This grilled pineapple salsa, made with red onion, chile pepper, and plenty of lime and cilantro, is superb as a quick fixer-upper for plain grilled chicken or fish or, natch, as something to scoop up with tortilla chips.
Grilled Pineapple Salsa
- 1/2 about 1 pound fresh cored pineapple cut into 3 (3/4-inch | 18-mm) thick rounds
- 1 small red onion quartered
- 1 small red chile pepper or jalapeno
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest preferably organic
- 1 tablespoon lime juice plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 450˚F | 220°C).
- Grill the pineapple, onion, and chile pepper, turning occasionally, until charred, 6 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.
- Coarsely chop the pineapple and onion. Thinly slice the pepper. Toss everything in a bowl.
- Stir in the cilantro, lime zest and juice, and chili powder.
- Taste and season with salt, pepper, and, if desired, a little more lime juice. Serve immediately or, if you have the patience, stash it in the fridge for at least several hours to allow the flavors to meld.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Pineapple salsa is nothing new but the grilling adds something to this version that makes it rise above the crowd. If you already have the grill going for your meal, take an extra 15 minutes to put these ingredients on there and make this salsa. It’s a good investment of a minimal amount of time.
Don’t rush the grilling and make sure you get a good char on the pineapple. It really makes all the difference. This salsa is great in a taco or just pile it on top of whatever you grill. I served this on vegan tacos of grilled soy in adobo, which are better than they sound. The salsa was a great match for the smoky, tangy, spicy adobo.
This grilled pineapple salsa was easy to make and serves up beautiful flavors that give any dish a kick of freshness. The pineapple also grilled well and added a different kind of smoked flavor which paired well with pulled pork. The sweet tangy pineapple with the smoked flavor and chile and cilantro for freshness made for a really good combination.
I also served this salsa with grilled piri piri chicken and it paired very well.
Grilling pineapple changes the texture and develops a different flavor and sweet juiciness. The grilled red onion is tamed yet still recognizable. I used a grill pan and first grilled the pineapple rounds, then the red onion and jalapeño, turning them regularly with tongs. After about 5 minutes, the pineapple was turning golden with grill marks and beginning to caramelize and by 8 minutes it was a nice light brown. I continued till just under 11 minutes by which time there were some crisply browned edges and tasty fibers but it wasn’t quite scorched, just nicely kizzened.
Since my red onion was quite large, I used a half and cut it into 4 wedges. As small center pieces of the onion fell out they charred more readily, as did the sliced jalapeño. The thin slices of jalapeño were ready to come off the pan in just over 5 minutes, and the red onion wedges continued for a total of 8 to 9 minutes, starting to go slightly soft with charred edges.
As the pineapple cooled, a tablespoon or so of juices pooled in the bowl which I reserved and mixed the chopped ingredients back in that bowl. I chopped the onions and jalapeños together in a round bowl with a mezzaluna, then I chopped the pineapple and mixed it with the remaining ingredients in the bowl in which the pineapple juices had collected in. The heat was good. I used ground guajillo chile, a similar heat to the jalapeño (though I might suggest ancho if you have that on hand).
I added a scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 4 to 5 grinds of black pepper. After tasting, we felt it needed a bit more acid and added an additional 1/2 tablespoon lime juice. It is worth tasting before adding as my pineapple was a golden one and they are more sweet, at least to my taste.
This is a very wet salsa, and while the flavors continue to meld while chilling, I would plan on using it withn a day or two. I think it complements meat dishes, like pork tamales or tacos, as well as veggies, and of course it will disappear if you put it out with tortilla chips.
First night we used it to go with pressure cooked ribs. The grilling still retains a freshness although not a crunchy texture of a pico de gallo, more of a salsa fresca.
After 2 to 3 hours of chilling, I felt like the flavors, especially the pineapple, developed and really shined, perky and yet not too hot. I will take the time to grill fruit and onions for salsa much more often after making this.
If you slice the jalapeños thinly, you would want to use a grill basket on a BBQ so they don’t fall into the fire, and the same would go for the onions. I think if making this again I would slice the onion horizontally into thick slices instead of wedges, to keep them together a little longer and make them easier to control. Beware of getting jalapeño vapors if you are standing right over the grill pan. I am especially sensitive to this.
I would probably use ancho in future versions for more contrast to the jalapeno and fruitier flavour.
If anyone has a great tip for cleaning a Staub grill pan, maybe I would like using it more often!
Originally published June 26, 2019