When I posted the recipe for the Wayside Inn Carrot Cake this summer, I mentioned a block party I attended with my folks. I love parties where everyone brings something – there’s always some “new to me” recipe to meet (along with a few friends! Hey, it’s not always all about the food!) This Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad one I had there and I just can’t seem to stop making it!
This fruit salad was brought by some dear friends of my folks and I gravitated towards it immediately – it was a welcome change in a sea of wonderful (but not necessarily healthy) foods found at parties. Bright, fresh with just a hint of sweet and a touch of tang, the vanilla in the dressing just takes all that fruit over the top.
About Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad:
Of course, I immediately asked for the recipe (which was seemed to be originally on AllRecipes) and have made it three times since, with just a few touches of my own. I especially like that the dressing will go so well with so many different fruits. I’ve even taken to making a batch of the dressing and when I need to round out a lunch or dinner, I just pull out the jar and drizzle it over whatever fruit hanging around on the counter or in the fridge.
The simple dressing goes so well with so many different fruits so that gives you endless possibilities to customize to your liking or maybe to follow the seasons. I like to choose a “base fruit” or two of something that’s plentiful and inexpensive and a little bulky to fill out the salad, maybe grapes and/or bananas, a melon, apples or pineapple depending on the time of year.
Then I’ll choose additional fruits that are gorgeous and seasonal. Maybe strawberries or melons in the spring, peaches, nectarines, berries in the summer, and when autumn rolls around, blueberries, pears, and so on. Winter always seems the time for the more tropical fruits, although the fruit salad shown was made before Christmas and chose to add in some red and green! The pomegranate seeds, I swear, just made the salad!
Making Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad:
So not only do I change the fruit up a lot in this salad, but I also tinker with the dressing And this little dressing for the Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad couldn’t be…well…simpler. It’s your basic “simple syrup” which is just sugar dissolved in water. Now the original suggest using brown sugar (see my post on Homemade Brown Sugar) but I think I prefer white sugar; I think it lets the fruit flavor shine through more.
I’ve also taken to changing up other things here and there. One day I drizzled in a little spiced rum in the dressing instead of vanilla (hey, in my defense, we’d had a cocktail the night before and it was on the counter!) Now and then I’ll add a little finely grated ginger. The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination – and good taste! 🙂 So think of this little recipe as a guideline.
The one thing that shouldn’t be skipped is to toss any fruit prone to browning in a little lemon juice. Don’t let it sit in the lemon which could make it mushy but just be sure to coat it. Bananas should be thickly cut or they’ll just about dissolve in the salad. This salad is best if made two or three hours ahead so the fruit picks up the flavor of the dressing.
Saving Money on Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad:
Now if you’ve been in the store and are tempted to pick up the-lovely precut packages of mixed fruits – don’t! Not if you’re budget conscious, anyway. Four to ten times as much as buying your own, they’re not a money saver. If you examine those packages you might find what you have are quite a few inexpensive fruits with only a few of the pricier ones.
You can do the same in your fruit salad to bring it in on a budget. Choose for the backbone of your salad some of the cheaper (and bulkier) fruits. Depending on the season, those might be apples, bananas, grapes, honeydew or cantaloupe, and maybe naval oranges and pineapple. Then punctuate the fruit salad with the more expensive options, starting with what’s on sale and what looks good.
If you do have leftover fruit salad and it begins to look a little lackluster, don’t toss it! Instead, toss it in the blender with a little ice, juice or yogurt for the most wonderful smoothies! Talk about a leftover makeover!Print
Citrus Vanilla Fruit Salad
- Total Time: 20 minues
- Yield: 10 plus servings 1x
- Category: Salads Fruit
- Cuisine: American
- 2 oranges, 1 zested, both squeezed, about 2/3 cup
- 2 lemons, zested and squeezed, about 1/3 cup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, other extract or alcohol of your choice
- 10 cups of assorted fruits, cut in bite sized pieces
- lemon as needed
Allrecipes suggest this fruit, but do see my suggestions in the body of this post and my suggestions to bring this fruit salad in on a budget.
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
- 3 bananas, sliced
- 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
- 1 cup seedless grapes
Bring juices and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in zest and vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.
Note on amounts: the amounts of fruit juice doesn’t have to be exact but for best results do try to get close; addional fruit on hand is always a good idea in case any of them are “stingy.”
Toss any fruit in danger of browning (bananas, peaches, etc.) in lemon juice to preserve the color. Layer fruit in a glass bowl, sturdiest fruit on the bottom. Drizzle with the dressing. Toss just before serving.
Best if salad is made two to three hours ahead so the fruit picks up the flavor of the dressing.
Keywords: Berries, Fruit, fruit salad, Salad, Salad Dressings
I’ll be posting this little recipe on two link parties; a link party is a weekly posting where bloggers from all over “bring” a dish. They’re great places to see a roundup of recipes from various bloggers all in one place.