23 Apr Grilled Pineapple, Upland Cress, Avocado Spring Salad
Wanna know what I love most about warmer weather? The fact that I don’t have to cook as much YAY! I love cooking but certainly not when it’s hot. Admittedly, I get lazy this time of year. Besides, this is when the body naturally craves cooling foods and baby greens are just starting to sprout. Inspired by a (fairly) new and AMAZING book, Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America, I decided to try a recipe that included ingredients that are healthy without requiring much effort on my part. So while it is not exactly as it appears in the book, it is pretty close. Recipes are just guides… never forget that. You should ALWAYS make them your own. And can I just say this book, which is more like an encyclopedia with a collection of more than 500 recipes, goes beyond your highest expectations. It is a history lesson, culinary road trip and as an added bonus is full of beautiful food photography.
For this recipe, I used one of my favorite herbs (which happens to be an anticancer powerhouse), upland cress. Upland Cress is very similar to watercress with a slightly less overpowering taste. Watercress is what is actually used in the book so if you can’t get it’s slightly less famous cousin, you can easily use it in it’s place. The reason I like upland cress, is because the stems are thinner, making them more delicate and easier to enjoy. It still has a peppery kick but not-so-much in your face. I purchased mine with the roots still in tact, stuck the entire bunch in a container on my window and added a little organic soil until I was ready to use it. It was very cool to watch them grow after bringing them home from the supermarket.
The next addition to this amazing salad are the grilled pineapples. And to continue with the lazy theme I mentioned earlier, I bought mine fresh but already peeled and cored. Shortcuts like this are allowed in this recipe but whatever you do, PLEASE do not buy the canned variety loaded with sugar water! Pineapples gives this refreshing meal such a great and unexpected twist. If you’ve never had grilled pineapple, you totally should. Pineapples are very juicy but grilling them takes the juiciness factor up a couple notches. It also really enhances it’s flavor. A sprinkle of coconut palm sugar gave it a very subtle crunch and made the already sweet parts sweeter. I had no idea that was even possible but it is… trust me! Once I was done, I added the final ingredients including a diced avocado my mother-in-law hooked me up with from her recent trip to the Dominican Republic (don’t tell the authorities!). The finished product was a true masterpiece and I believe it is worthy of a try.
So don’t just sit there, get up and get cookin’… well sorta because there is very little of that with this salad. And please let me know your thoughts 😉 Then click “share” below because sharing is caring!
For more recipes, check out: “Keepin it Real” Recipes
- 1 bunch upland cress
- 1 Pineapple, peeled, cored - cut into 1 inch thick slices
- ½ tablespoon coconut palm sugar
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or fresh lime juice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 large Florida (West Indian) avocado or 2 Hass avocados
- ½ small red onion thinly slivered lengthwise
- Rinse upland cress in a colander under cold running water to remove grit or sand. Discard any yellow leaves. Pat dry with a paper towel
- Set stovetop grill or barbecue to medium high heat. Place the pineapple slices on a baking pan and sprinkle the coconut palm sugar evenly on top of them. Then transfer pineapple to grill and heat for a total of 5-7 minutes on each side, until lightly golden brown.
- While pineapple is grilling, place the garlic, olive oil, vinegar or lime juice, cumin, salt, turmeric and pepper in a small bowl and wisk to combine. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
- Cut the avocado(s) lengthwise in half around the pit and remove the pit. Place the avocado halves cut side down and slice lengthwise into 1-inch-wide wedges. Peel each segment by hand and cut into 1-inch cubes.
- To assemble the salad begin by placing the upland cress in a medium bowl and toss with half the dressing, then arrange on a platter.
- Add the pineapple and avocado to the same bowl and toss with the rest of the dressing. Mound the pineapple slices and avocado pieces over the bed of upland cress. Garnish with slivers of red onion and serve immediately.
- Adapted from: Gran Cocina Latina by Maricel E. Prescilla