Polynesian Salad

62 Comments

Ever since I first spotted this recipe on the blog A Beautiful Bite, I’ve been dying to make it. Melanie actually calls her salad “Crunchy Polynesian Salad.” The salad isn’t terribly sophisticated, but it sounded fun and different. I love her unique, crunchy additions – toasted ramen noodles and macadamia nuts!

I made this salad for a July 4th get-together. Because it was for a significant family-friend gathering, I made a very large salad and a voluminous amount of dressing. But I’ve pared it all back to a more normal amount for this post. Or check out Melanie’s original recipe here, which serves eight people.
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Polynesian Salad

8 ounces shredded iceberg lettuce
8 ounces broccoli slaw
8 ounces julienned carrots
8 ounces shredded purple cabbage
1 – 16 ounce can pineapple slices in juice
Coconut oil or Pam
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 small purple onion, diced
Fresh cilantro
Toasted ramen noodles
Macadamia nut pieces, toasted

Place the first four ingredients in a large bowl lined with paper towels to insure that the vegetables are dry. I don’t like excessive moisture in salads because it dilutes the dressing.
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Store the bowl in the refrigerator overnight or at least for a few hours.
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Drain the pineapple slices over a bowl and save the juice for the dressing. Dry the slices on paper towels.


Spray a griddle with coconut oil, and grill the pineapple slices until grill marks are obvious. Continue with all of the pineapple you’re using, then cut each slice into quarters.

If you need to save on time, you can cut up the red bell peppers, but I would place them in a sealable bag or bowl also lined with paper towels. I never cut up onions ahead of time.

Toast the macadamia nuts in a large skillet, and let them cool completely.


There’s some preparation to this salad, but trust me, it’s all worth it!

Polynesian Dressing

1/2 cup pineapple juice
Juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 teaspoons sesame seed oil
1″ piece ginger, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.


Then add an equal amount of olive oil or peanut oil.

On the day you are serving the salad, bring all of the different salad elements to room temperature, including the dressing.

Remove the paper towels, and toss the salad ingredients with the pineapple and red bell pepper.
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Chop the onion and add it to the salad along with the cilantro. Right before serving, add the dressing and toss well.

If you’re serving the salad buffet style, mix in the ramen noodles and nuts at the very last minute so they stay crunchy. This is what I used because I couldn’t find ramen noodles. You might be shocked but I’ve never bought them before.
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This salad is truly a fabulous summer salad, and great for entertaining.
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You can change up the ingredients of the main salad. It can be all cabbage, or more lettuces, whatever you like.
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If you can’t find macadamia nuts, you could use peanuts or almonds, toasted, of course.


It would also be a really good salad with grilled chicken or salmon!!!
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note: I would have used a fresh pineapple if I could have found one. But the pineapple that’s canned with juice and not heavy syrup worked out well.

62 thoughts on “Polynesian Salad

  1. An interesting combination of ingredients and I like thinking of it with meat or fish as well. These days a main dish salad is a staple at our house.

  2. Oh, I love toasted ramen noodles SO MUCH… that I never buy them! ;-)

    really, I cannot stop munching on them, straight from the bag…

    great salad!!!!

  3. This is beautiful, Mimi. I think the grilling of the fruit and toasting of the nuts are the details that elevate a salad like this to stardom. I also love the addition of the noodles for texture. And i’m a sucker for the purple of the cabbage. It’s a feast for the eyes as much as the mouth!

  4. This sounds just delicious! It makes such a beautiful presentation, and although the ingredients are simple, in combination they seem very elegant. I am really happy to give this a try! It sounds so tasty, Mimi.

    • That’s what I meant when I said it isn’t a sophisticated salad. Which isn’t my style anyway, but it is fabulous for such simple ingredients!

  5. I love the nasturtium garnish! We use the flowers and a couple years ago started using the leaves for their peppery bite. A great alternative to arugula. Also, your photography skills just get better and better. I’m in awe. :)

    • You are so sweet! Thanks! With food photography, it’s about planning, keeping the dogs away, and patience. And not forgetting what I planned!

  6. This salad looks so colorful and refreshing! I love the addition of the chow mein noodles! I will definitely keep this in mind for summer!

    • I never thought I would eat a salad with chow mein noodles, but the crunch was great! Iknow a lot of chinese chicken salads have them, but i don’t normally order those because restaurants make the dressings overly sweet!

  7. The salad looks amazing! I have made something similar..perhaps a simplified version of your recipe. I think next time I will be adding in the pineapple. And yes, it is the perfect crowd pleaser :)

  8. Finally catching up on my blog reading and see this marvelous creation. I love it & it would work so well for the weather we’ve been having here in the Boston area. (We’re melting!)

    • Sorry – I just found this unanswered comment! Our real summer just began a few weeks ago, so I’m trying not to complain. We’ve had worse. Fun, refreshing salads do seem to help!

  9. This looks fantastic! Maybe I’m just not very fancy, but this seems pretty sophisticated to me! Those toasted macadamia nuts look especially irresistible.

  10. That was so funny, about what you said, that your husband is afraid you hide liver in his food. My husband is afraid I hide walnuts in his food. :)) they’re are so weird.

  11. Hi Mimi! I’m stopping by to say hello! It’s been a while. I hope you’re doing excellent. Having moved out of wordpress.org has distanced me from my old wordpress.com friends but I think it’s getting better. Like I can comment on your post just as I used to without having to signup or anything. I just figured that out. Anyways. Lovely salad! Stay in touch!

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