Pina Colada Chicken Salad with Pina Colada Vinaigrette

This sensational summer salad has baked coconut chicken tenders, fresh pineapple, macadamia nuts, and a creamy pina colada vinaigrette dressing! 

Pina Colada Chicken Salad

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.

Pina Colada Chicken Salad

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.

Pina Colada Chicken Salad

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.

Pina Colada Chicken Salad

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.

Pina Colada Chicken Salad

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.

Pina Colada Chicken Salad

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Pina Colada Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This sensational summer salad has baked coconut chicken tenders, fresh pineapple, macadamia nuts, and a creamy pina colada vinaigrette dressing!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 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
dressing
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to use.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. Top romaine with chicken tenders, red peppers, pineapple chunks, macadamia nuts, and top with wonton strips. Serve with pina colada dressing.

 

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Comments

This salad looks amazing! I love pineapple! Too bad your husband is so allergic, but at least you’ve got something to cheer you up when he’s out of town ;). I love this recipe!

    It’s so true, when my hubby goes out of town, I settle on the couch with a bowl of pineapple and Gray’s Anatomy re-runs – does the trick every time! 😉

You make amazing salads!

    Thanks Chloe! I loooove salads! I’d probably post one every day but I think all of my readers would get sick of them ha!

You had me at Pina Colada! I love the flavors in this and cannot wait to try that Pina Colada vinaigrette!! Genius!

    Thanks Serene! This salad is a really fun way to mix things up for dinner in the summertime! The dressing is soooo yummmm!

I’m loving the sound of this salad. I need to put this on my summer to make list

So gorgeous Tiffany. I bet this tastes amazing! Definitely need to try. Pinning.
Hope your week is off to a fantastic start!

    Thanks Melanie! This salad is definitely a favorite!!

Do I use the canned coconut milk for this?

    Yes you can use canned coconut milk!

Yum! Now this looks like a salad I need to have asap. Love how light it is but how packed full of flavor!

I wish I was in hawaii… funny thing is I could have been .. just didn’t want to be on a 8+ hour flight with a 2 year old by myself. Next year for sure though, in the mean time I will be making this salad!

    Oh a flight that long would be ROUGH with a toddler and no extra hands! Next year for sure you need to go! And me too ha!!

Just made your salad tonite!!! Loved it! The dressing is to die for!! Just one question.. I was a little confused, what mixture of the prep process was I supposed to add the salt, pepper and garlic powder to?

Thanks
Robin

    Hi Robin! This salad is so much for summer, isn’t it?! Sorry for any confusion, I’ve updated the instructions to clarify when you add the seasonings. 🙂

I need this salad in my life. Like soon too. Hawaii is home away from home. My absolute favorite place on the planet.

    See I have a strong hunch that I’d feel the same way if I ever got a chance to visit – I’d probably pull up stakes and move there!!

I made the salad tonight and it was really good except the dressing was too runny. How can I thicken it up?

    I have the same question about the dressing. Mine came out quite thin so I added more yogurt, but it still wasn’t thick enough. I noticed in the pictures that the dressing is more yellow and much thicker, almost hollandaise consistency and color. The flavor is yummy though. Any ideas Tiffany? Thanks for the recipe 🙂

      I had the same problem with my dressing. Did you find a solution?

Holy crap! This looks so good! I too am a pineapple lover and I have been known to eat a whole pineapple in one sitting… I eat salads all the freeking time and they start to get a little boring after a while. I needed something like this to change it up a little. Thanks for the recipe!

    i dont like pineaple another juice put in this salads

I’ve made this salad twice & while my family & I love it, I can’t seem to figure out why my dressing is so runny& white. I cut the liquids & added more yogurt & it’s still not the right consistency. Any suggestions?

    Hi Lisa! Have you found that chilling it helps to get a thicker consistency??

This salad looks so very tasty! I can’t wait to try it! It’s too bad your husband can’t enjoy it. I’m allergic to most all raw fruits (veggies and tree nuts, too) but can somehow enjoy canned pineapple. Perhaps he can get by on the canned stuff, too?

    Ooh, I hadn’t ever thought of that, I wonder if he could!? Gonna have to give it a try!

Love this! Just wondering about calorie content?

I loved the flavors, but the dressing was very thin. How did you get yours so thick?

I think the coconut chicken was amazing. And while all components of this salad are delicious I’m not sure they worked together. The weakest link was definitely the dressing. I don’t know where I went wrong but it was not good at all. I will however make coconut chicken again–just not the salad dressing.

I can’t wait to try some of these recipes!!!
Mothers Day is just a week away, so I plan on trying a couple of these out!!

I am wondering did you use coconut cream not coconut milk. Because i know that cream is much thicker and the coconut milk made the dressing very thin .

I made this tonight and it was AMAZING. Super fun and delicious to boot. I didn’t have honey (whaaaa?), so I used only 1 tbsp of Agave Nectar – which is slightly sweeter. I also had to substitute the sour cream for the greek yogurt, but otherwise, followed the recipe to a “T”. My husband loved it also and he is a meat and potatoes kinda guy, so that was huge. We will definitely make this again, and I look forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

I made this salad and the chicken was delicious!!! I had to cook it longer and I added some Panko bread crumbs to my coconut to dilute it a little bit. My issue however was with the dressing- it was pure liquid. I followed the directions exactly and with so much juice and milk I don’t j ow how it could have had any body- it was tasty Though. I made a little mayo/ yogurt combo and added some of the this dressing to it – and used both on the salad. Flavor was good!