If you like grilled chicken, grilled pineapple and a bursting flavor of chilli, you will love this one. The best part? It’s healthy! Even though it was raining outside with a mere 14C, I didn’t feel like letting go of Summer just yet. I decided to make those warm, tropical feelings by getting the grill going and mixing all the flavors of Summer together in this lovely, spicy salad.
If you’re like me and think you don’t like pineapple in savory dishes, I urge you to try this one! It really is amazing and the sweetness goes so well together with the spicy chicken, creamy avocado and lime cilantro sauce.
This recipe is adapted from JoyfulHealthyEats, and as I liked hers so much, I haven’t done many alterations. However, I made my own harissa and roasted red peppers and thus this will take a bit longer than her 10 minute prep time.
You need to begin with the harissa. Harissa is a roasted pepper and/or chilli paste from Northern Africa. The spicy chilli paste can be used in so many different ways, such as in marinades as in this recipe, or as a condiment for grilled meat, with rice or in soups. I have even put it in a bolognese, don’t kill me, Italians! This is extremely spicy, but the chicken marinade won’t be that scary, I promise (okay, not for the faint of heart).
Soak the dried chiles in a bowl of boiling water and cover, let sit for 30 minutes. I used the only dried chiles I could get my hands on in this little town, which unfortunately for some include very spicy bird’s eye chilli, in addition to the milder guajilo chiles. Because the guajilo chiles were much more expensive, I ended up using mostly bird’s eye. I suspect this would be very awesome with the smokiness of Chipotle and/or richness of Ancho chiles.
While the chiles are soaking, place two red peppers, sliced in half, on baking paper. Place in an oven pre-heated to 230C and roast for 30 minutes. When these are done, cool them down in a covered bowl before you remove the skin. Slice or julienne the peppers and then they’re done and ready for assembling.
Roast all the delicious Moroccan spices and grind them in a spice grinder or in a mortar, like me. Drain the chiles and begin de-seeding them – pro tip: use gloves for this step! I do not de-seed the guajilos, but about 90% of the bird’s eye chiles. Place them in a spice grinder, food processor or the like.
When you’ve done this, you can place all the other ingredients in the food processor and let the magic begin. The desired result would be a smooth and thick paste. Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you want to store it for later, place it in a jar and add a layer of olive oil on top and use within a month.
OK, harissa done, roasted red peppers done!
Let’s move on to the actual recipe.
Grilled Chicken & Cilantro Vinaigrette
Marinade the chicken in 2-3 tbsp of the harissa, 1 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp dry cilantro, juice of one lime and lemon and salt and pepper. Let sit for 10-20 minutes in the fridge. Don’t forget to heat up the grill.
Then it’s time for the delicious creamy and tangy cilantro vinaigrette. Just mix all the sauce ingredients in a blender, taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Grill the chicken and 8 rings of pineapple (yes, you need it all). Slice up two avocados, spinach, arugula, and crumble some feta cheese and then you’re ready to assemble this beast of a healthy dish.
It may or may not look something like this:
I must admit, this was a lot of food. When I made this, I used this recipe for three people, but I think it was enough for four (even though the pineapple might not be, yum!).
I hope you’ll find this as delicious as I did, and let me know how you did! Either tag me #gingerwithspice on Instagram or Facebook or let me know in the comments section.