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Hawaiian Grilled Fish Salad with Pineapple

Republished with permission from, August 15, 2003

If you're bored with the same old seafood recipes, here's a fish dish with a tropical flavor that should perk up your palate. It'll also protect your heart, as it contains a number of healing ingredients that address some of the most important causes of heart disease: high cholesterol and triglycerides, inflammation, and poor blood circulation.

The omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish address all of these risk factors, making seafood one of the healthiest entrees for anyone with heart disease. But other ingredients in this recipe deserve mention as well. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that is gaining fame for its ability to combat inflammation. Onions contain quercetin, which prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol. And spinach is loaded with folic acid, which helps reduce levels of the artery-damaging compound homocysteine.

The recipe that follows also contains two spices that should be used liberally by anyone concerned about heart disease: ginger and cayenne. Both are antioxidants that help protect arteries from free-radical damage and enhance blood flow, reducing the likelihood of dangerous blood clots. Like the pineapple enzyme bromelain, both relieve inflammation, which is a key factor in heart disease. Cultures that use these spices liberally have much lower rates of cardiovascular disease than Americans do.

Serves 6

6 firm fish steaks or fillets (salmon or halibut, about 6 ounces each)
1 small sweet onion or red onion, finely chopped
2 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple in juice
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced
  1. Rinse fish in cool water and pat dry.
  2. Combine oil, lemon juice, and ginger and coat both sides of fish.
  3. Refrigerate for up to an hour.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare Pineapple Salsa (see recipe below).
  5. Preheat grill or broiler.
  6. Place fish steaks on foil on grill or under broiler and cook 2-4 minutes per side, or until fish begins to flake when tested with a fork.
  7. Divide spinach and romaine among six plates and place a grilled fish steak on each.
  8. Top with pineapple salsa (steps 9-11) as a dressing.
  9. For salsa, heat oil in a medium skillet.
  10. Add bell pepper and onion and sauté until soft; about 4 minutes.
  11. Add crushed pineapple, raisins, cayenne, lemon juice, and ginger; sauté until pineapple is warm; about 4 minutes longer. Salsa can be made ahead up to 24 hours, but bring to room temperature before using.
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