Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce {Cartagena, Colombia}

This Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce is a great way to enjoy lunch during the height of grilling season.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Grilled pineapple is one of the hottest items to ever come off our grill. That smoky charred exterior and warm, softened texture lure my family in like bees to honey. I like to serve the pineapple with grilled pork chops or pork loin, or most any cut of chicken, using some kind of sweet soy or barbecue sauce marinade.

This Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce heads down a little different avenue, but the grilled pineapple disappears just as quickly as ever.

*  This is a sponsored post, created in partnership with Princess Cruises.

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

This grilled chicken and pineapple sandwich was inspired by a similar sandwich that we enjoyed (many times) at the International Cafe during our Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess. The cafe was a frequent stop for us, where we would order beautifully crafted hot and cold coffee drinks, hot and cold teas, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. And when we came back to the ship after a long, HOT day touring Cartagena, Colombia, we were exhausted. We needed refreshment and nourishment.

Tessa’s request?

She wanted a grilled chicken and pineapple sandwich and a frozen piña colada from the International Cafe.

And then to play in the pool, of course.

Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Our family was excited to visit Cartagena, one of the largest ports of South America, as we had never before set foot on the mainland of this continent. And, hey, I was a Romancing the Stone movie fan, where Cartagena was the main locale (even though the filming actually took place in Mexico).

The excursion that we chose for exploring Cartagena that day included a good amount of variety. We visited an old Spanish fortress, walked the streets of the Old City, and toured the shiny high rise coastline by speedboat.

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas at Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

We started with a tour of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, a sprawling fortress built by the Spanish for protection against pirates while shipping gold and silver out to Europe.

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas at Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

The fort sits majestically on a hillside overlooking the harbor and city, providing a striking contrast of this historic and modern seaport.

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas at Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

 

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas at Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

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Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas at Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Our Colombian guides appeared unfazed by the high temperatures and humidity that day, telling us, “this isn’t even hot”. But we were a sweaty, sticky mess. The sun was intense. Thank goodness we were prepared with backpacks full of water and some snacks.

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas at Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

 

Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas at Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

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Torre del Reloj Público (Public Clock Tower) in Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

After leaving the fort, we spent a couple hours walking the narrow maze-like streets of the famous “Old City”. The Torre del Reloj Público (Public Clock Tower) was once the main entrance to this walled city.

Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Lined with colorful buildings of Spanish Colonial architecture, we had the opportunity to shop and eat, and to just “watch life”.

Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Women wearing brightly colored dresses, either balancing fresh fruit baskets atop their turbaned heads or sitting by a small table on the street corner selling cups of just-cut fruit, were a common sight. Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

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Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

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Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

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Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Vibrant colors were everywhere.

Cartagena, Colombia - from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

My eyes were drawn to the many balconies, often with brightly colored flowers or lush green foliage cascading over their rails.

Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Built in the center of this historic walled area, the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria is one of the most recognizable figures in the skyline of Cartagena.

Monasterio de San Pedro Claver in Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Another prominent building is the Monasterio de San Pedro Claver. The church is named for Saint Peter Claver, a priest who spent much of his life caring for the African slaves who were shipped to the Americas.

Bocagrande neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

The final portion of our tour had us out on the water, a bit of refreshment for our bodies not used to the sweltering heat. We boarded a speed boat for a view of the city from the harbor, which provided another very different perspective of Cartagena. This is the Bocagrande neighborhood, known for its hotels, condos, shops, and restaurants.

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Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce from afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Now here’s that recipe for the Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce.

The creamy basil sauce was something I added on my own, rather on the fly. While I was outside grilling the chicken, I spent a few minutes picking weeds out of our nearby herb garden, where the basil was starting to flourish. So I picked a few big leaves and incorporated them into the recipe. The easy-to-make sauce was a hit with our family, and made it to the final edit of the recipe. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich with Creamy Basil Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 16 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 c. mayonnaise
  • 3/4 tsp. powdered garlic
  • 8 thin vertical spears fresh pineapple
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Kaiser rolls or your favorite elongated sandwich bread
  • 8 thin slices fresh tomato
  • 8 thin slices fresh red onion

Directions:

Prepare the creamy basil sauce by blitzing the basil, mayonnaise, and powdered garlic in the bowl of a small food processor, or with an immersion blender, until smooth. Set sauce aside.

Heat grill to medium to medium-high heat. Make sure grates are scrubbed clean and then oiled. (To oil the grates, add some vegetable oil to a small bowl. Then fold a heavy paper towel a few times to make a smaller square. With a tongs, grasp the folded paper towel and dip it into the oil until the paper towel is drenched. Then run the paper towel over the grates, repeating until all grill grates are thoroughly oiled.)

Place each chicken breast in a sealable plastic baggie and pound as thinly as you can without breaking up the breast. Rub a little olive oil over both sides of chicken breasts and then season fairly generously, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When grill is heated, place pineapple spears on hot grates for just a minute or two on each side, or until nicely charred. Remove to a plate and set aside. If desired, place the cut side of the bread rolls on the hot grates to grill them for a bit, too. Oil grill grates again and place chicken breasts on the grates. Grill for just 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until nicely charred. The chicken is thin, so be careful to not overcook. Grilling time will depend on size of individual chicken breasts, so this may take more or less time. Pull the chicken off the grill and let it rest for a couple minutes, and then slice each breast in half to best fit each half on a bun.

To assemble sandwiches, spread some of the creamy basil sauce onto the bottom of each bread roll. Add two slices of tomato, half of a grilled chicken breast, two slices of red onion, and 2 spears of grilled pineapple to each roll. Add the top portion of the bread roll. Enjoy.

Inspired by a similar sandwich served at the International Cafe on the Coral Princess during our Panama Canal Cruise.

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Disclaimer:  This trip was sponsored by Princess Cruises. Our family was honored to be guests of Princess Cruises on this cruise to the Panama Canal, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share it all with you. Thank you for supporting us and the brands we so carefully choose to work with. All opinions expressed are our own.