This sensational summer salad has baked coconut chicken tenders, fresh pineapple, macadamia nuts, and a creamy pina colada vinaigrette dressing!
Anyone planning a trip to Hawaii in the immediate or very near future? Because I’m small and quite flexible, I’m positive I could fit in your suitcase. If that won’t work for you (can’t imagine why it wouldn’t….) a gift of fresh pineapple from the islands will suffice. My parents went to Maui a couple of times when I was younger and brought back the most incredible pineapple. You don’t know a good pineapple til you’ve had one from Hawaii. They grow em better there. Meaning: they grow them there, period.
My husband, like me, loves pineapple. However, he is actually allergic to pineapple and even the smallest bite causes a reaction. It’s kind of a bittersweet thing because on the one hand, I can only include pineapple in our weekly menus when he is out of town. On the other hand, allllllllll the pineapple is mine. I’d share if I had to but, I’d really rather not have to if you know what I mean.
I made this salad a couple of weeks ago while my husband was on a business trip up in Idaho. I’ve been seeing some gorgeous pineapple lately and craving it constantly, so when he hit the road, I went pineapple-crazy for a whole week. It. was. heaven.
But let’s break down this beauty shall we? First, lay out a bed of chopped romaine hearts which gives the salad a whole lotta crunch, the way I like it. Then we’ve got sweet red bell peppers, fresh pineapple pieces, crispy wonton strips, and the bell of the ball: oven baked coconut chicken tenders. I adore chicken tenders, as well as coconut, so these make my day.
The dressing is a creamy pina colada vinaigrette featuring coconut milk and pineapple juice. Wholly moley delicioso. Oh and let’s not forget the macadamia nuts, I mean its a tropical salad, the macadamias just had to happen. This is a filling and dare I say man-pleasing sweet and crunchy tropical salad, perfect for summer.
- 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ¾ inch thickness
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon each salt + pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs + 1 tablespoon water, whisked
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 cups chopped pineapple chunks
- ½ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup crispy wonton strips
- 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1½ cups coconut milk
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 3 teaspoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons greek yogurt (may sub sour cream)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons honey (or more to taste)
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 400 and heavily grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then slice the chicken into 1-2 inch wide strips. Toss chicken pieces in flour, then egg mixture, then toss in the coconut to coat well. Place coated chicken strips on prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart.
- Spray chicken strips with cooking spray and bake 6-8 minutes, then flip them all over and cook on the other side another 6-8 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. (The coconut flakes should begin to char slightly)
- Top romaine with chicken tenders, red peppers, pineapple chunks, macadamia nuts, and top with wonton strips. Serve with pina colada dressing.