This easy pineapple salsa is vibrant, bursting with flavor and in possession of a power that makes it a very desirable ally to various cuts of meat.
Read on to find out why it is a must have item for summer grilling. Besides the fact that it is outright delicious.
What You Need to Make Pineapple Salsa
All it takes is a few easy to find ingredients:
- fresh, ripe whole pineapple (or peeled and sliced fresh pineapple spears)
- red onion
- jalapeno pepper(s) or a pepper such as poblano
- red bell pepper (or thinner skinned sweet red pepper)
- lime juice (from fresh fruit)
- salt and pepper
As you noticed, this is a tomato free salsa. Contrary to popular belief salsa does not have to include tomatoes.
Salsa simply means sauce translated from Spanish. The word was applied to a homogeneous mixture of chilies, tomatoes and spices prepared by the Mayans and then the Aztecs to flavor meats, as a condiment.
The Spanish had not seen tomatoes prior to exploring the lands that comprise today’s territory of Mexico so they described the tomato based mixture of the indigenous people as a salsa. Hence today’s assumption that a salsa must contain tomatoes and be spicy.
Modern day salsas are typically a combination of raw or raw and cooked ingredients, while sauces are made of cooked ingredients. Salsas have varying textures, whereas sauces are characterized by a homogeneous consistency.
How to Make Pineapple Salsa
Composing a salsa is all about balancing flavor, sweetness, acidity and heat. Texture and color also play important roles and this salsa is exemplary of all the relevant criteria.
We list customization tips and ideas for this pineapple salsa below, but first watch the video illustrating the easy steps involved in preparing it from scratch.
Psst. You will also see how easy it is to make the optional candied bacon chips which pair superbly with the flavors of this salsa. A must try.
Pineapple salsa composed to hit all the right notes. Balanced sweetness, heat and acidity. Gorgeous colors and tasty crunch. Pair with a tropical fruit flavored IPA and don't forget to bake some candied bacon chips to scoop with:).
- 1 whole pineapple
- 1 medium-sized red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 medium-sized jalapeno, seeds and inner ribs removed, finely diced
- 1 medium sized red onion, finely diced
- cilantro, to taste, finely chopped
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/2 lime, juice of
- 1 lb thick cut bacon (optional)
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional)
Peel, cut and dice a fresh pineapple - measure out 3 cups and freeze the remaining quantity if not going to use immediately for something else.
In a medium-sized bowl combine the diced pineapple, red pepper, jalapeno, red onion and finely chopped cilantro.
Season with salt and pepper, add lime juice and mix everything well.
FOR THE CANDIED BACON CHIPS:
Heat oven to 350 F. Cut the bacon slices in about 3 inch long pieces. Arrange over a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place back in oven and cook for seven to ten more minutes or until completely cooked (most of the fat rendered). Depending on the thickness and fat content of your bacon this time will vary.
Carefully transfer candied bacon onto paper towel, let cool off and serve immediately with the pineapple salsa and tortilla chips.
If you prefer spicier salsa do not remove the inner ribs and/or leave a few of the jalapeno seeds.
This salsa is best eaten fresh, shortly after it was made. See tips under recipe card.
Note that the optional candied bacon chips are not the dehydrated type of bacon chips. These are simply chips alike candied pieces of bacon and are best eaten as soon as they cool off. Really tasty!
Health Benefits of Pineapple Salsa
Collectively, the ingredients that go in this delicious bowl have numerous health benefits. But the one that stands out and makes the salsa such a great partner for grilled meats comes from pineapple and has to do with digestion.
As I mentioned in our recipe for Tacos al Pastor raw pineapple contains a combination of powerful protein breaking enzymes known as bromelain. The actions of those enzymes make them an excellent meat tenderizer, but ingested together with meat they also aid the body digest consumed proteins.
So not only does this salsa belong with grilled meats, it can also make you feel good about scooping it up with candied bacon ‘chips’ (which have rendered most of their fat).
One Delicious Salsa, Many Versatile Uses
This is probably the most exciting part about this salsa. It can go so many places.
Besides a tasty chips companion this is a great pineapple salsa for pork (like these easy cast iron skillet pork chops), fish, tacos, chicken, salmon, ham, hot dogs etc.
Craft Beer Styles to Pair With Pineapple Salsa
We are publishing this recipe mostly because we love how it pairs with American IPA’s especially those who have pronounced tropical leanings.
Whether the style is a juicy NEIPA or West Coast, when the flavors and aroma of the finishing hops are of pineapple, citrus and other tropical fruit an incredible salsa dance of the senses awaits you.
Pineapple Salsa Tips
- Resist the temptation to use canned fruit. Not only will it not taste fresh, but the texture will be soft and soggy – not even close to the real deal.
- Resist the temptation to prepare a large batch and store it in the fridge for a couple of days. While such a strategy implies obvious convenience it goes against the main reason of preparing fresh, from scratch salsa. The best salsas pack a crunch, its ingredients contribute fresh flavors and it is vibrant. You do not want dull colors and less than perfect texture (diced pineapple can quickly soften and deteriorate).
- If you really wanted to speed up the beat of this salsa increase the acidity by adding a splash of orange juice or white wine vinegar. Lime juice may not be acidic enough for your taste and acidity does promote flavor perception. So go ahead and experiment.
Twists on Pineapple Salsa
- Feel free to add diced fresh tomatoes if you’d like to.
- Fancy a spicier pineapple salsa? Go for it. Use more jalapenos (and leave more of the ribs/seeds) or why not finely diced habanero? A pinch of cayenne? Use your imagination.
- How about grilled pineapple salsa? We recommend a 50/50 grilled to fresh combo. Better overall texture and you will keep the protein breaking action (bromelain stops functioning at higher temperatures).
- Add another tropical fruit such as mango to bring even more sweetness or drizzle with agave or hot honey.
- IPA in your salsa? It actually can taste really good. Add about a tablespoon of hazy NEIPA with tropical notes and low bitterness and enjoy the bouquet of aromas with every bite.
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