Vegan Coconut Ceviche
Ceviche is the party host’s best friend: it’s delicious, impressive, and easily (and wisely) prepared in advance. No fuss, no muss, and you look like an absolute culinary wizard.
by Erin Henderson
Utilizing creamy avocado, crisp cucumber, spicy red pepper, and the tender meat of fresh, young Thai coconuts, this scoopable ceviche has become a crowd favourite at our parties, with fresh bowls disappearing in minutes. Honestly, I even caught someone eating it straight off the serving spoon. Ahem.
Ceviche is an easy assemblage hours before the party begins. Simply chop everything up, mix it in a bowl and allow it to infuse with the tangy lime dressing. A few hours to marinate really spark the flavours, but I wouldn’t do it longer than an hour or two as you don’t want the ingredients to turn soggy or dull the colours. Avocado, thoroughly doused in lime juice and tightly covered should stay bright green, but if you are at all dubious, feel free to add it right before serving.
The hardest past about it is opening the coconut, which admittedly can be intimidating. Once you get the hang of it, however, the satisfying ~ thwack! ~ of cracking the shell is quite the stress reliever. I've included step-by-step instruction in the video below.
Vegan Coconut Ceviche
After spending nearly all of Janaury in Costa Rica, where classic fish ceviche was a weekly, and sometimes daily indulgence, I came back to Toronto and started playing around with a plant-based version.
Fleshy coconut still delivers the firm meaty texture ceviche requires, but nixing the seafood offers an elegant solution to both vegans and those suffering dangerous seafood allergies. Plus there's the bonus of peace of mind when leaving this on the buffet table at backyard summer parties.
Chef level: moderate
For the Ceviche
- 2 young Thai coconuts, water drained, and flesh cut into bite sized chunks
- 1-2 fresh red cayenne peppers, optional, sliced (these are the long red ones with the pointy tip, usually about the width of an index finger)
- 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
- 1 cup diced white onion or shallot
- 2 ripe avocados, cubed
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, optional
- ½ cup corn nuts
- Tortilla chips, for serving
For the Dressing
- ½ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ Tbsp cumin
- ½ Tbsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp honey
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
How to Make It:
- Crack open your coconuts, carefully draining the water. (You can serve it on ice at the party!)
- Scoop out the flesh and cut into bite sized chunks. It will be creamy in colour, but if it is pink or purple, your coconut has turned and you should throw it out.
- Mix the coconut, cayenne pepper, onion or shallot, cucumber, and cilantro in a bowl. You can add the avocado now, or add right before serving.
- In a mixing glass, mix all the ingredients for the dressing, stirring vigorously to combine well.
- Pour dressing over the coconut mixture and stir to combine. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, cube the avocado and stir into the ceviche, if you haven't already done so.
- Top with a sprinkling of corn nuts (do this last minute as they will get soggy sitting in the wet mixture.)
- Serve with a bowl with a serving spoon and a side of tortilla chips.
There are a lot of snappy flavours here, so you’d be forgiven for simply cracking open a cerveza and leaving it at that.
However, to match the zippy acid of the lime juice, the bright vegetale note of the cilantro, avocado and cucumber, plus the tease of heat from the pepper, pair a wine that has been aged in stainless steel – strong oak notes will just overpower this delicate dish.
A classic pairing is a Sauvignon Blanc, try a bottle from Chile or France, to echo the flavours of the ceviche. Or if you want the festive flare of bubbles, go for a fruit-forward, but dry Prosecco.