To much rejoice, March marks the beginning of peak pineapple season. Enjoy this sweet tropical nectar like a true Floridian with these fun, tropical-inspired recipes.
Pineapple Shrimp Kabobs
- ¾ pound large Gulf shrimp, deveined and peeled
- 1 pineapple, cut into 1-inch chucks (reserve juice for marinade)
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 2 tbs. pineapple juice (reserved from pineapple)
- 2 tbs. lime juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. lime zest
- Salt and crushed red pepper to taste
- In a medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Add shrimp, pineapple, bell pepper and onion, lightly stirring to coat. Cover and refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes, stirring to recoat halfway through.
- On skewers, place shrimp, pineapple, onion and pepper, leaving a small gap between each; there should be enough to make four 14-inch kabobs. Heat grill, and brush oil on rack to prevent the shrimp from sticking.
- Place kabobs on the grill, over medium heat, and cover. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning kabobs and brushing with marinade once. Remove kabobs from grill when shrimp are pink and vegetables are tender.
Tropical Chicken Sliders
Simple and sweet, this recipe for grilled chicken and pineapple sliders will have guests clamoring for more from the grill.
- 3 chicken breast, pounded to even thickness and halved
- 6 pineapple rings, cut fresh (reserve juice for marinade)
- 6 Hawaiian rolls
- 3 tbsp. pineapple juice
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
- Squeeze of lemon, half
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red onion, sliced
- Spicy mango and pineapple salsa (recipe below), 1 tbsp. per slider
- Combine pineapple juice, cider, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a large ceramic bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- While chicken is marinating, stoke the charcoal briquettes until the grill reaches medium-high heat. Clean and lightly oil the grate, which will help prevent the chicken from sticking. Cook the chicken until lightly browned on both sides—flip once—and the thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Halfway through grilling the chicken, place the pineapple slices on the grill and let sit for about two to three minutes per side, until grill marks begin to appear.
- On the bottom half of each bun, spread a small spoonful of mango-hababero salsa (for a not-so-spicy substitute, use teriyaki sauce). Top with lettuce, chicken, pineapple slice and red onion. Enjoy.
Spicy Mango and Pineapple Salsa
For a sweet and spicy treat, this recipe for mango, pineapple salsa is a great tropical side for dipping chips or as a topper to chicken, fish and seafood. Enjoy!
- ½ mango, peeled and chopped
- ¼ white or red onion, diced
- ½ cup pineapple, diced
- 3 tbsp. mango Scotch bonnet hot sauce (recipe below)
- Salt, pinch
- Cilantro, roughly chopped to taste
Mix chopped mango, finely diced onion and pineapple in a bowl. Add hot sauce, cilantro to taste and salt; mix gently to combine ingredients. Chill in refrigerator and serve.
Mango Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce
- 6 medium Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 Thai chili peppers, seeded and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ ripe mango, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup pineapple, chopped and juice reserved
- ½ white onion, diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/3 cup white vinegar
- 1 tbsp. cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wearing gloves, de-seed and chop peppers. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Add mix to a food processor or Vitamix blender, and blend until smooth.
- Portion into jars and let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours before eating.
Nothing says tropical fun quite like a pineapple-infused cocktail. After noshing on the pineapple goods above, a few sweet, blended and shaken sips are in order. Here, we offer two tiki classics, the Planter’s Punch and the Painkiller.
The Planter’s Punch has long been a tiki standard: the tropical fruit juices and dark rum are tiki standards. And this cocktail has made its mark, so much so that the International Bartenders Association has included it in its official book of drinks. Falling under “The Unforgettables” category, Planter’s Punch is a classic long drink (Collins type) with plenty of tropical flavors and a hearty dose of rum to keep the tiki times ticking along.
- 1½ oz. dark rum
- 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- 2/3 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 oz. grenadine
- 1/3 oz. sugar syrup
- 3 to 4 dashes Angostura bitters
Pour all ingredients, except bitters, into a shaker filled with ice, and shake well. Pour into Collins glass filled with ice. Add Angostura bitters on top. Garnish with cocktail cherry and pineapple.
*Recipe courtesy of IBA
Another of the classics, the Painkiller does just as the name implies: eases the pain. Big on tropical flavors, this is the type of drink that makes lazy afternoons in the sun a blast and turn any Sunday into Funday.
- 2 oz. aged rum
- 2 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- 1 oz. Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
- 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
Shake ingredients and pour over ice in a double Old Fashioned or Collins glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and grated nutmeg for a hint of spice.
When talking pineapples and cocktails, the Piña Colada is usually the first on most minds; after all, piña means pineapple. A true classic of the bar scene, especially for those living south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the Piña Colada has become one of the most popular blended cocktails in the country. But where did it come from?
As with most old-timey cocktails—anything invented before the 1980s—the origin story is usually shrouded in mystery, and probably wrong. So with that said, the most popular story behind the Piña Colada falls with the Beachcomber Bar at San Juan’s Caribe Hilton in 1954 (the resort now boasts the Piña Colada Club in place of the old Beachcomber). The story goes that Ramon “Monchito” Marrero created the cocktail while bartending at the posh resort. Determined to capture the true flavor and vibe of Puerto Rico, Marrero spent three months of extensive “research and development” to nail down the recipe. And nailed it he did: in 1978, Puerto Rico named the Piña Colada the official national drink.
Want to try it? Here’s the official, original Piña Colada recipe, courtesy of the Caribe Hilton. Enjoy!
The Original Piña Colada
- 2 oz. white rum
- 1 oz. coconut cream
- 1 oz. heavy cream
- 6 oz. fresh pineapple juice
- ½ cup crushed ice
Add the rum, coconut cream, heavy cream and pineapple juice together in a blender. Add the ice and blend for about 15 seconds or until smooth. Serve in a 12-ounce glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry.