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Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Salad

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Sweet and Spicy Pineapple Salad

Chili-Coated Cravings and a Fruity Solution

I’ll admit it – I’ve been totally obsessed with that salty-sweet-spicy flavor combo lately. Ever since I fell victim to a Facebook ad selling some chili-coated sour patch kids (yes, they were awesome), I just couldn’t get enough of that irresistible blend of flavors. So when I decided to clean out my fridge the other day and found a jar of gochujang in the back, I knew exactly what I had to do.

I threw together some frozen pineapple, a fresh cucumber, and a hefty dose of that magical Korean chili paste, and the result was nothing short of a flavor explosion. It tasted just like those addictive chili gummies, but with actual fruit and veggies instead of pure sugar. Needless to say, this Spicy Pineapple Salad quickly became a new favorite in my household.

The Wonders of Gochujang

If you’re not familiar with gochujang, it’s a centuries-old Korean chili paste made with – you guessed it – chili peppers, along with rice, soybeans, and salt. It has this incredible salty-spicy-umami flavor that kind of reminds me of a spicy version of miso. The flavor profile is so unique and so delicious, and I’m thrilled that it’s really been trending in the U.S. lately. That means it’s fairly easy to find in major grocery stores – my local Kroger has about five or six different brands on the shelf.

Not only is gochujang packed with flavor, but it also has an impressively long shelf life. You don’t have to worry about using up the whole container right away, because it’ll stay good in the fridge for a really long time. And the best part? It’s incredibly versatile. I’ve used it in everything from gochujang chicken bowls to gochujang roasted brussels sprouts, and it always adds that perfect punch of flavor.

A Salad with Serious Flexibility

For this Spicy Pineapple Salad, I used frozen pineapple chunks because that’s what I had on hand, but fresh pineapple would work just as well. Canned pineapple (in juice, not syrup) might work in a pinch, but it tends to be a lot sweeter and not quite as bright in flavor as fresh or frozen.

The great thing about this particular flavor combination is that it has a lot of flexibility. You can easily switch up the ingredients to suit your taste preferences or what you happen to have in the fridge. Don’t have cucumbers? Try substituting in some bell peppers or radishes instead. Not a fan of cilantro? Leave it out or swap in some mint or basil. The possibilities are endless!

And the best part? This salad is not only delicious, but it’s also super easy to make. Just toss together the pineapple, cucumber, and cilantro, then whisk up a quick dressing with the gochujang, rice vinegar, and a touch of sugar. The whole thing comes together in about 10 minutes, and it’s the perfect fresh and flavorful side dish or light lunch.

Serving Suggestions and Storage Tips

This Spicy Pineapple Salad would make a great accompaniment to all sorts of main dishes. I think it would pair especially well with something like Coconut Chicken Strips, Baked Ginger Salmon, or Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls. The sweet and spicy flavors would be a perfect contrast to those other dishes.

As for storage, the salad will stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just be aware that the fruit and veggies will get a bit softer the longer they marinate. Make sure to give it a good stir each time before serving to redistribute the dressing.

So if you’re looking for a fresh, flavorful, and oh-so-craveable salad, this Spicy Pineapple number is definitely the way to go. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s cooling and refreshing – in other words, it’s the perfect summertime side dish. And with the help of that magical ingredient known as gochujang, it’s also a flavor explosion that’ll have you coming back for more. Enjoy!


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