Grilled Pineapple & Red Pepper Couscous Salad

IMG_3505 copy 2I know pineapple is ordinarily associated with sunny skies, warm weather and ice-cold drinks. Since it’s a little nippy, I’ve decided to bring a little summertime into my life with this salad. Not everybody likes cooked fruit. Luckily, I am a big eater and whether it’s cooked or not I am a fruit groupie. I have never grilled fruits before for a savoury dish. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome and how the sweet and salty mingled so well together.

IMG_3438I am officially a fan of warm pineapple! I adore the way it looks, the bright yellow against the caramelised amber bits.. Absolutely sumptuous. Not only does it look delicious, it tastes out of this world. I first discovered the joys of warm pineapple on pizza. One of my favourite pizza’s when I was a meat-eater was Hawaiian. The combination of sweet warm pineapple and savoury accompaniments proved to be a winner and those same elements are recreated with this dish.

Couscous is ordinarily a side dish to stews, but it works well as a salad base. Couscous is a versatile ingredient and a wonderful alternative to rice. It is exceptionally easy to prepare and takes on flavour well. Since couscous originates in North Africa, I decided to use North African flavours. Ordinarily dishes from this part of the world are exceptionally flavourful, but they can also be quite heavy. This dish is full of flavour but light, I think it would be the perfect dish to take to a summer barbecue.

The combination of cumin and pineapple works really well together. The coriander leaves and lime juice add an injection of freshness to the salad and lift all the warm flavours.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

1½ cups couscous

2 cups Vegetable stock

½ teaspoon coriander

2 whole red pepper  (comes to about 1 cup roasted red pepper)

½ to ⅔ cup fresh coriander leaves

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

⅓ cup pine nuts

½ a pineapple, or 1½ cups grilled pineapple chunks

Juice of ½ a lime

Pineapple baste:

1-½ tablespoons of olive oil

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon cumin

⅛ teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 200° C. Lightly greasing the Red sweet peppers with olive oil. Place them on a grilling tray and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Whilst the peppers are baking, prep your other ingredients.Place the couscous in a large bowl. Bring your vegetable stock to the boil in a saucepan. Add ½ teaspoon of coriander powder to the broth. Once boiling pours 1-½ cups of the stock over the couscous. Ordinarily I put enough stock to just cover the couscous. If the stock does not cover the couscous, pour in the other ½ cup so all the couscous is submerged. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork to check if it’s ready. If the pieces are well separate and soft, the couscous is done. Fluff the entire bowl again and cover until you are ready to put the salad together.

Set the stove to a medium to hot heat and warm the griddle pan. The pan needs to be quite hot in order to score the pineapple and not just cook it. Slice 4 to 5 rounds of pineapple and chop away the peel. Set the pineapple wheels aside and prepare the baste.

IMG_3459For the baste mix the olive oil, paprika, coriander, cumin and salt in a bowl. Turn the pineapple wheels in the mixture and place on the hot griddle pan. Grill the pineapple wheels on one side for 3 to 4 minutes or until nicely scored. If you would like the pineapple to have those lovely grill marks, try not to move the pieces until you are sure they’re ready to be flipped over. Flip the pineapple wheels over and grill for a further 3 to 4 minutes. Heat a dry skillet on a medium heat and toast the pine nuts for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned. Stir occasionally until blushing on all sides.

IMG_3448Remove the red peppers from the oven once blistered and cooked through. I find that the top of the pepper pulls away quite easily and takes all the seeds with it. You could also cut the top off and scrape the leftover seeds out.

IMG_3467Chop the red peppers into strips and the pineapples into wedges. Add both to the couscous. Add the toasted pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and coriander leaves. Add the juice of half a lime, and then toss the salad until all the ingredients are well mixed. The couscous is now ready to serve!

IMG_3478This salad can be eaten as a meal in its entirety or as an accompaniment. This is a savoury dish with pops of sweet syrupy pineapple and chewy nuggets of sun-dried tomato. It tastes great both warm and cold. This salad comes together quickly and the tasty mix of ingredients makes it a showstopper.

If you love grilled pineapple, this salad is certainly for you! Are you a fan of warm fruit? Let me know xx

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    • Hi there Dylan!

      I think quinoa would be a good gluten-free alternative for this recipe. Although the cooking processes are different, the texture’s are similar. I would suggest cooking 1 cup of quinoa to replace the 1 1/2 cups of couscous. Follow the cooking instructions for your chosen quinoa. You can use vegetable stock instead of water if you like. Let me know how it goes! I am working on a quinoa salad so look out for that in the near future 🙂

    • Thank you! It’s a simple dish, but a really lovely combination of flavours. Ever since making this salad I am experimenting with all kinds of cooked fruits, so more recipes to come soon!

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