waterlogged salad, so make sure to toss it together within an hour of enjoying.

Also to note, the nuts and coconut may get soggy if tossed into the salad too early, so scatter those on RIGHT before serving.

Tropical slaw with pineapple on plate

Are there Any Substitutions?

  1. You can make this vegan by swapping out the honey for brown sugar.
  2. The basil can easily be swapped for cilantro or mint.
  3. I call for cashews in the recipe, but macadamia nuts work well. Salted peanuts, too!
  4. A sweet Florida onion could be used instead of the green onions. Use one small onion, and slice thinly.


Watch me make my Tropical Slaw with Pineapple:

Make Ahead Healthy Quick & Easy Mid-Week

Tropical Slaw with Pineapple

Prep Time15 mins
Servings: 4


  • ½ large green cabbage cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup snap peas thinly sliced longways
  • 1 red bell pepper cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 generous cup pineapple julienned or sliced thinly
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • 8-10 large basil leaves chopped or torn
  • 1 lime juice and zest, plus extra lime for serving
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 small jalapeños chopped, optional


  • ½ cup toasted flaked coconut not shredded
  • ¼ cup cashews (or macadamia nuts), very coarsely chopped
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  • Place cabbage in a large bowl. Add bell pepper, pineapple, snap peas, basil, green onions and jalapeño, if using.
  • Make the dressing: Zest the lime into a bowl and squeeze in the juice. Add the vinegar, honey, salt and olive oil. Whisk to combine. (Salad can be made ahead to this point, and dressing and cabbage refrigerated in separate bowls.)
  • When ready to serve, toss the cabbage mixture with the dressing. Add black pepper to taste. Sprinkle the coconut flakes and cashews on top and serve.

Tips & Tricks

  • It is important that the coconut and nuts are added immediately before serving. They will become soggy if added too early to the salad.

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