Polynesian Salad

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.

By Published On: July 15th, 201562 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

62 Comments

  1. apuginthekitchen July 15, 2015 at 8:13 AM - Reply

    I love the salad, it sounds so crunchy and refreshing. It’s a great recipe.

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 8:21 AM - Reply

      Everybody loved it, although my husband didn’t even try it. He was really worried that I’d put vinegar in the dressing. What a weirdo!

      • apuginthekitchen July 15, 2015 at 9:22 AM

        LOL I take it he doesn’t like vinegar

      • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        No! And he is always suspicious that I’ve hidden liver in dishes I make!

      • apuginthekitchen July 15, 2015 at 9:30 AM

        Lol imagine you sneaking vinegar in his food

  2. Antonia July 15, 2015 at 8:14 AM - Reply

    Looks delicious! I love all of the textures and flavors it has.

    • chef mimi July 16, 2015 at 2:08 PM - Reply

      Thank you! I love spending time crunching on food!

  3. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso July 15, 2015 at 8:49 AM - Reply

    Looks wonderful! I especially like the pineapple-soy dressing. Great idea! :)

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 8:58 AM - Reply

      The dressing did come out really good. I altered it from her original a bit, and I would have added heat to it if it wasn’t for the crowd I was feeding!

      • Tasty Eats Ronit Penso July 15, 2015 at 9:17 AM

        I’m not much into very spicy foods, but I can definitely see the benefits of adding a few drops of hot sauce in there… :)

      • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 9:24 AM

        Exactly! Or some cayenne pepper flakes! Even the Italians use that!

  4. lulu July 15, 2015 at 9:52 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 9:55 AM - Reply

      My favorite dish to have! Unless there’s cheese around…

  5. savannabel July 15, 2015 at 10:09 AM - Reply

    Love all the colors! It must have looked terrific on the July 4th table!

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 10:12 AM - Reply

      You’re right! Great food is so colorful!

  6. emmabarrett1508 July 15, 2015 at 10:46 AM - Reply

    Wow. This looks delicious. Love the photography too Mimi. Hope you and the family are well. Emma xx

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 10:52 AM - Reply

      Thanks Emma! Give that little Alice a squeeze for me!!!

  7. Julie is Hostess At Heart July 15, 2015 at 11:40 AM - Reply

    I can see why you were anxious to make this salad! It is amazing and am adding it to my also must make list!

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 12:03 PM - Reply

      It was really good, and everyone loved it – especially the crunchy bits!

  8. StefanGourmet July 15, 2015 at 12:10 PM - Reply

    Love the dressing especially!

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 5:08 PM - Reply

      Thanks Stefan! It was good, and mine was way less sweet than the origiinal recipe. I just don’t like overly sweet anything!

  9. sallybr July 15, 2015 at 3:08 PM - Reply

    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!!!!

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 5:09 PM - Reply

      They were definitely good with the mac nuts!!!

  10. Amanda | What's Cooking July 15, 2015 at 3:37 PM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi July 15, 2015 at 5:10 PM - Reply

      I love purple cabbage, orange carrots, and green greens together!!!

  11. anotherfoodieblogger July 15, 2015 at 4:52 PM - Reply

    I love everything about this salad! The ingredients, the dressing, the colors!

  12. The Gourmet Gourmand July 15, 2015 at 10:46 PM - Reply

    This looks so simple and so healthy!! Yum!

  13. Debra July 16, 2015 at 12:05 AM - Reply

    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.

    • chef mimi July 16, 2015 at 7:45 AM - Reply

      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!

  14. elderjscott July 16, 2015 at 6:28 AM - Reply

    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. :)

    • chef mimi July 16, 2015 at 7:46 AM - Reply

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

  15. Jenny July 16, 2015 at 7:13 AM - Reply

    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!

    • chef mimi July 16, 2015 at 7:47 AM - Reply

      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!

  16. NickkiT July 16, 2015 at 4:32 PM - Reply

    Looks delicious – I would love this!

  17. DellaCucinaPovera July 17, 2015 at 1:14 PM - Reply

    toasted ramen – that is effin genius!

  18. Fine Dining at Home (@fdathome) July 17, 2015 at 2:20 PM - Reply

    Hi Mimi, I can’t decide if it reminds me more of Bombay mix or pad Thai! Dressings sounds delicious. Think I’ll have it in the side next time I make black cod.

    I’m working on a trip to Stephane’s!

    • chef mimi July 18, 2015 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      Oh you must! We’ve already planned our third trip! He’s kind, knowledgeable, and funny to boot!

  19. Marcela (tortadellafiglia) July 17, 2015 at 4:43 PM - Reply

    Your salad looks amazing! I bet it tastes fantastic!

  20. tableofcolors July 19, 2015 at 12:36 AM - Reply

    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 :)

    • chef mimi July 26, 2015 at 7:27 AM - Reply

      the pineapple was a nice addition – I think mango would work, too. It was a fun salad!

  21. dianeskitchentable July 20, 2015 at 2:30 PM - Reply

    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!)

    • chef mimi July 26, 2015 at 7:29 AM - Reply

      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!

  22. CakePants July 29, 2015 at 10:48 AM - Reply

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

    • chef mimi July 29, 2015 at 12:26 PM - Reply

      Well, it’s not kale and burrata! That’s kind of what I meant! The crunchy bits were wonderful!

      • CakePants July 29, 2015 at 12:38 PM

        Ooh, if sophisticated = kale, I’ll take unsophisticated any day. Still haven’t quite cultivated a fondness for kale!

      • chef mimi July 29, 2015 at 12:45 PM

        me neither!!! we don’t get it.

  23. oceanviewkitchen August 3, 2015 at 6:07 PM - Reply

    this salad sounds amazing! Like the addition of the pineapple. Very refreshing!!!

  24. Lynz Real Cooking August 10, 2015 at 6:52 PM - Reply

    This looks and sounds so delicious!love the grilled pineapple!

    • chef mimi August 10, 2015 at 7:19 PM - Reply

      Thank you! It was a perfect addition to this salad!

      • Lynz Real Cooking August 10, 2015 at 7:27 PM

        Yes I think so! nice!

      • chef mimi August 11, 2015 at 9:05 AM

        It was really fun!

      • Lynz Real Cooking August 11, 2015 at 9:06 AM

        yes it looks fun but lots of flavors, I always like that!

      • chef mimi August 11, 2015 at 9:07 AM

        And great textures!

  25. silviamagda April 8, 2016 at 2:05 PM - Reply

    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.

  26. Paul Palop April 27, 2016 at 5:34 PM - Reply

    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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