Spicy Shrimp & Pineapple (on) Salad

Let’s get real for a minute.

Recipes are great and all, but sometimes the best meals are thrown together at the last minute with really random ingredients. Sometimes they don’t even make sense. Like this salad.

J and I went for a run, then grabbed beers afterward and enjoyed the outdoors as we usually do on a Saturday. While in this happy place, I decided I wanted shrimp for dinner….and pineapple….and salad….and peanut sauce needed to be involved.  So off we went to Whole Foods, grabbed some fresh shrimp and got to deveinin’. While we were shelling and deveining, we remembered the homemade rubs that my brother gave Jeremy for Christmas – jackpot! I didn’t even have to open a spice jar. That’s my kinda dinner. The rub? It was a Southwestern rub. Did I still put peanut dressing on it? You betcha.


Initially we were going to skewer our shrimp, pineapple and onion and grill them, but pulling out the charcoal grill for shrimp which only takes about 4 minutes to cook just didn’t seem worth it. But if you’re making this for more people, or have a gas grill, these would make EXCELLENT kebabs!!



1 lb raw shrimp, peeled & deveined – I typically like about 5 shrimp on my salad but we ended up cooking it all so we had A TON as you can see! We were hungry…

juice from 1 lime

1 tbsp grapeseed (or olive) oil

1 tbsp brown sugar

About 1 tbsp +1 tsp Southwestern rub** (“eyeball it”…as my mom says)

salt & pepper

Pineapple & Onions:

3 rings of fresh pineapple, cut into cubes (about 1 cup cubed)

1/2 cup red onion, chopped

1tbsp grapeseed (or olive) oil

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

salt & pepper

Spicy Peanut Dressing:

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

a few tbsp of warm water (to thin it out as much as you like)

2 tbsp chili sauce (optional) – you know, the tasty red-orange stuff typically reserved for dipping? Buy some. It’s excellent in everything. Trust me.

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1) Marinate your shrimp: Combine grapeseed or olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar and some salt and pepper in a large ziploc bag (I marinate in ziplocs, but you’re obviously welcome to use whatever you want). Add your shrimp and jiggle them around in the bag until they’re coated. Let sit for 15-30 minutes.

Marinate your fruit & veggies: Combine grapeseed or olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and some salt & pepper in a ziploc. Add your chopped onion and pineapple. Jiggle these as well until coated and let them hang out for awhile as your shrimp marinates.

2) While everything is marinating, make your peanut dressing. Combine all ingredients and whisk together until well blended. This works best if you microwave the peanut butter for just a few seconds until it’s melty, or, if you prefer, you can also blend it all in a processor. I’d just rather clean a whisk than an entire food processor 😉

Also – throw together your salad here. I’m not going to tell you how to make a salad for obvious reasons. So throw together whatever you like! We used crunchy iceberg lettuce and some chopped tomatoes, but some cashews or nuts would have been nice!

3) Throw your pineapple & onions into a grill pan over medium-high heat. Let them get a good sear and start to caramelize and soften a bit before removing them from the pan. Set aside.

4) Using the same pan, turn your heat down to medium. Remove your shrimp from their marinade and toss them in a bowl with the Southwestern Rub until they’re evenly coated. I mentioned we used a rub that my brother made. I won’t divulge his secret recipe, but you can find easy Southwestern Rub recipes here and here.

Spread your shrimp out evenly in the pan (on their sides). Cook for about 1 minute then flip, and cook for about 1 minute more. They should get a nice crust/sear on them from the sugar in the marinade and the rub.

5) Now assemble your salad! Top with a healthy drizzle of Spicy Peanut Dressing (which is also good on just about anything by the way).

Sometimes dinner just needs to be random. Sometimes that random dish is super tasty even if it doesn’t make sense (annnnd yes, sometimes it’s not…). So I hope you enjoy this Asian/Southwestern/Caribbean dinner brought to you by my pantry and a random post-workout craving.


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