This Healthy 2-Ingredient Dessert Reminds Padma Lakshmi of Her Childhood

You'll never think about the term "fruit snack" in the same way again!

Padma Lakshmi and grilled pineapple
Photo: Getty Images / LauriPatterson / Michael Kovac

Considering the fact that she literally wrote the book on seasonings in 2016—​​The Encyclopedia of Spices and Herbs: An Essential Guide to the Flavors of the World—it's only fitting that food writer, Top Chef and Taste the Nation host, EatingWell guest editor and mom Padma Lakshmi adds some spice to her sweets, too.

This isn't just something Lakshmi embraced recently as part of a buzzy food trend, however. She shared on Instagram this week that a certain beautifully balanced, two-ingredient healthy dessert idea has been on repeat on her menu since she was young.

In the caption for her quick Instagram video, Lakshmi says, "Grilled pineapple with lots of Tajín! Sometimes it's the simple things that give you the most pleasure and luxury. 🍍 Anyone else love adding chile and salt to fruits? We did it all the time when I was growing up in India.🔥🌶"

When Lakshmi was younger, she'd add chile, fresh lime and sea salt to green mango. And now, as an adult, Lakshmi is still enjoying and passing down this tradition to her daughter, Krishna, via grilled pineapple wedges dusted with Tajín.

Unfamiliar with Tajín (pronounced Tah-HEEN)? For a quick summary, Lakshmi describes it in the video as "salty, sour and [it] has a little chile in it. It's not too hot, but it's delicious." For a deeper dive, check out our complete Tajín 101 guide.

Tajín Clásico Seasoning is a blend of mild chile powder, dehydrated lime and salt. It was created in Mexico as a spice-aisle product in 1985 and was inspired by the chile-and-lime combination that's been used by home cooks for centuries. Think of it like chili powder's tangier cousin, or the less-vinegary sibling of hot sauce. Less fiery hot and more zippy, this spice mixture is often used to rim drinks (such as our Beer Cocktail with Lime & Tajín). It's also a star of sweet and savory dishes and plays nicely with plain fresh fruits, as Lakshmi demonstrates.

Fans from Mexico, the U.K., India and beyond chimed in via the comments to share additional Tajín fruit basket pairings, including:

  • Cherries
  • Mangoes
  • Oranges
  • Watermelon
  • Apples

Others recommended pairing it with crunchy, hydrating and mild vegetables like cucumber and jicama.

To follow Lakshmi's lead, seek out a fresh pineapple (BTW, The Correct Way to Store Pineapples, According to Experts), then use a sharp chef's knife to cut the pineapple into wedges or planks. Preheat your indoor grill pan or outdoor grill to medium, then use tongs and a oil-dunked paper towel to oil the grates. Grill the pineapple, turning to each side once, until slightly charred on all sides, about 12 to 15 minutes. Then use tongs to transfer the grilled pineapple to a platter, dust with Tajín and dive in!

If you're lucky enough to have extra—or another—pineapple handy, shake up one of our 10 best pineapple cocktail recipes to pair with your Lakshmi-inspired dessert.

Up Next: Padma Lakshmi Says This 3-Ingredient, Gut-Healthy, Chilled Cucumber Soup Is So Good, You'll Want to Drink It

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