Chilled star fruit, butter lettuce, and celery are combined in a gorgeous, juicy fall salad. Slivered wild gotu kola and candied macadamia nuts make sure this sweet and savory beauty is tropical all the way.
🏆 Top tip
Chill star fruit for several hours or overnight before making the salad. Star fruit is extra-crisp, juicy, and refreshing when prepared this way.
Today’s salad is my contribution to making sure the beautiful, tender-crisp fruit doesn’t go wasted. It’s incredibly refreshing because the star fruit is chilled before making the salad. Plus, who can resist a sweet, juicy fruit that slices into golden stars? Now that’s a striking sight for sure.
Be sure to chill all your salad ingredients before slicing. You won't believe how wonderful the snap of cold star fruit is with soft butter lettuce and crunchy macadamia nut topping.
- Star fruit - Choose fully ripened yellow star fruit that is firm.
- Celery - Slice crosswise diagonally.
- Gotu kola - Slivered in a chiffonade.
- Butter lettuce - Tender texture pairs with crisp star fruit.
- Maui onion - Mild and sweet.
🌿 Gotu kola
When creating a recipe, I often look around my garden plot to find the best herb to complement a dish. Maybe you are wondering why I chose gotu kola. Or perhaps you are even wondering what gotu kola is?
Well, gotu kola is an herbaceous perennial native to wetlands in Asia. We are fortunate that it grows wild in the shadier parts of the West Maui mountains. Thus it was easy to find while hiking and to transplant it in my garden.
Interestingly, gotu kola has a reputation as an herb for longevity. It’s also been studied for many other benefits, including cognitive function, stress reduction, and healthy skin. That reputation, along with its pleasantly bitter taste, is good enough for me.
Still, Gotu kola does more than add nutrition to this salad. I like to slice it into a thin chiffonade. Then it contributes both flavor and vibrant color to this dish.
The dressing for the salad is clean and simple. All you will need is buttery macadamia nut oil, fresh lemon, and sea salt. Don't worry if you can't find macadamia nut oil or gotu kola where you live. I've listed substitutions you can make below.
You might also want to know how to make your own candied nuts. Macadamia nuts can burn quickly, so my favorite way to roast them is in a skillet on a stovetop rather than in an oven. That way, you can see the moment they go from pale to golden.
🍯 Make candied macadamia nuts
Double or triple the ingredients here if you want extra nuts for snacking and dessert toppings.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on the stovetop at a medium setting.
- Add one-half teaspoon of macadamia nut oil and one half-cup of plain, raw macadamia nuts.
- Toast while stirring for about 5 minutes or until nuts start turning golden on the edges.
- Add one tablespoon of vegan honey, maple, or agave syrup and continue stirring for another 3-4 minutes. You want most of the sweetener to thicken and coat nuts but not to burn.
- Remove candied nuts to a piece of parchment paper.
- Sprinkle nuts while still hot and sticky with 1/16 teaspoon of sea salt. If you like your nuts sweeter, sprinkle them with raw sugar to taste.
- Nuts will harden as they cool, and extras can be stored at room temperature in a jar with a tight lid.
- Gotu kola - You can use flat-leafed Italian parsley in place of gotu kola in this salad.
- Butter lettuce - Any other soft leaf lettuce will do if it is mild and sweet.
- Maui onion -Other sweet varieties like Walla Walla or Vidalia are your next best option.
- Macadamia nut oil - If you can't find macadamia nut oil, use a neutral-tasting vegetable oil like avocado or sunflower oil.
- Candied macadamia nuts - You can buy honey-roasted macadamia nuts at the store if you don't want to make them from scratch at home.
- Pomegranate kernels - You can leave pomegranate out altogether and still enjoy this star fruit salad just as much.
🥗 More salad recipes
Star Fruit, Celery & Gotu Kola Salad
- 3 cups chilled, sliced star fruit
- 2 cups thinly sliced celery
- 1 cup thinly sliced gotu kola leaves or flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ cup sliced sweet Maui onion
- 1 small head butter lettuce
- ¼ cup pomegranate kernels optional
- 2 TB macadamia nut oil
- 2 TB fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp. sea salt
Candied Macadamia Nuts
- ½ tsp. macadamia nut oil
- ½ cup plain raw macadamia nuts
- 1 TB vegan honey, maple syrup , or agave syrup
- 1/16 tsp. sea salt
- 1 TB raw sugar, optional
- Separate butter lettuce leaves and set them aside to line the salad plates.
- Slice star fruit crosswise into ¼-inch thick pieces. Slice celery and onion thin. Slice gotu kola leaves into thin slivers.
- Place star fruit, celery, onion, and gotu kola in a mixing bowl. Keep everything chilled while making dressing and candied nuts.
- Whisk together macadamia oil, lemon juice, and sea salt.
Candied macadamia nuts
- Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on the stovetop at a medium setting. Add ½ teaspoon of macadamia nut oil and ½ cup of plain, raw macadamia nuts. Toast while stirring for about 5 minutes or until nuts start turning golden on the edges.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vegan honey, maple, or agave syrup and continue stirring for another 3-4 minutes. You want most of the sweetener to thicken and coat nuts but not to burn.
- Remove candied nuts to a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle nuts while still hot and sticky with 1/16 teaspoon of sea salt. If you like your nuts sweeter, sprinkle them with raw sugar to taste. Nuts will harden as they cool.
- Take chilled salad mix from the refrigeraor. Pour dressing over all and toss.
- Lay whole leaves of butter lettuce on 4 salad plates. Spoon star fruit salad onto lettuce-lined plates.
- Top with candied macadamia nuts and pomegranate kernels if desired.