Sunday, July 16, 2017

5 Amazing Fruit Salads

     Summertime in Florida is a time of beautiful skies, long days at the beach, and picnics. It's also the time of oppressive heat. One of my favorite things to do to cool off and stay hydrated is to eat fruit. Every one of my picnics typically has some kind of fruit, or fruit salad. So I figured I'd share with you a few of my favorite fruit salad recipes.

1. This salad is a sweet take on an Italian classic salad. It's amazing how well fruit goes with the rich flavor of balsamic vinegar. Other fruit suggestions to try- peaches, blackberries, mangoes, or papaya.

Fruity Caprese

4 cups Watermelon, seeded and cubed
3 red Plumbs, sliced
2 cups Strawberries, chopped
2 Tomatoes, chopped
2 Mozzarella Balls, cubed
½ cup Fresh Basil, torn
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Combine watermelon, plumbs, strawberries, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Mix them together well. Coat with olive oil (about ¼ cup), sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Toss again. Chill in refrigerator 2 hours. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar right before serving.

2. This salad really shines because of the lemon thyme syrup. Any melon will work well in this salad, as well as any berry, so have fun and try new combinations! Bonus: you can use the left over syrup to make some fun summer cocktails! Or even just to flavor your iced tea, lemonade, or water.

Berry Melon Thyme Salad

1 cup Honey
¼ cup Water
the Juice and Peel of 1 Lemon
4 large sprigs of fresh Thyme
2 cups each: cubed Cantaloupe, cubed Honeydew
1 cup each: pitted fresh Cherries, Blackberries, and Blueberries

For the syrup:
Combine honey, water, lemon peel, lemon juice, and thyme in a saucepan on the stove. Bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the lemon peel and thyme sprigs. This syrup will keep for several weeks, refrigerated.

For the salad:
Toss together the fruit in a bowl. Drizzle about 1/3 cup of the syrup over the fruit and toss again. Refrigerate up to 2 hours before serving.

3. The syrup used with this salad is perfect for apples, and any other fruit that has a tendency to turn brown really fast. The citrus juices help keep fruit looking freshly cut for much longer. It also goes really well with tropical fruit. For a tropical twist, try pineapple, papaya, mango, kiwi, and/or starfruit.

Fruit Salad with Citrus Poppy Seed Syrup

¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Lime juice
¼ cup Orange juice
Splash of Grapefruit juice
¾ teaspoon Poppy Seeds
1 pound Strawberries, sliced
1 pound grapes (any color), halved
3 Tangerines, peeled and separated into sections
1 cup Raspberries
1 cup Blueberries
1 Pear, cored and chopped
2 Red or Yellow Apples, cored and chopped
1 Green Apple, cored and chopped
2 Bananas, sliced

For the syrup:
Combine honey with citrus juices. Whisk vigorously until well blended. Slowly whisk in poppy seeds.

For the salad:
Peel and cut the fruit in the order listed, saving the pears, apples, and bananas for last. Immediately coat with the poppy seed syrup and toss.

4. This salad has an amazing texture, and is a bit more hardy than other fruit salads, because of the addition of quinoa. The vinaigrette is also jam packed full of amazing flavor, and can be used on any salad, so I tend to make extra. You could also change up the fruit here, try it with pineapple, kiwi, banana, guava, papaya, strawberry, dragon fruit, prickly pear, or blackberry.

Southwest Quinoa Fruit Salad

¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Lime juice
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup fresh Cilantro leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon crushed Chipotle Pepper (or more if you want it really spicy)
1 cup uncooked Quinoa
2 cups Watercress, torn or chopped
1 ½ cup Watermelon, seeded and cubed
1 cup Blueberries
1 Avocado, diced
1 Mango, diced
½ cup Feta, crumbled

For the dressing:
Combine honey, olive oil, lime juice, salt, cilantro, and chipotle in a blender. Blend until well blended.

For the salad:
Cook the quinoa as directed on the package and let cool. Combine all other ingredients and lightly toss. Add in the quinoa and toss well. Drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad. Toss one last time and serve.

5. This recipe is a bit boozy, so adults only! But it's so tasty and if you want to make it safe for the younger generations, just leave out the rum and use ¼ cup water instead. Other fruit that go well in this recipe include strawberry, pineapple, cherry, watermelon, blackberry, banana, pomegranate, dragon fruit, peach, or green apple.

Cucumber Melon Salad with Mojito Glaze

¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Rum of your choice (I prefer white rum for this recipe)
2 tablespoons Lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh Mint leaves, finely chopped
½ medium Honeydew melon, cubed
1 medium Cucumber, sliced
½ pound Green Grapes, halved

For the glaze:
Combine honey, rum, and lime juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the mint leaves, cover and let cool down to room temperature.

For the salad:
Combine honeydew, cucumber, and grapes in a large bowl. Drizzle glaze over fruit and toss well. Chill up to 2 hours before serving.

In any of these recipes, feel free to change the fruit around. Play with different dressings and glazes. Use ginger instead of mint in the mojito glaze, or try using a strong herbal tea anywhere you see water or juice. Have fun, play around, and let me know what you think below!

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