Pineapple Coleslaw

Pineapple Coleslaw
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pineapple coleslaw
Cool and refreshing for summer.

Two weeks ago, we picked up that ginormous head of cabbage in our CSA share. And, it was one of the smaller heads. Still, to us, it meant we had to use up a lot of cabbage. What could use cabbage faster than some sort of coleslaw? Now, as you know, we have two of the best recipes for coleslaw right here: our traditional Coleslaw, and a Light Coleslaw. Today, we’re going with what is, essentially, a Pineapple Coleslaw.

If you’ve studied our coleslaw recipes, you’ll know that this is just a variation on our Light Coleslaw recipe: replace raisins with fresh pineapple, and omit the celery seeds. If you haven’t been studying, the question is, why not? Either way, we consider this a Scratchin’ It original recipe (that’s one perk for writing these up).

Pineapple Coleslaw

Yield: 3 quarts

Pineapple Coleslaw


  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp pickling spice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) diced fresh pineapple

Abbreviated Instructions

Combine sugar, vinegar, pickling spice, and salt in a saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Strain into a large (3-quart) bowl.

Add cabbage, grated carrot, and pineapple. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours so flavors can meld.

Ingredient discussion:

chopping fresh pineapple
Fresh pineapple is the only way to go.

Use the cheap distilled white vinegar. We buy it by the gallon when it’s under $3 and use it for pickling things throughout the year. It lasts and lasts. If possible, use a brightly-colored carrot for contrast. We buy “Carrots of Many Colors” from Trader Joe’s; they don’t cost much more, but they look great! (If Trader Joe ever sends us free carrots for this plug, we’ll let you know). Finally, absolutely, positively, use fresh pineapple. A few years back, we picked up several cans of pineapple, thinking it would be okay, but were sorely disappointed. It was flavorless. We had to give away the second can, as we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat it. It was that bad.

Procedure in detail:

grating carrot
We love the contrast between the green cabbage and the red carrot.

Mise en place. Shred the cabbage. We use a chef’s knife to cut the cabbage into shreds, then we cut through crosswise, if needed, to chop the shreds into 2-inch lengths. Grate the carrot. We always like to peel our carrots — we save the carrot peels for vegetable stock, so they don’t go to waste — before grating. If you don’t, we won’t judge. Finally, chop the pineapple into small pieces. How small? Since they’re taking the place of raisins, we suggest, oh, raisin-sized pieces.

boiling picking spice
We’re getting close to using up our pickling spice, so expect us to show you how to make it yourself soon.

Boil sauce. We don’t know what to call this. When we add mayonnaise (as in our traditional Coleslaw) we call it gravy, but that doesn’t seem to fit here. So, we’ll call it sauce. To make the sauce, simply mix together the sugar, vinegar, pickling spice, and salt in a small saucepan. Set over high heat and bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once dissolved and boiling, remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

straing out pickling spice
No one wants to crunch on these bits in their coleslaw, so strain them out.

Strain sauce. Break out a strainer and pour the sauce through and into a large — about 3- to 4- quart — bowl. If you’ve already put the cabbage, carrots, and pineapple into the bowl, that’ll be fine. If not, that’s okay, too.

Make slaw. Add the cabbage, carrots, and pineapple and toss until everything is well-mixed and coated.

Meld. The secret to coleslaw, we think, is to let the flavors meld. Simply cover the slaw with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3-4 hours. Toss and mix right before serving as the sauce collects in the bottom of the bowl.

We love these lighter coleslaw recipes. They taste fresh and crisp, not heavy, as do many of the versions that use mayonnaise (which we also like; we just don’t have them as often). Making slaw is fast and easy: it’s just chop, simmer, toss, and you’re through. An easy four stars.

Worth the trouble?

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