A Christmas morning tradition in my family ever since I can remember has been a bowl of crisp fruit salad that mixes the freshest fruit of the winter season with chopped dates and crispy coconut flakes. The salad keeps in the refrigerator for several days, especially if the dressing is kept on the side rather than mixed into the fruit.
Easy to make, our Christmas morning fruit salad provides a light and healthy start to a day when much more food is sure to follow. Lately, we have made it several times throughout the holiday season because it makes absolutely delicious addition to a meal or a perfect snack.
2 sweet apples (I use Honeycrisp)
2 pears (any variety)
2 cans Mandarin orange segments in their own juice (or 4-5 fresh Satsuma tangerines)
2 cups seedless red or black grapes
8 pitted dates
3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp. butter
1 cup mayonnaise, vegenaise or Greek yogurt
3/4 cup good quality honey
1. Wash the apples, pears and grapes. Core and chop the apples and pears into bite-sized pieces. Place in an extra-large glass serving bowl.
2. Remove the stems from the grapes and add the grapes to the bowl.
3. Peel and chop the bananas and add to the bowl.
4. Drain the Manadarin orange slices and add to the bowl, or if using seedless Satsuma tangerines, peel and break into segments and add to the bowl.
5. Toss the salad to evenly distribute the fruit.
6. Chop the dates and add to the bowl.
7. In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the coconut and stir continuously until the coconut flakes crisp and brown. Remove from heat once the coconut browns. Don’t overcook.
8. Spoon the coconut over the salad. (I don’t drain the butter.)
9. Toss to distribute the coconut and dates evenly.
10. Mix the honey an mayonnaise (vegenaise or yogurt) in a bowl or measuring cup until well combined.
11. Serve fruit salad chilled. Spoon the desired amount of dressing over the salad, mix and enjoy a taste of winter’s sweetness.
Note: This fruit salad is gluten-free, and by using vegenaise is vegetarian. Because honey is included, this recipe cannot be considered vegan.