Friday, April 5, 2013

Taste of The Tropics Fruit Salad

Who wouldn't want to wake up on a tropical island listening to the waves lap the sand and smell the sweet salty air?  I, for one, say absolutely! It's April in NY and we have been getting 35 mph winds and it snowed just 2 days ago. I decided if warm weather isn't coming then I am going to take measures into my own hands, creating dishes in my kitchen that will transport me to warmer climates. This fruit salad is a taste of the tropics in every single bite. It has every element you could want, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, crunchy and creamy. An added bonus, this salad is incredibly healthy to boot!

Let's talk about a few of the more unusual ingredients that I used in this salad that I feel you should be introduced to and, hopefully come to love!

First let's talk about the ugli fruit. It looks a lot like a grapefruit going bad, but I assure you, it most definitely is not. This bruised and, yes ugly, fruit has a taste that I describe as being a combination of lemon, grapefruit and orange. It has a very creamy texture compared to other citrus fruits and has an incredible amount of juice that can be used in dressings, your morning juice or as a marinade. I was introduced to this fruit by my best friend, who used it in a salad dressing recently and said "you have to try this." My toddler loves citrus so I gave it a whirl. I assure you, this ugli guy will be a staple in our fruit bowl from now on.

The second ingredient I want you to grow to love, plantains! These are a starchy staple in Latin American cooking and we just love them in our house. This particular recipe uses the plantains in their chip form. They add the salty and crunchy element that many fruit salads lack, in my opinion. Make sure when you buy them they contain plantains,sea salt and a healthy oil only, they do not need any other ingredients to be delicious.

The third, and last ingredient I want to talk about is maple syrup. This is not an uncommon ingredient, by any means, but I like to use it in uncommon ways. This sweetener is all natural, full of antioxidants and doesn't affect your blood sugar the way that regular sugar does. I like using it in fruit salads, making a sauce of it and the fruit juices. It brings a smokiness to the salad that is deep, and coats every bite. I used to use agave nectar, but I have been reading some disturbing things lately about it and none of it is produced locally so I decided to ditch my use of it and stick to locally made things such as, maple syrup and honey.

This recipe is written for 3 servings, but feel free to double the recipe easily without problems.



5 Organic strawberries, hulled and chopped.

1 Ugli fruit, peeled and segmented.

2 White grapefruit, peeled and segmented.

3 Mandarins, peeled and segmented.

1 Fair trade banana, peeled and chopped.

3 Tbsp shredded, sweetened coconut

3 Tbsp fair trade plantain chips, crushed.


Juice from any fruits you segmented, grapefruit, ugli fruit, mandarins.

2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice, from half an orange.

1 Tbsp local maple syrup.

Pinch of  sea salt, optional, I like the balance it gives.


Layer strawberries, ugli fruit segments, grapefruit segments and mandarins in 3 serving bowls.

In a small bowl mix together all dressing ingredients with a whisk. Pour equally over the fruit.

Add banana slices to the top, I leave these out of the dressing because they fall apart when too wet and the texture becomes unappealing.

Top the salad with coconut and plantains, 1 Tbsp for each bowl.

Serve and enjoy, preferably near a sunny window where you can daydream about sea breezes!

Leave some love below!

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