Summer Fruit Salad with Kefir Poppy Seed Dressing is one of my favorite ways to cope with the avalanche of fruit that tumbles into my kitchen every year, right about now. Our eyes are always bigger than our fridges when it comes to late summer fruit, and this is one delicious solution.
I really look forward to making one of these ginormous summer fruit salads every year…just like the Thanksgiving turkey, or my collection of holiday cookies, this colorful tradition marks the end of summer like nothing else. I make it just when I’ve got so much fruit I don’t know what to do with myself. There are blueberries left over from a blueberry cake, figs from a fig salad, and all sorts of cherries, berries, and random stone fruit ~ in fact every time I go shopping I come home with more, it doesn’t even begin to fit in the fridge. Time to get serious.
Full disclosure ~ I’m not always so virtuous, sometimes when we’re up to our eyeballs in fruit I will make another one of the family’s favorites ~ a Summer Jumble Fruit Crumble…i.e. I pile it into my gratin dish, top it with a quick crumble, and bake it off into one irresistible dessert. It’s a good way to use up all that ice cream that we seem to have accumulated in the freezer, too :)
But today I am feeling the health vibe…the fruit is left naked, just chopped or sliced into bite sized pieces, and tossed into a large bowl. I love watching the heap grow as I chop and slice away, with each new fruit adding its own special color and flavor to the mix. The best part is that delicious mixed fruit nectar that starts to collect at the bottom of the bowl…yum.
For my summer fruit salad I used:
- grapes, all colors and types
but of course I could have used other summer fruit like melon like cantaloupe and honeydew, strawberries, pineapple, etc. In fall and winter I’d use apples, pears, figs, citrus, pomegranates, persimmons, cranberries, etc.
The kefir poppy seed dressing is simple, but tangy and delicious. Kefir, if you haven’t had it, is cultured milk, very much like a thin yogurt. It’s got probiotics just like yogurt, and is super healthy
The dressing can be changed up just like any yogurt or buttermilk based dressing. I left it simple today because we’re eating our fruit for breakfast, but you could add lemon, honey, mint, vanilla, or any number of flavors.
When the annual fruit avalanche hits your kitchen, I hope you’ll try this! It’s a great dish for entertaining, I like to serve it for brunch, especially. And keep this idea in your back pocket for the holidays, too, there are plenty of great fall and winter fruits than can stand in for the berries, etc.
Summer Fruit Salad with Kefir Poppy Seed Dressing
- 8 cups assorted summer fresh fruit and berries (allow about a cup of chopped fruit per person)
- 1/2 cup kefir or yogurt thinned with milk. For vegan use thick coconut milk or non-dairy yogurt
- 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
- honey to taste optional, I didn't use
- lemon juice to taste optional, I didn't use
- Cut large fruit in bite sized chunks, and smaller fruit like cherries, grapes, or blackberries in half. Leave other berries like blueberries and raspberries whole. Arrange them in a wide shallow bowl. (This helps keep the weight of the fruit from crushing the delicate berries, etc.)
- Blend the kefir with the poppy seeds, and the honey and or lemon, if using.
- Drizzle the dressing over the fruit just before serving.
- Note: The dressing can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated, but the fruit should be cut as close to serving as possible.
Make this summer fruit salad your own ~
- Make it with yogurt ~ just add milk to thin it down.
- Make it vegan and dairy free ~ try thick coconut milk or coconut yogurt instead of kefir.
- Make it dessert ~ consider macerating the fruit first, that is, toss with some sugar and the seeds of a vanilla bean, and let sit for an hour in the refrigerator to get the juices flowing. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.