Young Coconut Salad – Recipe

Young Coconut Salad
Young Coconut Salad

Young coconuts are very different from the mature brown-husked specimens you may be familiar with. The edible interior flesh is tender, thin and custard-like, with the purest coconut flavor imaginable. Seek them out at Asian markets or in health-food stores that cater to raw foodists. Keep young coconuts refrigerated until just before serving.

I’m not generally a big fan of gimmicky bowls made from food, but in this case it makes perfect sense. The coconut flesh is so delicate that it is a pleasure to scrape it out with a spoon.

A simple salad with a squeeze of lime makes the perfect complement. If you don’t have watercress, any other small, flavorful green such as mache or arugula would be equally delicious.

The coconut water inside the shell is a delicacy in it’s own right – you can also find coconut water online. Serve it in a glass on the side of the salad. If you happen to have a seltzer bottle or a whip-cream maker with seltzer cartridges, you can carbonate it for extra fun.

Young Coconut Salad
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
Serves 4

  • 2 young coconuts (not mature coconuts!)
  • 2 limes, halved
  • 1 cup watercress leaves, cleaned and dried
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • flaky sea salt
  1. Open the coconut tops and reserve the coconut water. If you are going to carbonate the coconut water, do so now. Put the seltzer bottle or plain coconut water in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
  2. Cut the coconuts in half lengthwise. Immediately rub the cut shell surface with a lime half to prevent discoloration.
  3. Place a tight, fluffy handful of watercress in each coconut half. Top with a few pomegranate arils. Squeeze in a bit of lime juice and top with a few flakes of sea salt.
  4. Serve immediately, with the coconut water in glasses on the side.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, January 17th, 2011 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Salads, Vegan or Modifiable.

13 Responses to “Young Coconut Salad – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    January 17, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Wow, I’ve never heard of this but it looks and sounds spectacular. I want to try it!

  2. Reply
    January 20, 2011 at 7:49 am #

    I love young coconut! Especially in alcoholic beverage form… The rum seeps into the coconut so nicely and then I scrape the rest out with a spoon.

  3. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    January 20, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    Now yer talkin!

  4. Reply
    January 20, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Truly creative! This looks picture perfect and so refreshing. What a great idea, very exotic and tropical, and totally healthy!

  5. Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    What a wonderful way to serve a salad! It’s so beautiful!! I’ll see if I can find a young coconut and try it. Thanks for the wonderful idea! 🙂

  6. Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Is it very hard to open the coconut?

  7. Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Love the idea, now I have to figure where to get the young coconut!

  8. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    January 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Hey Mikaela – it isn't exactly hard, but it does require some skills and confidence with a cleaver. I don't really feel comfortable recommending a method, as I don't want to be in any way responsible for anyone removing any digits! But if you google "open young coconut" you'll find plenty of advice on how to do it. Best of luck!


  9. Reply
    January 31, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    I have no idea how I missed this but this is a beautiful photo and a great idea. Young coconut is so tender. …and “arils” – I learned a new word. 🙂

  10. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    January 31, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Sure, you know, a "specialized outgrowth from the funiculus" :)!

  11. Reply
    April 14, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    Why not serve this salad with a coconut crush where you mix that coconut water from the tender coconut with sugar, little bit of milk and some flakes of husky coconut flesh (the white part which is sweet). Makes it a perfect cool drink for summers.

  12. Reply
    April 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Where you can buy young coconut? Surely UK is not the easiest place to find them…

    • Reply
      April 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      I have to think there must be lots of Southeast Asian groceries in London, not sure about other parts of the UK. In the US you can also often find them at nicer “health-food” type stores.

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