The Covered Dish - Hawaiian Cole Slaw

April 26, 2023

With all the cookouts and family gatherings going on it’s a good time to experiment with a new coleslaw. Usually I’m looking for something that’s refreshing and different. A new twist to a traditional dish that makes you want to rush home and make it!

At first there were traditional beans and Cole slaws. Now days it’s a bit more unique with specialty sauces, grilling, smoking and interesting sides. My personal favorites for bbq sides remains baked beans and cole slaw. This week I prepared all the baked beans for the Monopoly Tournament here in Branson West. We served a great bbq style lunch for all the players. The fundraiser was for OACAC’s Emergency Fund. There were some left so I’ll be sharing baked beans everywhere I go this week!

Today we are encouraged to step away from the traditional and get more ‘outside the box’. But….there are times that I also say: ‘If it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.’

There’s will always be different audiences for different recipes. Which is no different than John likes country and Rachel likes classical. What is important in event planning is knowing when to serve which ‘style’. Again, like planning a musical program, we have to find the right selections for the listener. When a performer and an audience relate it’s because the selections have evoked an emotional connection with the listener. They have an ownership along with the performer. Foods will do the same thing. Today a guest told me how it happened to her in a very poignant fashion. She loved her Cuban mother’s beans and ham. With no recipe written down she was never able to duplicate it. One day while enjoying an order of beans and ham in a restaurant she broke into an outburst of tears. For years she had been searching for someone with Cuban descent who made beans like her mother. This was her special day, the secret ingredient; instant coffee crystals.
I firmly believe that planning a foods event means serious consideration to the styles of each guest. It’s knowing when to do traditional baked beans and cole slaw and when to do Hawaiian Cole Slaw and Southwest Baked Beans. Bringing in too many ‘foo foo’ dishes can be overwhelming. Stick with signature dishes and add only one new dish. I’ve met folks over the years who will do an entire dinner party with 6-7 new recipes. This is a bit scary to say the least. Stay with dishes that make you comfortable and confident. If you feel this way so will the guests.
When someone asks me on the spot for a cole slaw recipe I usually share this one: Chopped tomatoes, sliced radishes and green onion with the cole slaw and then a quality poppy seed dressing. That’s it, this simple format has gotten me lots of positive comments through the years

I’m looking forward to a somewhat ‘normal’ week after some very busy days in the past month. I may even start on a new project or go shopping. Hm…that sounds good. Enjoy the refreshing Cole slaw. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.

Hawaiian Cole Slaw

2 bags (14 ounce each) classic shredded cabbage

OR 2 pounds freshly chopped

2 red gala apples, skins on, diced

1 large can pineapple tidbits, juice drained & reserved

12 small green onions, finely minced

1 1/2 cups cashew halves or macadamia nut slices

3-4 stalks celery, diced, optional


1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground celery seed

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from the burner and allow to cool. Rinse the chopped apple in the pineapple or lemon juice to slow the browning process. Mix all the salad ingredients together and when the dressing is cool pour over the salad and toss. This makes a refreshing summer coleslaw. You could use sunflower seeds instead of nuts. One week I made this coleslaw and forgot about the leftovers until about five days later. Surprise, nothing had browned and it was still edible!