My Favorite Fruit Salad Recipes
These fruit salad recipes are super simple, and can be enjoyed before or after your main meal, or as a between meal snack. The low-protein, low-fat, high antioxidant and potassium content of fruits perfectly complement the nutrient-dense, high-protein lean or higher fat meats which are higher in sodium.
Fruits are also generally sweet and/or sour in flavor, with some being slightly bitter. They pair well with meats, providing a balance of the four (or some say five) main flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent, plus they add a little juicy sweetness to life. The more you choose foods which provide a blend of the five flavors, the more satisfied you will feel, possibly eating less.
Fruit is the part of a plant that it actually wants you to eat, to help spread the seed. The stalks and leaves of many vegetables and other plant foods, including whole grains and beans, contain 'anti-nutrients' ~ compounds which are part of the plant's own self-defense mechanism, designed to ward of predators that could destroy it before it bears fruit. Eating the ripe fruit, and passing on the seed is part of our symbiotic relationship with the plant that helps is propagate. Most species of animals, including humans, and plants are hard-wired ~ evolutionarily speaking ~ to want to carry on the genetic line. It's part of Nature's grand design.
Pairing the ideal primary staples (produced or found locally) with supplementary foods that perfectly complement one another, and are abundantly available in most temperate and tropical climates is a macrobiotic principle that makes sense.
Ideally, choose fruits during their natural season, and purchase those that are as locally sourced as possible. It is hard to know at supermarkets because labeling is not mandatory, although the country of origin may be identified. Do your best to support local growers, or choose produce that is from your own country over that from a completely different climate and country.
One of the macrobiotic principles that I discussed in The Macrobiotic Action Plan, Your MAP to Greater Health & Happiness, is to choose foods as locally grown as possible, especially highly perishable foods like fruits and some fresh greens and vegetables. It's more supportive for your health, the health of local environments, and sustainability of resources.
It's all a matter of choices, so just do your best to choose ripe fruits ~ organic and locally grown when it is within your budget or ability to do so ~ to make a delicious fruit salad.
Berries make a great addition to any fruit salad. They are among the highest in antioxidants with their deep blue, purple, and red hues, and have a low glycemic index, which is especially important for those who are insulin resistant and have blood sugar imbalances (low or high blood sugar), and difficulty losing and maintaining weight loss.
Try any of these combinations for a simple and refreshing fruit salad:
- Blackberries tossed with cara cara or navel orange segments, some chopped dry roasted almonds, and optional drizzle of (raw/local) honey. Honey was consumed by many of our European ancestors, and other hunter-gatherer tribes.
- Blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries tossed with chopped dates that have been soaking in water to soften, chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, a spritz of lemon, and some of the soaking liquid from the dates. If maintaining a lower-carbohydrate diet, just use the soaking liquid of the dates for a little sweetness. Eat only what you feel good eating.
- Berries with citrus, chopped almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts, and a drizzle of honey is just such a great combination. Add shredded unsweetened coconut if desired for a treat, however, coconut is a tropical fruit which needs to be imported, so use mindfully.
Hazelnuts can be roasted first. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and roast for about 15-20 minutes at about 325º. Remove, and cover with a clean towel. Rub gently to remove the outer skins. The roasting brings out the wonderful aroma and nuttiness. Walnuts and pecans can be roasted first as well. I often soak almonds or walnuts over night first, then let them roast on a lower heat for a longer period of time ~ until more crisp, and less chewy ~ to improve the digestibility of the nuts.
Do your best to buy as locally grown in-season fruit as possible for your fruit salads.
Remember Waldorf Salads? I love them as an afternoon, between meal fruit salad. They are so refreshing. They make a great appetizer to a meal as well.
My Basic Apple / Waldorf Fruit Salad Recipe:
- 1 apple per person, chopped
- 1-2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Tiny pinch of sea salt
- Drizzle of honey
Toss all ingredients in a bowl, and enjoy.
Variations: Add some of the chopped rehydrated prunes, raisins, or dates that have been soaking in water, along with some of the soaking liquid for added sweetness. (See below.)
You can also spritz the salad with a bit of lemon to add zest and prevent oxidation of the apples. For sweetness without honey, add a little cinnamon. I sometimes add a grind of cracked black pepper.
A super easy way to enjoy a quick fruit salad, and get your 'sweets' fix is to keep dried fruit ~ preferably unsulfured ~ such as prunes, raisins, or Turkish apricots in a jar covered in water in the fridge. They make a nice sweet syrup the longer they sit.
For an extra sweet touch, add a cinnamon stick. I keep a pyrex bowl of prunes covered in water with a cinnamon stick almost all the time. It makes the best thick sweet syrup after a few days.
Prunes are lower in fructose than glucose which may make them more tolerable for many, especially those who have digestive issues when consuming too much fructose at a time.
Enjoy cold or hot, as they make an excellent warmed fruit salad as well! ~ See recipe below.
Prunes & Walnuts ~ Cold or Warm: Two super easy fruit salad recipes
- Place rehydrated/soaked prunes in a bowl with 1/4 cup chopped walnuts along with some of the soaking liquid. For added protein and healthy fats, top with a dense, whole fat natural sour cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese. Or have with a couple poached or hard boiled eggs, or good quality bacon!
If you prefer, you can warm it up. Try this delicious alternative on a chilly morning.
- Heat prunes and walnuts in a pot along with .5-1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1 tbsp. +/- grade B maple syrup, or better, a bourbon-flavored maple syrup. Yum! (Okay, if you must add a splash of real bourbon, have add it. The alcohol will cook out.)
- Also good with Turkish apricots.
Prunes are super high in antioxidants, and potassium, not just fiber.
Apples are also good cooked, like an apple sauce for another warmed 'fruit salad.'
Here is my basic stewed apple recipe:
- 4 apples, chopped
- Enough water to just cover the bottom of a pot
- Pinch of salt
- About 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and an optional pinch of ground clove or cardamom
- Sweetener (optional): Add a little honey, stevia, Xyletol, or other diabetic friendly sweetener, or real maple syrup as desired
- Also good with fresh/frozen cranberries, and/or raisins (good source of iron) or prunes
Place ingredients in the pot, and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until apples are soft. To make a thicker sauce, simmer
Top with chopped almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or pecans, and a dense, whole-fat yogurt or sour cream as desired.
*Note - to make a really dense 'cheese' from yogurt, place a strainer over a bowl, and line with cheese cloth. Add a container of whole-fat yogurt, wrap the cloth around it, and let it sit in the fridge. Alternatively, place a small plate on top, and add a little weight to strain the liquid through.
In Scandinavian countries, this type of 'cheese' is called Skyr, and is discussed in The Nordic Way, by Arne Astrup, Jennie Brand-Miller, and Christian Bitz.
Cooked fruit salads like the stewed apples is a great accompaniment to meats, like a lean center cut pork chop,
fresh off the cast iron grill pan!
Marinated & Grilled Lean Center Cut Pork Chop w/ Stewed Apples & Pan-Fried Kale, Carrots & Onions
Leftover pork buried under the Stewed Apples
Anything goes with fruit salads. I'm sure you have your favorite combination of fruits and/or fruits and nuts that you enjoy eating together. Here are some other great blends:
- Green grapes also pair well with celery and walnuts, or chopped almonds
- Watermelon and cantaloupe are very refreshing during the summer. Cantaloupe is a great fruit for those on a low-carb diet. For a special occasion, adding a little Amaretto, or hazelnut flavoring (or the real Frangelico liqueur if you just happen to have some on hand) and/or a spritz of lime and fresh chopped mint. I say if its a party, add the liqueur. It's really good on melon!
- Pears, fresh or dried figs, and thin sliced napa cabbage ~ toss with lemon and a little lemon zest, and grated and squeezed ginger juice.
- Strawberries (preferably organic or locally grown) can be mashed up a bit with a fork, then add balsamic vinegar, and a couple pinches of stevia, or 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup. Let it sit for several hours or overnight to macerate.
- Apricots, grapes, and chopped nuts or shredded coconut.
- Green grapes & cantaloupe are a refreshing combo.
Stewing fruit is a good way to use up dried fruit that has gotten really dry. Cook in a little water, and season if desired with ground clove, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or grated and squeezed ginger.
The fruit can be left whole, or blended and used like a preserves, or topping for grilled pork or chicken. It's also good on top of whole grain porridge ~ if eating ~ in the winter.
|Stewed Prunes, Apricots & Raisins w/ a hint of clove
For those who have blood sugar issues, have fruit salads with protein and/or a little fat. Nuts are one option. A little 4% cottage cheese, goat cheese, or whole-fat yogurt work as well, or toss with diced meats. Recipes here.