Vivia Charles’s Red Cabbage & Potato Salad

A staple side dish at Tru Jamaica, this salad is perfect for home meals or a picnic.

Tru Jamaica’s inviting dining room is covered with bucolic Ira Watkins murals and redolent with the smells of curry and Scotch bonnets. Fall-apart jerk chicken, zesty curried shrimp with coconut rice and peas, killer beef patties, and to-die-for rum cakes are not to be missed. But the light touches of vegetables throughout the menu showcase Vivia Charles’s culinary philosophy that nothing accompanies curried meats like fresh, simply prepared produce. 

According to Vivia, Jamaican salads rely heavily on hot weather-friendly cabbage rather than the tender lettuces of northern climes. You’ll find cabbage in various preparations dotted throughout the Tru Jamaica menu, but don’t skip the made-to-order red cabbage and potato salad. 

Red Cabbage & Potato Salad

Aniceto Charles, Vivia’s son and co-owner of Tru Jamaica, was introduced to this recipe by his brother-in-law when the family opened their first restaurant, Curry Carry-Out, in Woodbridge, Virginia. Aniceto describes it as a “refreshing twist on potato salad,” which he and Vivia added to Tru Jamaica’s menu after discovering that their clientele wasn’t familiar with red cabbage salad. 

In its restrained simplicity, this salad allows each ingredient to shine and creates a welcome, refreshing counterpoint to a meal of richly spiced meats. It comes together in a snap, keeps well in the fridge, and is easy to veganize if you swap the small amount of mayo for vegan mayo. 

Serves 6.


3–4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small 1.5-inch pieces

½ small head of red cabbage, chopped into small pieces

4 green onions, finely chopped

1/4 tsp salt 

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp ground oregano

1 T mayonnaise


Heat water in a large pot and boil potatoes until tender, then drain. While potatoes cool, prep the remaining ingredients. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, garlic, onions, and red cabbage. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold in the salt, garlic powder, pepper, and oregano. Add the mayonnaise, stir to combine, and serve.


Tru Jamaica is located on Taylor Street in East Waco and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm. It also partners with Waco Food Tours as one of its stops, and the restaurant was recently featured in the City of Waco’s Taste of Waco video series.

Read more about Vivia Charles and Tru Jamaica in this article by Angelica Mazé.