After something a little more exciting than plain green leaves to serve as a side salad?

“Gotu kola salad is a sort of Sri Lankan tabbouleh, but the coconut replaces the bulgur wheat, which makes it gluten-free,” explains Sri Lankan food expert, Emily Dobbs. “Gotu kola is a beautiful herb similar to pennywort. Highly nutritious and delicious, it is hard to find a substitute, but I have used a mix of parsley and mint which is just as good, if not better – vibrant, coconutty and fresh,” she adds.


And it couldn’t be simpler to make…

Emily Dobbs’ gotu kola (Issy Croker/PA)
gotu kola salad dish (Issy Croker/PA)
Emily Dobbs’ gotu kola (Issy Croker/PA)
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Nutrition Facts
Sri Lankan gotu kola
Amount Per Serving
Calories 134 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 2mg1%
Sodium 99mg4%
Potassium 289mg8%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 1642IU33%
Vitamin C 39mg47%
Calcium 62mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Sri Lankan gotu kola

A refreshing side salad that’ll add spark to any meal
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Sri Lankan
Servings: 2
Calories: 134kcal
Author: Emily Dobbs


  • 2 bowls


  • 30 g flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 15 g mint finely chopped
  • 50 g freshly grated coconut
  • 1 lime juice
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 2 anchovies finely chopped


  • 1 green chilli deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick thinly sliced
  • handful of pomegranate seeds


  • Put the parsley and mint in a bowl. In another bowl, add the coconut and season with the lime juice and some salt and black pepper. Stir well and add to the herbs along with the onion and tomatoes.
  • Add the anchovies (these are a must if you aren’t vegetarian) and any of the optional ingredients you like. If you are serving with a spicy curry, avoid the green chilli and serve as a refreshing salad, seasoned well with lime juice and salt.


Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1642IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg

Weligama: Recipes From Sri Lanka by Emily Dobbs, photography by Issy Croker, is published by Seven Dials.

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