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Put a Hawaiian spin on a classic side dish with this easy pineapple coleslaw made with fresh grilled pineapple and a light, bright Asian vinegar dressing.
What is pineapple coleslaw
Coleslaw is simply a cabbage salad often made with mostly green cabbage and shredded carrots. Sometimes purple or red cabbage is added for a pop of color.
America’s classic coleslaw recipe is made with a mayonnaise-based dressing with apple cider vinegar, but this pineapple coleslaw recipe has a savory tropical twist.
When I appeared on BBQ Brawl on Food Network, my team decided to create a Pa’ina, which is a Hawaiian dinner party.
My teammates Chef Ippy Aiona and Harold Villarosa took on the seafood dishes while I prepared the pork with a side of this slaw. The judges absolutely loved it, and our team won the challenge for the day.
What makes this pineapple slaw different from a traditional coleslaw recipe is that the dressing is made with rice wine vinegar, pineapple juice, ginger and chilis.
These ingredients add brightness and a little heat which balances so well with the sweet grilled pineapple and fresh mango.
- Pineapple: Use a fresh pineapple. The best way to pick a juicy pineapple is to smell the bottom. It should smell sweet. If not, it’s not quite ripe yet.
- Brown Sugar: I use a little dark brown sugar on the pineapple slices to help them caramelize on the grill.
- Green Cabbage: One head of cabbage weighs about 1 pound, which equals 8 cups of shredded cabbage.
- Purple Cabbage: You need 2 cups of purple or red cabbage, which will weigh about 1/4 pound.
- Carrot: 1 large carrot will yield about 1 cup of shredded carrots. Peel it and then shred it with a food processor or cheese grater.
- Mango: For more sweetness, you’ll want 1 fresh mango diced up. Remove the peel and pit.
- Macadamia Nuts: For added crunch at the end, crush and toast some macadamia nuts to sprinkle on top.
Coleslaw Dressing Ingredients
- Rice Vinegar
- Pineapple Juice
- Brown Sugar
- Fresno or Thai Chile Pepper: I love cooking with Fresno peppers. They’re sweet and spicy. Sometimes they are hard to find though, so a red Thai chili pepper or bird’s eye chili is also a good option. If you can’t find that either, go with a jalapeno.
- Fresh Ginger: To prep the ginger, peel off the skin. Then mince it up.
- Fresh Garlic
Substitutions: To save time, you can use pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. It will be a bagged mix called 3-color coleslaw mix.
You can also use canned sliced pineapple. If you use canned pineapple, save the juice to use in the dressing.
Instead of the macadamia nuts, you can also use hazelnuts or cashews.
See the full recipe card below for servings and a full list of ingredients.
How to make pineapple coleslaw
What makes this coleslaw special is the grilled pineapple. Heat your grill to medium-high heat while you prep your ingredients.
- STEP ONE: Remove the top and bottom from the pineapple. Then, remove the rind and slice into 1/2-inch slices. No need to remove the core. We’ll do that later.
- STEP TWO: Sprinkle brown sugar on both sides of the pineapple slices. This will help with caramelization.
- STEP THREE: Grill the pineapples for a few minutes per side. You want them to start to brown and soften. Grilling brings out their natural sweetness.
- STEP FOUR: Cut the slices into quarters and remove and dispose of the center point. This is the core, which is woody and hard to eat. Dice the rest of the slice into pineapple tidbits.
- STEP FIVE: Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- STEP SIX: In a large bowl, mix together the shredded cabbage and carrots, along with the diced mango and grilled sweet pineapples. Toss in the tangy dressing to coat. Season with salt to taste. For the best flavor, let chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
- STEP SEVEN: Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted macadamia nuts.
How to serve grilled pineapple slaw
Serve the tropical coleslaw in a large bowl topped with chopped nuts as a side to a main course or at one of your summer cookouts. For added color and crunch, you can also add sliced green onions.
Store leftover coleslaw in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
After the first day, the natural liquids from the cabbage will start to break down and the slaw will become more liquidy. You can drain off the excess liquid or add more fresh cabbage and carrots to bulk it back up.
GCG Pro Pitmaster Tips
- Use fresh pineapple for beautiful sweetness
- Use 1 part purple cabbage to every 4 parts green cabbage
- Add nuts on top for added crunch
- To make this a full meal, toss in some grilled shrimp or chicken
Frequently Asked Questions
Coleslaw made with shredded cabbage tastes better if it sits for at least an hour in the refrigerator. This allows the natural juices from the cabbage, carrots and fruits to add flavor to the dressing. If the slaw sits overnight, the crispy cabbage will start to get a little soggy.
If you love coconut, follow this pineapple coleslaw recipe and sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded coconut on top just before serving.
Absolutely. Pineapple adds a touch of sweetness and a great texture to coleslaw. It’s even sweeter and more flavorful if you take the time to grill the pineapple. Mango is another fresh fruit that’s great in coleslaw.
According to Merriam-Webster, the proper spelling for a shredded cabbage mixture tossed with dressing is coleslaw. The word originates from the Dutch word koolsla. Kool means cabbage and sla means salad.
More coleslaw recipes
More recipes I prepared on BBQ Brawl
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Hawaiian Grilled Pineapple Coleslaw
- 1 fresh pineapple
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 lb green cabbage, 8 cups shredded
- 1/4 lb red cabbage, 2 cups shredded
- 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
- 6 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp pineapple juice
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 fresno pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup macadamia nuts, crushed and toasted
- Prep Pineapple: Remove the rind from the pineapple. Cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle both sides with brown sugar.
- Grill: Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Add the pineapple slices and grill until charred on both sides.
- Prep Veggies: Dice the pineapple slices, removing the core. Shred the cabbage and carrots. Dice the mango. Add all of the prepped veggies to a large bowl.
- Make Dressing: In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients.
- Chill: Pour the dressing onto the vegetables and toss to coat. For best results, chill for one hour.
- Garnish: Just before serving sprinkle with toasted macadamia nuts.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.