Trinidad Coleslaw (recipe)

Trinidad Coleslaw, Trini Coleslaw

How have I had this site for so long (16 years!) and not posted a recipe yet for Trini Coleslaw? I was so sure that I had, but only realised recently that the closest that I had was a recipe for Grated Carrot & Raisin Salad that closely resembled my late aunt’s. Another reason for the omission was that in 2019 I had actually made and shot images to create this post, but apparently didn’t get to it then. The existence of the images clearly had tricked my brain into thinking “Mission Accomplished”! Well, better late than never!

When last have you taken a moment to appreciate a good Coleslaw? It’s so easy to take for granted when it’s good, but there’s precious little room for error (if you’ve had a soggy, limp or graying one you know what I’m talking about!) For me, it’s all about a contrast of colors, textures, and a beautiful balance of salty and sweet.

Now, at this point, you might be asking yourself “What makes Trinidad coleslaw different from regular coleslaw?”. Truthfully, I can’t really tell you, as coleslaw is definitely one of those dishes that is an ‘import’. However, one nuance that I enjoy, that I don’t think is common in all locales, is the addition of raisins. Not in an overpowering way, but just enough to add little pops of sweetness from time to time. As a young child, this encouraged me to ‘eat my vegetables’ as it made it feel a little more like a dessert. Feel free to omit them however if you have strong moral objections (you know who you are!).

If you are like me you have probably tried a million and one techniques to avoid ‘soggy slaw’ (ew!). Last year I got a tip in Jassie Singh’s “The Culinary Heritage of Trinbago” that I have found the most successful to date. The trick? Salt your slaw mixture for about an hour or two before adding the dressing. The salt will draw out excess moisture which can then easily be drained and patted off, before adding the dressing. Yay! No more soggy slaw! (I really need to stop saying that)

Now go and enjoy some Trini pelau with that coleslaw! #ifyouknowyouknow

Want more Caribbean recipes? Why not take a look at some of my favourite Caribbean Cookbooks!

Trinidad Coleslaw

Trinidad Coleslaw

Coleslaw, for me, is all about a contrast of colors, textures and a beautiful balance of salty and sweet. It’s so easy to take for granted when it’s good, but there’s precious little room for error.
Course Salad
Cuisine Trinbagonian
Servings 6 servings


  • 1/2 green cabbage shredded, finely
  • 1 onion medium
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 carrot small
  • 1/4 cup sultanas, golden raisins, or raisins
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise (use vegan if preferred)
  • 1 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt


  • Shred the cabbage
    1/2 green cabbage
  • Grate the onion and carrot (I like to use the food processor for this. Using the julienne blade for the carrot, and the grater side for the onion)
    1 onion, 1/2 carrot
  • Combine cabbage, onion and carrot and salt for 1-2 hours.
  • Squeeze out the excess liquid and pat the ingredients dry with paper towels.
  • Add raisins, mayonnaise, celery salt, lime juice, sugar and salt (start with a 1/4 tsp and only add more if you really need to).
    1/4 tsp celery salt, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 1/4 cup sultanas, golden raisins, or raisins, 3 tbsp mayonnaise (use vegan if preferred), 1 1/2 tsp lime juice, 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • Mix well and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Keyword coleslaw
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