These BBQ pulled pineapple lettuce wraps are not some kind of practical joke! Pineapple can be turned into “shreds” in a similar way to jackfruit, and its natural sweetness makes it a great vehicle for a healthier barbecue sauce flavor profile. These wraps are flavor bombs that are tangy, sweet, smoky, and nutritious too!
You may have noticed I haven’t posted a new recipe in a while… I listened to a rather compelling podcast about digital minimalism and started to worry about my technology habits. I deleted most apps (including Instagram and Facebook) from my phone, tried to limit my computer usage to certain times of day.
Honestly I feel happier! But, it’s hard to keep up with the blog when I’m not online, plus my day job has been quite busy. (In between testing vegan cakes 14 billion times, I still have a 9-5 as a software engineer). Still figuring out my ideal balance, a perpetual work-in-progress!
I made these lettuce wraps back in July during my WFPB/oil-free/sugar-free month. I would have given a lot of side eye in the past to the idea of a BBQ dish with no added sugar*, but this BBQ pulled pineapple is seriously ridiculous. The natural sweetness and juices from the pineapple do the trick, and everything else was already in my pantry.
It’s super easy to make this smoky, savory pineapple dish. Just use your hands to pull apart the pineapple into “shreds”. Then saute it in a pan with garlic and onions (or skip that part and use garlic powder and onion powder, for an oil-free version). Add some BBQ seasoning and cook until it’s juicy and thickened.
The best way to serve up this unique little dish is inside lettuce wraps, IMO. It’s juicy and messy, so embrace it. I topped the BBQ pineapple with some of my green tomato salsa, and a little bit of raw cabbage for crunch. You definitely need something crunchy for contrast, so whether it’s cabbage, crushed tortilla chips, or some kind of roasted nuts (cashews would be great), be sure to get that texture in your version.
I’m doing another new food challenge for the month of August but I’m so behind on posting recipes, it’ll be a while til I address that, so stay tuned! In the meantime, during this last phase of summer I hope you enjoy these BBQ pulled pineapple lettuce wraps!
BBQ Pulled Pineapple Lettuce Wraps
This BBQ pulled pineapple is a flavor explosion, but low on calories and fat, making it the perfect light appetizer. Serve it in lettuce cups for a delectable little treat.
For the BBQ pulled pineapple:
- 12 oz fresh pineapple pieces with its juices
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 white or yellow onion thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp molasses
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 3/4 tsp paprika (smoked or hot, or a combination)
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
For the lettuce wraps:
- 1 head butter lettuce separated into leaves
- 1/4 head purple cabbage shredded (or something else crunchy for texture)
- green tomato salsa or other salsa or hot sauce, to taste
Use your hands to pull apart the pineapple into "shreds". Keep the juices.
In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the sliced onion with a pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, 4-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 60 seconds more, until fragrant. Add the pineapple and pineapple juices, and stir to combine.
Add the rest of the BBQ pulled pineapple ingredients and stir well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened onto the pineapple (see step-by-step photos), about 10 more minutes.
Serve warm in lettuce wraps by adding a big spoonful of the pulled pineapple into a piece of lettuce, and topping with a little bit of salsa and red cabbage to taste.
OIL-FREE: I tested an oil-free version of this. Instead of the oil, onion, and garlic, skip the saute step and start by adding the pineapple to the pan. Follow the rest of the recipe as written but add 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp onion powder.
SUGAR-FREE: To remove added sugars (note - recipe still has natural sugars from pineapple, tomato paste, etc.) omit the molasses and add a little bit of extra soy sauce.