I’m back! I’ve been on a little (well, kinda huge to our little family) vacation to none other than Hawaii. This was our first “big” vacation with the baby in tow, and we managed to get through the airport, survive the flights, and have a wonderful time on the island of Oahu.
While this was my view every day from our beach house, I also tried some delicious food (of course!). One of the spots we frequented was a burger spot in Laie called Seven Brothers and I got myself a salad on our first visit. The cashier said it was the most popular salad on the menu, so I ordered the Polynesian Salad. You guys! It was sooooo good! In fact, I loved it so much that I had it three times while I was in Hawaii and it was what I chose for my “last meal” before I flew home. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I seriously couldn’t get enough of the yummy salad.
So, while I enjoyed my “last meal” I carefully studied the salad and its flavors so I could try to recreate it at home. I’ve done it, my friends! I’ve seriously done it! When I sat down to eat this for dinner I could almost hear the waves crashing in the background . . . it took me right back to Laie. It has fabulous texture thanks to the crunch you get from the carrots, cabbage, and nuts. It also has a balanced sweetness with the grilled pineapple and the coconut. And the dressing . . . yeah, this is what takes it over the top. It has a distinct pineapple taste with a slight edge of sophistication because of Blue Cheese.
The Seven Brothers restaurant does not serve their salad with shrimp (although you can add fish to your salad if you want), but I thought shrimp was the perfect addition for a healthy protein. It was a fabulous compliment to the sweet pineapple flavors found throughout.
Again, I’m not trying to be dramatic, but this salad is absolutely amazing. I know it doesn’t scream “Autumn,” so perhaps you might think the timing of putting it on the blog is a little off, but it is the BEST thing I could bring home to you all from Hawaii (trust me . . . you would WAY rather have this than one of those cheap key chains from the Swap Meet). You’re going to love it and so will everyone else who gets a taste.
Polynesian Salad With Shrimp and Pineapple Vinaigrette
For the Salad:
12 cups (or 16 oz.) mixed greens (I used a Spring mix)
3 medium carrots, chopped fine
2 cups red cabbage, chopped fine
6 fresh pineapple rings, 1/4 thick
24 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 1/2 oz. macadamia nuts, toasted
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
For the Dressing:
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons agave (or honey)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
Combine mixed greens, carrots, and cabbage in a large bowl. Set aside.
Prepare grill by heating to medium (I used an indoor grill, AKA my George Foreman). Oil grill grates. Place pineapple on grill and grill for approximately 3-5 minutes per side, until tender and golden. Remove from grill and cut into chunks.
If desired, season shrimp with salt and pepper (to taste). Place on grill and grill for approximately 2 minutes per side, or until shrimp is completely pink/white and it curls up a bit. Remove from grill and set aside.
If serving for a large crowd, wait for pineapple and shrimp to cool to room temperature and then gently toss with mixed greens. Add toasted macadamia nuts and coconut and evenly toss. Serve with dressing. (Recipe makes enough for 6 good sized dinner portions and would probably serve at least 10-12 people as a side dish.)
If serving individual plates (which I mostly do at home), place approximately 3 cups of greens on a plate, top with pineapple chunks (from one ring), approximately 4 ounces of shrimp (which was about 8-10 of my medium shrimp), 1 tablespoon of nuts, and 2 tablespoons of coconut. Serve with 2 1/2 tablespoons of dressing.
For the Dressing:
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
**Notes about this salad: The macadamia nuts are high in calories. If you omit them altogether, you’ll save yourself 80 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving. They aren’t the healthiest nut to have around, but they are truly Hawaiian so I left them in the recipe. Omit them if you’re really watching your food intake. Also, I used fresh pineapple, but I’m sure canned would work in a pinch (and for the dressing you can use the drained pineapple juice from the can).
Salad & Dressing (Per Serving = 1/6 of the Recipe)
Fat: 20.6g (7.4g = Sat.)
Salad Only (Per Serving = 1/6 of the Recipe)
Fat: 15.2g (6.3g = Sat.)
Sugars: 14.2g (all natural sugars)
Dressing Only (Per Serving = Approx. 2 1/2 Tablespoons)
Fat: 5.4g (1.1g = Sat.)