Thai-Style Pineapple Rice

By: Jody Paglia Tanzman, RD,LDN,CLC

In the summertime I love to incorporate fruit into savory dishes. The summer months, when the best tasting fruits are available, are all too short! In this dish, I used fresh pineapple. Its vibrant, sweet and sour taste works well in Asian dishes, and it’s also tremendously good for you, containing high levels of vitamin C and manganese, both of which fight free radicals within the body. Pineapples also contain bromelain, an important enzyme which aids digestion and reduces inflammation.
You can serve this pineapple rice as a side dish or add in a high quality protein so it can also stand alone as the main dish. I used red rice for its flavor, color and texture, but brown or black rice would also be a good choice. The rice must be cooked and refrigerated a day or two in advance so that it will sauté to a crunchy texture. Though classic Thai dishes use fish sauce for authentic flavor, I do provide a vegetarian alternate for those who are excluding fish from their diets. The flavor will not be exactly the same, but it will still be good!

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  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small white onion, cut in half length-wise and thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 in (2.5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups mixed fresh vegetables of your choice (such as broccoli, snow peas and red bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce***
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw or dry roasted cashews
  • 4 cups cooked red Thai rice, 1 or 2 days old
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
  • 2 scallions, sliced on the bias (put 1 T aside for garnish)
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (put 1 tsp aside for garnish)
  • 8 fresh lime wedges


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the sliced onion, garlic and minced ginger and sauté for about 3 minutes, stirring often so that the garlic does not burn.
  2. Add the mixed vegetables and desiccated coconut and sauté until the vegetables are tender and the coconut has browned, about 8 minutes.
  3. Mix together the fish sauce and the coconut sugar, and add to the pan.
  4. Mix in the cashews, then the rice. Let the mixture cook in the pan for 3 minutes, without stirring. The goal is to develop a bit of crunchiness on the exterior of the rice.
  5. Next fold in the cubed pineapple. Continue to sauté until all of the ingredients are cooked through, about another 3 minutes.
  6. Fold in the sliced scallions and chopped cilantro.
  7. Portion the rice into dishes. Squeeze a fresh lime wedge over each portion. Garnish the tops of the rice with the reserved sliced scallions and chopped cilantro. Serve and enjoy!

***Vegetarian substitute for the fish sauce:

  • 1 tbsp reduced sodium tamari
  • 1 tbsp vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp ponzu sauce
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and use in place of the fish sauce in the recipe.

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 60 minutes

Servings: 8

  • Nutrition per serving:
  • Calories480
  • Fat11g
  • Saturated Fat6g
  • Cholesterol0mg
  • Sodium540mg
  • Carbohydrates87g
  • Fiber6g
  • Sugars6g
  • Protein 10g

Yields and nutritional information are estimated and will vary depending on produce size and equipment used.

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Jody Paglia Tanzman, RD,LDN,CLC

Jody is a Registered Dietitian and trained professional chef. She is a graduate of Boston University and received her post-baccalaureate degree in dietetics at Hunter College. She also attended the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. Jody has cooked for numerous well-known restaurants and catering companies throughout NYC, including Gramercy Tavern and the green, sustainable catering company, The Cleaver Co. Jody is a frequent recipe contributor to several online blogs. Her articles on gluten and celiac disease have been referenced on numerous websites, and she is currently at work on a gluten-free cookbook. Jody also works as a Culinary Advisor for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, creating new, high quality menu items that meet strict parameters for nutrition and wellness. Her most favorite job, however, is being a mom to two boys.

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