The first time I tried commercial coconut water (Vita Coco) about a year and a half ago I really didn’t fancy the flavor. The taste actually reminded me of the milk left at the bottom of a cereal bowl. But about two months ago I spotted one young Thai coconut on the shelf in Whole Foods and considering how much everyone still raved about the water and how it is supposedly identical to human blood plasma, I decided to give the real stuff a try.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, young coconuts are literally a hard case to crack. I was expecting to gently pierce a whole with my metal straw and get on sipping away. Well, it took a hefty hammer, a knife, and a spare metal straw just to make a small hole. But I must say that my hacking and hammering was worth it because fresh, raw, unflavored coconut water has hands down become my new beverage of choice. And while there are Coco drills on the market that are meant to to poke a hole with ease, I oddly prefer my primitive hammer and straw method. If I’m away from home or do not happen to have a jumbo hammer on hand, I’ll sometimes grab a bottle of Harmless Harvest since it’s the only truly raw bottled coco water that I have found. It’s also good to know young coconuts are very different from the mature brown coconuts. The water in a young coconut is perfect for drinking and contains virtually no fat. In a mature brown coconut, however, the water hardens into the thick, fatty coconut meat.
Speaking of coconut meat, last week after I posted the above photo on Instagram, someone asked me if I scoop out and use the meat after I finish drinking the water. My response was yes, of course! I use it in smoothies and sometimes blend it with the coconut water to make fresh coconut milk. My answer then got me thinking about what else I could use the meat for. Ironically, that night at the gym I used a “coconut lime” hand soap and thought yum! I’d rather eat this combo than use it as hand soap. And that’s exactly what I did when I returned to my kitchen with a craving for a big salad with a flavorful dressing:
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Servings: One large salad
- 2 cups chopped mixed greens (I used romaine and spinach)
- 1 medium cucumber
- 1 mango
- 1/2 of a zucchini
- 1/2 of a large carrot
- 2 strawberries
- 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup fresh young coconut meat
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup water
1. Prepare the dressing by mixing all of the dressing ingredients in a Vitamix or other high-speed blender and blending until completely smooth.
2. Place the chopped greens in a large mixing bowl and pour half of the dressing over top. Mix together until the greens are fully coated. Place this mixture into a serving bowl.
3. Using a spiralizer, make long cucumber ribbons. If you do not have a spiralizer, use a julienne peeler or simply dice with a knife. Place the cucumber on top of the green mixture in the serving bowl.
4. Peel and cut the mango into long medium-sized strips and layer them on top of the cucumber.
5. Using a julienne peeler, peel the zucchini and the carrot into long, thin pieces. Mix and coat them with the rest of the dressing and place the mixture on top of the mango.
6. Top the salad off with the sliced strawberries and garnish with a few extra basil leaves and/or a lime slice.