Grilled sweet pineapple slices with fresh crunchy cucumber layered with a spicy peanut dressing takes this Asian salad to the next level of deliciousness.
Why I Love Grilled Pineapple Cucumber Salad
The idea for this pineapple cucumber salad started with the spicy peanut dressing. I’ve always wanted to create my own version, as I have a love affair for the classic Indonesian salad, gado gado.
I first experienced gado gado as a child at school. I studied the Indonesian language in primary school, and our Indonesian teacher held a party sharing classic Indonesian dishes.
Since then, I was hooked. I don’t eat it often, but every time I do, I fall deeper in love. If you also love gado gado, you have to try Amy’s version, Tofu Puff Salad.
I am not sure if it is nutty peanut dressing or the freshness of the crunchy vegetables mixed together, but I just love the combination.
So I decided to make the moreish peanut dressing but combine with different ingredients to create a new Asian-inspired salad.
I looked at what ingredients would pair well with a peanut dressing. Pineapple definitely came to mind as savoury peanut dressing will help elevate the honey sweetness of grilled pineapple.
Then cucumber is a natural partner to dip into a thick peanut dressing. The delicate crispness of cucumber will help carry the flavours so well.
The end result – grilled pineapple slices and crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, red onion, fresh herbs and roasted peanuts created a perfect bowl to showcase the spicy peanut dressing.
I also want to share how simple it can be to create a delicious salad from everyday ingredients different from the usual green leafy variety.
Thinking outside of the box with a few common ingredients like pineapple, cucumber, tomato and peanut butter, is what we always encourage.
Plus a damn good salad recipe is just a starting point for adding your twists and tweak to your liking.
How to Choose A Good Pineapple
Most of us probably didn’t know that pineapples don’t need to ripen at home. They are harvested when ready to eat as pineapples stop ripening the minute they are cut from the tree.
So how to choose a good pineapple?
Check if the pineapple does not have any bruises or random dark spots and feels heavy for its size. Pineapple’s skin colour can vary between seasons, and it doesn’t represent how ripe it is.
Some pineapple varieties have crowns and some that don’t. This does not mean the ones that don’t have crowns are deficient in any way.
Growers remove the tops of certain varieties so they can re-grow for next season. You can actually grow your own pineapple plant with a cut mature pineapple crown!
What Pairs Well with Pineapple?
The fresh tropical fruity flavours of pineapple makes it a natural pairing to other tropical fruits like mango, banana, papaya and passionfruit. It also has a slight citrus aroma which makes pineapple a good companion to prawns, fish and crab.
You may not realise, 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.
When cooked, the flavour of pineapple changes to more of a sweet caramel aroma. This is particularly elevated when you grill pineapple.
The deep caramel-roasted flavours of grilled pineapple are fantastic with more robust umami flavours such as soy sauce, chocolate, caramel and peanut butter.
Raw pineapple’s acidity can create havoc for peanut butter, but grilled pineapple brings out sweetness and creates magic.
For another great savoury salad with pineapple, try our Charred Pineapple Salad with Papaya. For the sweet tooths, our Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple Salad with Lemon Curd will hit the spot.
Why Is Cucumber So Popular in Salads?
I have a constant supply of cucumber in the fridge. Guess I do make a lot of salads, but also my daughter loves eating cucumber sticks. They are such an easy and healthy snack.
Packed with nutrients and vitamins K, B and C, cucumbers also have a unique set of antioxidants that not only protect cells, it reduces inflammation.
It is also popular to help with weight loss and maintaining hydration as cucumbers are low in calories and high in water content. You can see why salad with cucumber is so popular to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I also love adding cucumbers not only for its health benefits but because it such a versatile ingredient. You can eat cucumbers raw, cooked or pickled, and it is widely available throughout the year.
Depending on how you cut cucumber, it can add crunchy or slightly softer textures.
The high water content in cucumber creates a fresh and delicate taste, making it a perfect vehicle to carry other flavours. It played the ideal role with the spicy peanut dressing in this salad with cucumber.
Best Mains for This Salad
This Asian-inspired pineapple cucumber salad will work a treat alongside Asian style meats like chicken satays or lemongrass pork chops.
The spicy, sweet tang of grilled pineapple slices will help cut through the heavier meats.
For a vegetarian alternative, serve this salad with cucumber alongside a vegetable curry and rice. The coolness of the salad will help harmonise the richness of the curry.
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.
How to Make Grilled Pineapple Cucumber Salad
How to Prepare the Pineapple
With a large knife, cut off the top and bottom parts of the pineapple. Then place it standing on the now flat bottom and cut 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 a good char. Remove grilled pineapple slices and set aside for assembling.
How To Prepare The Rest Of The Salad
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 and mint leaves well and roughly chop.
How to Make Spicy Peanut Dressing
Finely mince garlic to yield 1 teaspoon.
Slice long chilli in half and finely chop to yield 1 teaspoon.
In a food processor, add peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chilli and soy sauce and blitz until a smooth paste.
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 spicy peanut dressing over the top and serve.
You can keep a bowl of spicy peanut dressing on the side so if guests prefer extra dressing, they can add more.
This pineapple cucumber salad was very popular with the kids as they loved dunking the pineapple into peanut dressing. And when my husband said it bought back memories, it made my heart warm.
I created something new but with classic flavours that we have grown up with. Ah. Feels nice.
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Ingredient Pairing Ideas
If you’d like to create your own salad and have an ingredient you’d like to hero, we have some great pairing suggestions to help you work out what flavours go well together.
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Grilled Pineapple Cucumber Salad
- 1 pineapple
- 2 cucumber, Lebanese
- 200 g cherry tomatoes
- ¼ red onion
- 1 red chilli, long
- ½ cup coriander, roughly chopped
- ½ cup mint, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup peanuts, roasted
Click on the toggle below for conversion to US Cooking Units.
- 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 and mint leaves well and roughly chop.
- Finely mince garlic to yield 1 teaspoon.
- Slice long chilli in half and finely chop to yield 1 teaspoon.
- In a food processor, add peanut butter, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic, chilli and soy sauce and blitz until a smooth paste.
- In a large mixing bowl, place grilled pineapple, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, red chillis, half the roasted peanuts, 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.
- You can serve extra peanut dressing on the side if guests prefer extra dressing.
- All ingredients can be prepped ahead of time. Dress salad when ready to serve.
- Adjust the chillis depending on your taste. You can omit the chillies from the peanut dressing if you prefer less heat.
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