Sweet Leilani Luau Salad


Don’t let those warm, seductive summer nights go to waste! Liven up the season with a little summer magic by sweeping off the patio, dusting off the outdoor furniture, and creating a hawaiian paradise. it’s so easy. a potluck luau is a fun theme to bring friends together for a blast of outdoor fun and games. and the fun begins at the door as you greet everyone with a lei and a kiss. a few decorations and some hawaiian music help to create that island utopia.

Invite everyone to bring foods in keeping with the theme. Your contribution might be this luscious luau dish blessed with the sweetness of fresh pineapple, contrasted with the tang of lime juice and savory flavor of Tamari, all folded into a kaleidoscope of bright summer colors. 

leilani luau

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 fresh pineapple, trimmed and cut into bite-size chunks, reserve the top for garnish
  • 1 pound zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thin julienne-cut 1.5 inches long
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thin julienne-cut 1.5 inches long 1 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 5 minutes and drained
  • 1/2 cup roasted macadamias 2 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 mini bell peppers cut into thin rings, for garnish
  • Large parsley sprigs for garnish


1. Combine water and quinoa in a 2-quart saucepan. cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and steam for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes. Then, remove the cover and allow to cool.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, combine the pineapple, zucchini, red and yellow bell pepper, parsley, cilantro, fresh garlic, lime juice, tamari, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in a very large bowl. Toss well and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, macadamias, olive oil, and cooled quinoa. Toss well to distribute the ingredients and flavors evenly. 4. Spoon the salad into a large serving            platter, heaping it high into the center. Place the reserved pineapple top in the center and hang the mini pepper rings from the pineapple to resemble hawaiian leis. Decorate the platter with clusters of fresh parsley.

Zel Allen is the author of 2 vegan cookbooks, The Nutty Gourmet and Vegan for the Holidays. She and her husband Reuben are also known for throwing L.A.’s best luaus. Summer 2013


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