If you’re having a ham for Christmas, you’re likely to have a bit leftover, especially if your ham is as big as the ones we had when I was growing up. We had leftover ham for days on end. But I thought it was fantastic because I love ham. So if you’ve got some leftover ham this year, this recipe is for you… Warm Ham and Pineapple Salad with Easy Garlic Croutons. You’ll love it!
Admittedly back in the day, we mostly had simple ham salads or sandwiches to use leftovers, both of which I still love eating to this day. But another family favourite was when Dad would cut thick ‘ham steaks’, pan fry them, and serve them with a slice of pineapple. There’s something about a ham and pineapple combo that’s just perfect. And I bet most kids would agree with that since ham and pineapple pizza, aka Hawaiian pizza, is still the most favourite kids’ pizza of all time (at least in Australia).
Reminiscing about ham and pineapple pizzas got me thinking about a new way to serve this combo. I wanted to make something that was seriously delicious, with the saltiness of ham and the sweetness of pineapple, but that also had some of the punch of a more adult-style pizza. Thus, the Warm Ham and Pineapple Salad with Easy Garlic Croutons was born. What an excellent way to use up leftover Christmas ham!
But before we get into the recipe, let’s briefly talk about ham.
When choosing ham, have a good look at the ingredients because they might surprise you. Always choose a ham that’s as close as possible to the ‘real thing’, i.e. a piece of pork. The further your ham gets away from pork, the more additional ingredients there are to consider. This is particularly an issue for pressed hams that have all sorts of stuff holding them together, which I recommend avoiding. And, good quality ham tastes so much better.
Try choosing a ham that’s at least 90% pork or, better yet, 95% pork. The bits of the ham that aren’t pork are fillers (normally sugars and carbohydrates), which are used to bulk it up along with added water. So the purer your ham, the more meat and the more bang for your buck. I’ve seen hams with as low as 80% pork, which you should definitely avoid.
Aside from meat content, the other reason for buying a higher quality ham is because many fillers are problematic for people with food intolerances. So to avoid FODMAPs (or gluten), you need to be particularly careful about the hams you choose and read the ingredients list very carefully.
Okay, back to the recipe…
I’ve written this recipe to serve 1 person, making it super easy to scale up for the number of people you’re cooking for. It’s best to make this just before serving so the ham, pineapple and garlic croutons are still warm.
Which brings me to the garlic croutons. These awesome bites are what helps to give a pizza feel to this recipe. And they’re made using a little trick that keeps the fructans at bay, while still giving you loads of garlic flavour… garlic-infused olive oil, which is a low FODMAP ingredient because the fructans in the garlic can’t leach out into the oil. The other trick is simple too… use low FODMAP bread that suits your needs, such as a spelt sourdough or a low FODMAP gluten-free bread.
So how about making this Warm Ham and Pineapple Salad with Easy Garlic Croutons with your leftover. The delicious and extremely flavourful combination will surprise you and you’ll be wishing you had leftover ham all year round. But don’t worry, you can still buy ham specially to make this recipe any time of the year – I do!
Warm Ham and Pineapple Salad with Easy Garlic Croutons
Makes: 1 serve (but it’s super easy to scale up for a family)
Serving size: 1 plate of salad
Special equipment: nothing special, just a frying pan
- 75g of ham in a thick slice, at least 1cm thick
- 1/3 cup (60g) pineapple pieces (canned in pineapple juice)
- A handful of baby spinach
- 1/2 of a medium tomato, chopped
- 1/3 of a Lebanese cucumber, chopped
- 6 Kalamata olives (optional)
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp pineapple juice (from the canned pineapple)
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard (I use Maille brand)
- 1 piece of low FODMAP bread (spelt sourdough or gluten-free bread)
- 1/2 tsp garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Make the dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
- Heat a small non-stick frying pan over low to medium heat.
- Chop the ham into cubes and cut the pineapple into small pieces. Fry the ham and pineapple, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until they brown and caramelise on the surface. The ham and pineapple don’t actually need cooking, just warming up and browning a little.
- Meanwhile, make the croutons by toasting your piece of bread until browned and crispy. Combine the regular and garlic-infused olive oils in a small bowl and then drizzle over the toast (I do this by slowly pouring it from a teaspoon). Cut the toast into cubes.
- To serve, arrange the spinach, tomato, cucumber and olives (if using) on a plate. Top the salad with the croutons, ham and pineapple. Serve immediately.
- If you can eat dairy, a little cheddar, feta or parmesan cheese would go nicely.
- I use the Maille brand Dijon mustard, which doesn’t contain added ‘spices’ (i.e. garlic).
- If you’d prefer to use fresh pineapple instead of the canned option, you’ll need to cook it for a few minutes longer until it softens, and use white wine vinegar in the dressing.
- If you need this to be gluten-free, make sure you check the ingredients of the ham very carefully and of course choose gluten-free bread.
- Garlic-infused olive oil is a low FODMAP ingredient because FODMAPs are not soluble in oil. It’s safest to use a commercially-prepared garlic-infused olive oil. I like to use the Cobram Estate Garlic Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which you can find in supermarkets.
- This recipe is naturally dairy-free, nut-free and gluten-free (with the right ham and bread). However, if you have an allergy to any of these items, or have coeliac disease, please check the labels on any purchased ingredients to ensure they are safe for your requirements.