Oven-Grilled Pineapple & Aloha Spinach Salad

Today’s delicious dish – Oven-Grilled Pineapple  

Grilled Pineapple - out of oven

I love grilled food, but I don’t grill.  I am frightened of gas grills because of the gas and because of the flames, and I am afraid of charcoal grills because of the flames.  In fact, I’m pretty much afraid of fire in any setting.  I ate grilled pineapple at a restaurant years ago, and liked it enough to decide I could make it in the oven, using the broiler.

The broiler does pretty much what a grill does, although there is no smoke involved – unless you burn something!  It doesn’t get as hot as a grill would, so you have to allow more time and keep an eye on the food.  Nonetheless, I am very satisfied with how grilled pineapple comes out by using the broiler.  If you must, you can do these on your grill, or in a grill pan on the stovetop – just be sure the dressed side is down so it can caramelize.

This version of grilled pineapple has a sweet, citrusy, and peppery dressing, which allows the pineapple to be an interesting savory and sweet side dish that can easily take the place of a vegetable in a meal.  I think it is especially good with ribs or chicken.

Grilled Pineapple - pineapple prepWhen preparing the pineapple, it is easiest to first cut off a thick slice from the bottom  and then slice off the top.  Then, starting at the top and following the contour of the fruit, cut off the skin.  Next, cutting from the top again, divide the pineapple into 4 quarters.  The core is at the center of each wedge, so it is easy to lay a wedge flat and whack off the core.  Finally, cut each piece into 3 equal-sized spears.

If you don’t want to use honey, you can substitute agave nectar or maple syrup.  And although fresh lime juice is always best, in this preparation it is fine to use bottled pure lime juice.

Oven-Grilled Pineapple

  • 1 whole fresh pineapple (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 1 small lime (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Move oven rack to highest setting and turn on oven to Broil (High).

Peel, trim, and core pineapple.  Cut into 12 spears.

Whisk together olive oil, honey, lime juice, salt, and pepper to make a dressing.

Place pineapple spears on a baking sheet.  Brush pineapple liberally with dressing.  Broil 7 minutes, or until well browned.  Remove from oven and turn pineapple spears.  Brush with remaining dressing and broil another 7 minutes or until browned.

Makes 6 servings of 2 pineapple spears.

Nutritional information (per serving): 118 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 21 grams sugars, 2 gram fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 194 milligrams sodium

Cost per serving:   68 cents

Preparation time: 30 minutes


What happens next?

 Oven-Grilled Pineapple will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  It can be frozen, although the texture will be somewhat softer after thawing.  I think it is good cold or hot, and alone or with a variety of foods.  Sometimes I make a yummy breakfast or lunch from a couple of leftover grilled pineapple spears with a scoop of cottage cheese.

I love to put leftover grilled pineapple in a salad, so I nearly always put aside four Oven-Grilled Pineapple spears in anticipation of making the next recipe.

Another day’s delicious dish – Aloha Spinach Salad

Aloha Spinach Salad - ready to serve

Some days there is nothing like a salad for a quick and healthy lunch or dinner.  I like salads that have a lot going on – salty and sweet, crunchy and soft, smooth and sharp.  I also love to see bright colors on my plate.  This salad fits the bill in every way.  The baby spinach is a deep green, while the pineapple is a sunny yellow.  The nuts have a smooth richness, while the dressing is spicy and vinegary.  The chow mein noodles are crunchy, while the pineapple is soft.

You may wonder about picking over the baby spinach – after all, the bag says it is triple washed and ready to use.  It is ready to use, but I am especially finicky about stems and any leaves that look dark or wilty, so I go through it very thoroughly and throw away more of it than I probably should.  I know there are many perfectly smart and delightful people who take the spinach directly from the bag and never pick over it.  You are in charge at your house, so do as you choose.

Aloha Spinach Salad - pounding nutsYou need to smash up the macadamia nuts because they are challenging to eat if they are whole in this salad.  Also, they are difficult to cut with a knife because they roll around too much.  I use a meat tenderizing mallet (the smooth end) to shatter the nuts.  Putting them in a zip-top bag keeps all the little pieces contained and makes it easy to sprinkle them over the salad.

If you don’t already have a favorite sesame ginger salad dressing, don’t worry too much about choosing – I can usually find at least 3 brands, and at least one that is lite or fat free.  They are all very similar, varying mostly in price, and in calories per serving.  The lower calorie ones seem to be sharper in flavor, which is good in this salad.  My favorite is Newman’s Own – it has the best ginger flavor (in my opinion).

This salad makes a nice light meal.  If it needs to be a bit more substantial, add dinner rolls or bread.

If you don’t have 4 spears of leftover Oven-Grilled Pineapple handy, you can still make this salad.  Just use canned pineapple tidbits – and be sure to drain very thoroughly.  You need about a cup of pineapple bits, so a 20 ounce can should be just about right after all the liquid is drained away.

Aloha Spinach Salad

  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 servings (4 spears) Oven-Grilled Pineapple
  • 6 ounces sliced ham
  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup crispy chow mein noodles
  • 1/2 cup Asian sesame ginger salad dressing

Pick over baby spinach, discarding any wilted or imperfect leaves and removing stems, according to your preference.  Tear or cut any large pieces in half.  You should have 5-6 cups (lightly packed) spinach. Place in salad serving bowl.

Dice Oven-Grilled Pineapple into small cubes.  You should have about 1 cup diced pineapple.  Add to salad bowl.

Cut ham into short matchstick pieces.  You should have about 1 cup ham pieces.  Add to salad bowl.

Place macadamia nuts in a zip-top bag and smash them into small pieces using a meat pounder, rolling pin, or heavy bottomed pot.  Sprinkle over salad ingredients in salad bowl.

Sprinkle chow mein noodles over salad in salad bowl.

Pour on dressing and toss salad.  Divide between 3 salad plates and serve.

Makes 3 servings.

Nutritional information (per serving): 343 calories, 15.5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 13 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrate, 24 grams sugars, 4 grams fiber, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 1325 milligrams sodium

Cost per serving:   $3.00

Preparation time:  30 minutes

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