Pineapple Habanero Sauce
In honor of this recipe getting a recent feature on Prevention, I decided to give the photography a little makeover. Enjoy!
Mr E and I went on a recent winter getaway to Hawaii. And of course every meal in the weeks following involved seafood and some tropical theme. So when I went to my local grocery store and saw habanero peppers and a large bin of pineapples, I knew a Pineapple Habanero sauce would be born.
Don’t let its tough exterior intimidate you- pineapples are incredibly friendly fruits for our bodies! Once you cut off the spiky top and slice off the prickly sides, the yellow flesh found inside contains a wealth of vitamin C, thiamin, panthothenic acid, manganese, copper, folate, and fiber. These nutrients protect against cancer, asthma attacks, illness and infection, while helping increase energy levels. Another bonus? Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, found in the stem and juice, which has been found to treat indigestion and inflammation.
Although they can get a bad rap for their spicy factor, habaneros can light a fire against disease. Capsaicin, a compound that causes the burning sensation, has been found to regulate insulin levels after a meal, which may help those who have, or at risk for, type 2 diabetes. Once capsaicin teams up with the super antioxidants found in vitamins A and C, habaneros are a cancer-fighting powerhouse by inhibiting growth of cancerous cells. There is also additional research being done on the role of capsaicin in lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease. Throw in anti-inflammatory properties, and habaneros don’t seem to scary now, do they?
This simple Pineapple Habanero Sauce recipe has many uses: salsa, topping, or marinade. The great thing is you can make a batch and use it as see fit for the next week. While the sauce has a nice sweet flavor thanks to the pineapple, there definitely is a spice factor when the habaneros are involved, so use as much or as little as tolerated. The ingredients are quickly grilled or broiled to caramelize the flesh for added sweetness, while the heat releases additional juices for the sauce.
Salsa: Only do a few quick pulses in the food processor or blend to make a chunky salsa to enjoy on fresh cut veggies or whole grain chips.
Topping: Top your seafood, poultry, pork, or tacos with this sauce to give a spicy, sweet kick!
Marinade: Marinade any meat or fish prior to cooking. For a spicier flavor, allow to marinade longer. Timing can vary:
- Shrimp or Scallops: These can cook very quickly in marinade due to the pineapple’s acidity, so only do 10-15 minutes max depending on size of the shellfish.
- Fish: Thinner fillets, such as tilapia, flounder, or snapper, only need 15-30 minutes. Thicker fish steaks, such as swordfish, tuna, or mahi, can marinade 30-60 minutes.
- Chicken or Pork: Give a few hours (up to 6-8) due to thickness and toughness of the meat proteins. I like to pierce a few times with a fork to ensure the marinade gets deep into the center.
I can’t wait to hear what you think and how you use this sauce.
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- 6 pineapple rings approx 1 whole pineapple
- 1-2 habanero peppers seeded and cut in half
- 2 shallots quartered
- 2 cloves garlic quartered
- ¼ C cilantro
- Preheat broiler or grill pan.
- Broil or grill pineapple, habanero and shallot 3-4 minutes per side, until lightly browned.
- Place pineapple, habanero, and shallot into a blender or food processor, along with garlic and cilantro. Pulse to blend to desired consistency.
- Place in sealed container and place in fridge until ready for use. Sauce will keep for a week.
Per 2TB (no protein)= 70 calories, 0g fat (0g sat fat), 18g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g protein, 3 mg sodium (Source: SELF Nutrition Data)
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