Grilled sweet pineapple with fresh crunchy cucumber layered with a spicy peanut dressing takes this Asian salad to the next level of deliciousness. It is perfectly refreshing and so easy to make. A wonderful side dish for BBQs, potlucks and summer parties.
Why You’ll Love our Grilled Pineapple Cucumber Salad
The sweet, salty and spicy flavours and wonderful bright colours of this delicious grilled pineapple cucumber salad really shows that summer is here! It is perfectly simple and doesn’t take long to make.
The idea for this grilled pineapple cucumber salad recipe started with the spicy peanut dressing. I’ve always wanted to create my own version as I have a love affair with the classic Indonesian salad Gado Gado. Amy does a great version with her Tofu Puff salad recipe.
So I decided to make the moreish peanut salad dressing but combine it with different ingredients to create a pineapple cucumber salad recipe.
The result, caramelised grilled pineapple chunks with crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, red onion, fresh herbs and roasted peanuts created a perfect bowl to showcase the spicy peanut dressing.
This Asian-inspired pineapple cucumber salad will work a treat alongside Asian style meats like chicken satays or lemongrass pork chops. I would also pair this salad with charred prawns or fish. The caramel tones of the grilled pineapple will uplift the sweet, delicate flesh of seafood.
For a vegetarian alternative, serve this refreshing grilled pineapple salad alongside a vegetable curry and rice. The coolness of this side salad will help harmonise the richness of the curry.
A delicious and refreshing Asian style salad with everyday ingredients that is great for BBQs, potlucks and gatherings. This grilled pineapple salad recipe can easily be scaled for a dinner party or to feed a crowd.
How to Pick A Good Pineapple
We love pineapple in our house. We eat it fresh, dip in chilli-salt, or we might freeze them as devour as fruit icicles. Pineapples are fantastic in salads with so many different ingredient pairings.
To pick a good pineapple, look at the skin, feel the body, and smell the aroma.
Pineapple skin can range from green to golden-yellow. Generally speaking, the more yellow the skin, the more ripe the pineapple. However, greenish skin doesn’t necessarily mean the pineapple is unripe.
Check that the pineapple does not have any bruises or random dark spots and feels heavy for its size. The body of the pineapple should not feel soft. It is firm but may yield slightly when squeezed.
Finally a good ripe pineapple has a distinct aromatic sweet smell. You can smell the pineapple at the bottom.
Why Do We Grill Pineapple?
Grilling pineapple changes the flavour. The heat caramelises the natural sugars of pineapple and elevates the sweetness.
You can grill pineapple straight on the barbecue or use a griddle pan. The added grill marks on the pineapple also create a wonderful presentation.
Flavour/Texture: A delicious balance of sweet, salty and spicy in one bite. I love how the grilled pineapple is offset by the salty peanut dressing and the refreshing texture of cucumber, tomatoes and aromatic herbs. And you can have as much chilli as you please!
Ease: This pineapple cucumber salad is considered easy. The hardest part is getting the right consistency in the spicy peanut dressing.
Time: Grilling pineapple takes a few more minutes than fresh pineapple, but it really changes the flavour. I would allow 20-25 minutes depending on how quickly you can cut a pineapple.
These are the main ingredients you need for the grilled pineapple cucumber salad recipe:
Pineapple: Use fresh pineapple when you can. If you don’t like cutting pineapple, some grocery stores have them precut for you.
Cucumbers: I normally use Lebanese/Persian cucumbers in salads because they are less seedy and crunchier. Any other cucumbers like garden or continental cucumbers work too.
Cherry tomatoes: Adds a touch of tangy sweetness to the salad against the grilled pineapple and cucumber.
Red chilli: Add as much heat as you like! I love the colour of the red chilli in the salad too.
Mint/coriander: Asian style salads would not be complete with fresh aromatic herbs. Mint and coriander are my go-to herbs as they add refreshing flavours and help lift the overall flavours.
Peanuts: I used roasted peanuts for the grilled pineapple salad for added crunch and extra nutty flavours.
Peanut butter: This is the basis of the spicy peanut salad dressing. I used crunchy peanut butter because I like the texture and bits of peanuts throughout the sauce, but a smooth peanut would work too.
Rice wine vinegar/Lime juice: I have used both lime juice and rice wine vinegar in this spicy peanut salad dressing because I wanted to add not only acidity but also zesty citrus flavours. This will help cut through the richness of peanut butter.
Variations and substitutions
Frozen or canned pineapple: If fresh pineapple is not readily available, you can use frozen pineapple. Thaw the pineapple first and then grill.
Canned pineapple could potentially work, but ones in juice, not syrup. Canned pineapple is sweeter and has a softer texture, so they may not need as much time on the grill before it starts to break apart.
Nut free option: Omit the peanuts from the salad and try one of the other salad dressings that go well with pineapple and cucumber, Tamarind Nam Jim, Fish Sauce Lime Vinaigrette or spice it up with our Sambal Lime Dressing.
Coriander alternative: remove coriander and add a little more mint or try Vietnamese mint like we used in our Rainbow Vermicelli Salad.
Step by step instructions for how to make grilled pineapple cucumber salad:
How to Grill Pineapple
Trim pineapple top and bottom. Then place it standing on the now flat bottom and slice the skin off from top to bottom.
Using a small paring knife, make shallow diagonal cuts (like a diamond) and carefully cut out all the eyes.
Then cut the pineapple into quarter wedges and remove core from pineapple.
Slice pineapple wedges into 1.5-2 cm slices.
Spray grill pan with olive oil and prepare for medium-high heat.
Place pineapple slices on pan and grill for 30-45 seconds on each side or until you get good char marks.
Remove grilled pineapple slices and set aside for assembling.
How to Make the Salad
Cut cucumbers into long strips lengthwise. Then slice on a diagonal 1 cm batons.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
Thinly slice red onion into half moons.
Cut long red chillies in half and deseed. Then slice into thin strips.
Wash coriander and mint leaves well and roughly chop.
How To Make Spicy Peanut Dressing
Mince one garlic clove.
Finely chop chilli to yield ½ teaspoon. Adjust to taste. If you prefer more chilli, add more chilli.
In a food processor, add peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, chopped chilli and water and blitz until a smooth paste.
Adjust consistency to your liking with more water.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, place grilled pineapple, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, red chillis, half the roasted peanuts, coriander and mint together. Mix.
Tumble salad onto a large serving platter. Scatter remaining toasted peanuts on the top.
Drizzle half the spicy peanut dressing over the top and serve.
Keep the remaining spicy peanut dressing in a small bowl on the side so if guests prefer extra dressing, they can add more.
How to Make This Salad Perfectly (Expert Tips)
Lightly charred pineapple: Overcooking pineapple will make it too soft for salad.
Place on grill just long enough that you have char marks and is lightly cooked on the outside. I prefer the pineapple to still have a bite when tossing through the salad.
Don’t overdress the salad: It is best to drizzle only half the spicy peanut dressing when ready to serve. I prefer to have the extra dressing on the side.
The reason is that the extra juices grilled pineapple will release over time. Personally just don’t like the salad to be “too wet”.
Great Mains for This Salad
What to serve with Grilled Pineapple Cucumber Salad with Peanut Dressing? Here are some great recipes:
For a vegan feast, try this vegan tofu fried rice, which would go so well with the tang of the pineapple and the spicy peanut dressing.
Frequently Asked Questions
You will be surprised how many ingredients pair well with pineapple. Never be afraid to experiment with pineapple in salads.
The fresh tropical fruity flavours of pineapple make it a natural pairing with other tropical fruits like mango, banana, papaya and passionfruit. It also has a slight citrus aroma, making pineapple a good companion to prawns, fish, and crab.
You may not realise it, but some alcoholic beverages, such as rum, have a fruity aroma, so they are often paired with pineapple.
So there is a good food pairing reason behind the classic pina colada cocktail other than good looks and a pretty umbrella.
The deep caramel-roasted flavours of grilled pineapple are fantastic with more robust umami flavours such as soy sauce, chocolate, caramel and peanut butter. Therefore the sweet, savoury salad would work a treat.
ou can chop and prep the ingredients ahead of time but I prefer to grill the pineapple closer to the time of serving. The pineapple will release juices so only dress when ready to eat.
I would prefer to consume this salad on the day. After adding peanut dressing, the pineapple does not hold up overnight.
This pineapple cucumber salad was very popular with the kids as they loved dunking the grilled pineapple into extra peanut dressing.
My friends also love the refreshing flavours, especially when served with BBQ meats. The pineapple salad definitely helps balance the richness.
Plus, for many of them, the spicy peanut dressing brings back childhood memories of grilled satays and peanut sauce. I created something new but with classic flavours that we have grown up with.
Ah. Feels nice.
More Asian Salad Recipes:
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Grilled Pineapple Cucumber Salad with Peanut Dressing
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- Peel pineapple with a large sharp knife Then make shallow diagonal cuts and cut out all the eyes.Cut the pineapple into quarter wedges and remove core from pineapple. Slice pineapple wedges into 1.5-2 cm slices. Grill pineapple slices for 30-45 secs until getting a good char.
- Peel cucumber and then cut into long strips lengthwise. Then slice on a diagonal 1 cm batons.
- Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
- Thinly slice red onion into half moons.
- Cut long red chillies in half and deseed. Then slice into thin strips.
- Wash coriander (coriander) and mint leaves well and roughly chop.
- Mince one garlic clove.
- In a food processor, add peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, chopped chilli and water and blitz until a smooth paste.
- Adjust consistency to your liking with more water.
- Finely chop chilli to yield ½ teaspoon.
- In a large mixing bowl, place grilled pineapple, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, red chillies, half the roasted peanuts, coriander (coriander) and mint together.
- Toss salad together.
- Tumble salad onto a large serving platter.
- Scatter remaining toasted peanuts on the top.
- Drizzle spicy peanut dressing over the top and serve.
- Do not overcook the pineapple on the grill. Lightly charred pineapple is sufficient for this salad.
- If fresh pineapple is not readily available, you can use frozen pineapple. Thaw the pineapple first and then grill.
- Canned pineapple could potentially work, but ones in juice, not syrup. Canned pineapple may not need as much time on grill before it starts to break apart.
- For a nut free option, omit the peanuts from the salad and try one of the other salad dressings that go well with pineapple and cucumber, Tamarind Nam Jim, Fish Sauce Lime dressing or spice it up with our Sambal Lime Dressing.
- If you prefer no coriander, remove coriander and add a little more mint or try Vietnamese mint.
- It is best to drizzle only half the spicy peanut dressing when ready to serve. I prefer to have the extra dressing on the side.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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