Creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut Dressing ~ it’s grandma’s potluck classic spiffed up and brought into the 21st century with a non-dairy vegan coconut lime dressing, and trust me, you won’t miss the marshmallows, the sweetened condensed milk, the instant pudding, or the Cool Whip one bit!
Fruit salads are one of the best perks of warmer weather. You make them when you start to amass those inevitable leftover bits and bobs that just magically accumulate in the kitchen. A few berries, a last sprig of grapes, a stray orange and kiwi, half a pineapple…and all of a sudden you’ve got yourself the makings of an epic salad.
If you ask me the best fruit salads should have tons of variety, here’s what’s in mine ~
- three varieties of melon (watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew)
- four kinds of berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)
- two citrus fruits (orange and grapefruit)
- two types of grapes (black and red)
- mango, passionfruit, kiwi and pineapple
and I could have kept going, what about apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries, apricots…
I like to try to keep small berries whole, and keep the rest of the fruit chopped or halved, in the same size, if possible. It makes the salad look harmonious and makes it easier to eat.
Benefits of a non-dairy creamy coconut fruit salad dressing ~
- your lactose intolerant and vegan friends can dig in.
- you can use tropical fruits like papaya, kiwi, and pineapple (some of my favorite fruit salad ingredients!) They contain an enzyme called bromelain that interacts with dairy ingredients and results in a bitter taste, so you can’t combine them with dairy products like milk, condensed milk, or yogurt.
- you’ll get a tropical flavor boost from the coconut milk that’s so refreshing in warm weather.
- this dressing is healthier than classic creamy fruit salad dressings made with artificial ingredients like instant pudding and whipped topping.
I’ll look the other way if you want to spike your salad with some rum. Then you’d basically have a piña colada fruit salad!
Tips for making and transporting fruit salad with creamy coconut dressing ~
- Fruit salad is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t keep well. It’s a fact and we’ve got to deal with it.
- Make your dressing ahead, but cut and assemble your fruit salad as close as possible to when you want to serve it.
- If you need to transport your salad, keep it well chilled, and plan to dress it on site, just before serving, otherwise the dressing will get watered down.
- Make extra dressing to serve alongside the salad if you like.
- Resist the temptation to add bananas to your salad, they don’t keep well.
Creamy Fruit Salad with Coconut Poppy Seed Dressing
6 cups total:
- melon, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew peeled and chopped
- berries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
- citrus fruit, orange and grapefruit supremed
- grapes, black and red whole or sliced in half
- mango, peeled and chopped
- passionfruit, peeled and chopped
- kiwi, sliced and cut into wedges
- pineapple, peeled and chopped
- 1 can full fat coconut milk, you can also use coconut cream which is thicker and richer
- juice of 1 lime, if your lime is very dry you might need more
- 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 Tbsp sugar or honey, or to taste
- In a large mixing bowl combine all the fruit.
- If you are using coconut milk open the can and carefully drain off 1/4 cup of the clear liquid. Put the remaining coconut milk in a small bowl with the sugar, poppy seeds, and lime juice. Blend well with an immersion blender. You can also use a whisk, but I like the texture you get from blending. Take a taste. You may want to add more lime, or adjust the sweetener.
- If you are using coconut cream measure out about 2/3 cup and proceed as above.
- Gently toss the salad with plenty of dressing and serve asap.
More fruit salads to try ~
- Summer Fruit Salad with Kefir Poppy Seed Dressing
- Kale and Fall Fruit Salad with Cider Poppy Seed Dressing
- Great Island Curried Chicken Salad Plate