Happy Labor Day!
If you’d like to know a little more about the history of Labor Day, check out this link.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous than a grilled burger to enjoy today, I hope you’ll fix my Grilled Pineapple Chicken Salad. I created it for an impromptu cookout with friends yesterday, and it was very well received. We served it with a nice mixture of organic spinach, radicchio, and romaine, and grilled corn on the cob, but the salad would be equally at home stuffed in a pita pocket!
This simple, easy to make salad gets a flavor boost from grilling the pineapple, which brings out its sweetness. In fact, as I was cutting up the grilled slices after they had cooled, I popped the core in my mouth and was amazed at how the grilling had softened, sweetened, and made perfectly edible a part of the pineapple that I’ve always discarded. If you don’t have a fresh pineapple, you can always use a can of unsweetened pineapple chunks (well-drained). The taste won’t be quite the same, but it should still be quite good.
For my chicken analogue, I chose Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips Southwest Style. I like the hint of chipotle-lime flavor, and have used this product before in my Caribbean Grilled Chicken, Corn, and Mango Salad that many of you have enjoyed. This time, I’ve shredded the Beyond Meat strips to make it look more like shredded rotisserie chicken.
Feel free to substitute flat leaf parsley for the cilantro if you have cilantro haters in your household. And, please, don’t mix in the grilled pineapple until you’re ready to serve, because you want all the flavors to stay distinct. (In fact, if you decide to use “real” chicken in this dish rather than a chicken analogue, the acid in the pineapple will continue to “cook” the chicken – yet another reason why you don’t want to add it too early!)
As my Labor Day gift to you, here’s the recipe! I hope that you like it just as much as our friends and family did!
- 12 oz. package Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips Southwest Style, shredded
- 2 cups chopped red bell pepper (1 large pepper)
- 1 to 1½ cups diced celery (1-2 stalks depending on size)
- ¼ thinly sliced scallions
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or parsley, if you have cilantro haters in your family)
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large fresh pineapple, top and bottom cut off, and outer she'll cut away, and sliced (you'll get about 6-7 slices)
- ¼-1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- Shred the chicken strips using a box grater and set aside in a covered bowl in the fridge while you do the rest of the prep work.
- Mix red pepper, celery, and scallions together.
- Get the pineapple slices going on the grill. Grill 5-6 minutes per side over a low grill. Watch carefully. Remove to a plate to cool when done.
- Mix garlic, ginger, lime juice, sea salt, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and cilantro (or parsley) in the blender. Pulse to mix, and then drizzle in olive oil in a thin stream with the motor running on low to create an emulsion.
- Mix together everything except the pineapple and the pecans, and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.
- Just before serving, cube the pineapple (discarding or eating the core which tenderizes when you grill it and is delicious), and add it to the salad along with the optional chopped pecans. Don't add the pineapple too early. You want the flavors to stay distinct!