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Hawaiian Haystacks

Sweet, sour, crunchy, crispy, soft. Variety of flavor, texture and color is what makes this meal fun for everyone. (And the fact that it’s on the table in less than 30 minutes, and you can use up leftover rice makes it pretty fun for you, as the cook!)


We all like to customize our own food (that’s one reason why Costa Vida, Subway, Chipotle and pizza restaurants are so popular!). The more options, the more fun, too. If you need to feed a crowd, this is a great option, because you can please all types of eaters. If need be, you can put chicken, cheese, and chow-mein noodles out for those who like it, and then everyone should be able to find something they like.

You want options that are crunchy (like nuts and celery), some sweet (like pineapple, coconut, and mandarin oranges), and some contrasting flavors like green onions. I think the green onions really make the flavors pop.

How do you eat Hawaiian Haystacks? What are your favorite toppings?

5 from 2 votes
Hawaiian Haystacks
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins

This build-your-own meal is perfect for crowds-everyone can customize their own with their favorite toppings. 

Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 haystacks
Sweet 'n Sour Sauce
  • 1 20-oz can pineapple chunks (in 100% pineapple juice)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider or white)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
Brown Rice
  • 1 cup brown rice, dry
Toppings--anything goes! Here are some suggestions:
  • green onions (this one is a must, in my opinion!)
  • tomatoes
  • bell pepper
  • olives
  • flaked coconut
  • chopped peanuts, almonds, or cashews
  • grated carrots
  • mandarin oranges
  • celery
  • spinach
Brown Rice
  1. In a small saucepan, cook 1 cup rice with 2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt. While cooking, make the sauce and chop the toppings. 

To make the sauce:
  1. Drain the pineapple chunks to create 1 cup of juice. If you don't have enough juice, add water to make 1 cup. 

    In a saucepan, whisk pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic powder, ginger and cornstarch together, while cold. 

    Turn on medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Stir and let simmer until thick, 3-4 minutes. 

    Remove from heat and add pineapple chunks from the can. I only add about half the can. 

To assemble meal:
  1. Chop toppings and put each one in a little bowl. To create your haystack, spoon rice onto your plate, pour sauce and desired toppings on top. 

    Makes enough sauce for about 4 haystacks. 

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  1. I love this take on Hawaiian Haystacks. Almost like stir fry, but with different toppings. My kids love this meal, because they love getting to build their own dinner!

  2. Hawaiian Haystack has been a family favorite for years, but my recipe used white sugar. I was so glad to find this recipe using honey instead. It is delicious. Everyone likes build-your-own meals, and this one is a real family pleaser.

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