Caribbean-inspired salad with cabbage, orange, avocado and coconut

Tropical flavours shine in this dish!

In the Caribbean, many farmers now grow delicious, drought-resistant cabbage that appears on tables far more often than delicate lettuce. I created this salad to bring together some of my favourite tropical flavours, including curry, oranges, avocados and coconut. It gets an enthusiastic response every time I serve it, thanks to its cheerful good looks and bright taste.


For vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) maple syrup (or to taste)

For salad

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 6 cups (1.4 L) thinly sliced Napa or Savoy cabbage
  • 4 cups (1 L) baby spinach leaves
  • 1 red bell pepper, in thin strips
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 medium-ripe avocados


  • Make the vinaigrette by whisking together lime and orange juices, vinegar, mustard, curry powder, salt, and pepper, then add oil in a stream, whisking until thickened and emulsified.
  • Add maple syrup to taste and set aside until ready to assemble salad.
  • Carefully toast coconut in a frying pan over medium-low heat, stirring often, until it is light brown and fragrant. Remove coconut from pan immediately so it will stop browning and set aside.
  • With a sharp knife, remove peel and white pith from oranges. Cut into quarters and cut the sections crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  • Put cabbage, spinach, cabbage, red pepper and carrots in a large bowl and toss with about 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette.
  • Halve, pit, and peel avocados, then cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Add to the salad and toss very gently.
  • You can plate individual salads and top each with the toasted coconut, or pass the salad, coconut and extra dressing separately at the table.

Serves 8 – 10.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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