Sunday, May 21, 2017

Curried Pineapple Salad

I found inspiration for this salad at one of our local hipster supper clubs.  After enjoying their version of this salad, which contained curried yogurt, dried pineapple, and roasted red peppers, I decided to tweak the ingredients by freshening them up a bit, increasing the portions of veggies, fruits, and greens, and make the whole thing mason jar-ready.  I have also been obsessed with marinading chicken (and tofu) in a pineapple-sriracha marinade lately, which seemed like a natural addition to the original salad ingredients for a more satisfying lunch.  This salad is as delicious as it is gorgeous - and it's super healthy, to boot!  Enjoy.

YIELD: 4 quart-sized salads

  • 1/4 c plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp water (optional - depends on how thick you like your dressing)
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 c pineapple juice concentrate
  • 2 - 4 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 heaping cup fresh pineapple, finely diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 - 2 heads butter or bibb lettuce, roughly torn
  • 1/2 c cashews, roughly chopped and toasted

  1. Make the creamy curry dressing: combine the yogurt, buttermilk, mayo, lemon juice, water, honey, curry powder, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper in a pint-sized mason jar.  Puree and emulsify the dressing using a handheld stick blender.  (Alternately, puree and emulsify the dressing ingredients using a blender or mini food processor.)
  2. Marinade the chicken: combine the pineapple juice concentrate, sriracha, garlic, and 1/4 tsp salt  in a shallow baking dish.  Add the chicken, turning to coat.  Marinade the chicken thighs in the remaining dressing for 2 hours and up to overnight.  Grill, broil, or roast the chicken.  Cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Pack the salads: divide the dressing evenly between 4 tall quart-sized containers.  Layer the chicken, pineapple, red bell pepper, chives, and lettuce in the jars.  Divide the cashews evenly among four snack-sized zip-top bags or 2-oz jars, one for each salad. Refrigerate until serving.
  4. Enjoy your salad: invert your salad onto a plate or into a bowl.  Top with cashews.
TIME-SAVING TIPS: Stir 1/2 tsp curry powder into your favorite creamy dressing, such as ranch, to substitute for the homemade dressing.  Use rotisserie chicken in place of the marinated, grilled chicken thighs.  Substitute canned pineapple "tidbits" for the diced fresh pineapple.

SPECIAL DIET SWAPS: For a vegetarian salad, substitute 14 oz extra-firm tofu for the chicken.  For a vegan salad, add 1/2 tsp curry powder to your favorite creamy vegan salad dressing.  For a nut-free salad, substitute sunflower seeds for the cashews.  This salad is gluten-free as-is.

Food styling, photography, and infographics by Robert Campbell.

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