Pineapple Chicken Salad with Green Beans and Toasted Coconut

Pineapple Chicken Salad with Green Beans and Toasted Coconut

This salad was inspired by one of my favorite choices at Lemonade, a healthy, fast-casual restaurant chain that I sometimes visit when in Los Angeles. I enjoy it so much that as soon as I agreed to work on this book, I attempted to re-create the flavors.

I thought the exercise would be just for fun, to get into the swing of the project. Little did I know that my family would go crazy for this and insist that I make the recipe a keeper.

If you love it, too, you have them to thank for it.



For the chicken

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh pineapple (from about 1/2 a whole, fresh pineapple; you can substitute canned, but it’s not nearly as delicious)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin‍
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder‍
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see note, page 117)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt‍
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut‍
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • â…” cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed
  • Salt‍
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ÂĽ cup lime juice (from about 2 juicy limes)
  • 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped (seeded and deveined for mild)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey‍
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice‍
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper‍
  • 1 red Fresno chile, thinly sliced, for garnish (you can substitute red jalapeño; optional)


  1. Make the chicken: Add the garlic, onion, pineapple, cumin, and chili powder to a blender or a food processor and purée until it is the consistency of applesauce. Add the chicken breasts to the insert of your electric pressure cooker and pour the pineapple purée over the top. Set the pressure cooker to high for 18 minutes and cover, remembering to set the valve on the lid to pressure. When done cooking, manually release the pressure valve. Once cool enough to handle, shred the cooked chicken and season with the salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Make the Salad: While the chicken cooks, steam the green beans until tender crisp. Once cool enough to handle, cut them into roughly 1-­inch pieces; set aside.
  3. Add the coconut to a small sauté pan set over medium-­high heat. Leave it untouched until it just begins to turn golden brown around the edges, about 1 minute, watching carefully all the while. Then, using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, toss the coconut constantly until all of it turns a deep golden brown, another 30 seconds or so. Remove the coconut from the heat and transfer it to a small bowl; set aside.
  4. Wipe the pan clean and return it to the stove. Set a paper towel–­lined plate next to the stove. Add the shallots and ⅓ cup of the oil to the pan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until they crisp and turn a deep golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to the prepared plate, sprinkle with salt to taste, and allow them to rest.
  5. To make the dressing: Roughly chop the garlic and add it to a blender along with the lime juice, jalapeño, thyme, honey, and allspice, and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Leave the blender running and add the remaining ⅓ cup oil in a slow, steady stream until the dressing emulsifies.
  6. Place the chicken, green beans, coconut, shallots, and ÂĽ cup of the cilantro in a large serving bowl. Toss with the dressing and season to taste with salt and black pepper, if desired. Top with the remaining Âľ cup cilantro and the thinly sliced chiles, if using. Serve immediately or at room temperature.


To cook on the stovetop, use the smallest pot that allows you to lay the chicken in a single layer. Cover with the pineapple sauce and add just enough chicken broth (you can use water in a pinch) to cover the chicken by about 1 inch. Cook on medium-­low for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pot and allow it to cool before shredding. In the meantime, reduce the sauce on medium until you have enough to coat the pulled chicken without it being overly saucy. Because you’ve added liquid to the recipe, you may also need to adjust the seasoning. Reducing the sauce helps concentrate the flavor, but taste as you go.

Excerpted from Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner © by Stacie Billis.

Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

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