Written by our friend Rachael of La Fuji Mama
I love picnics. There’s something about eating while sitting outside on a blanket spread on the ground that seems to make food taste better to me. It also helps that I love picnic foods. Whether it’s a good sandwich, some chicken wings or a potato salad, I’m all in! One of my favorite picnic sides is a fruit salad, though I have found that certain fruit salads work better than others for picnicking. Those with creamy, dairy-based dressings tend to get watery and gross as they sit.
I decided it was time to whip up a version that would stand the test of time in a cooler and still taste fresh, while being a bit more than a bowl of cut fruit. I thought about some of the dishes I’ve eaten in Asian countries that included fruit. I love the use of green papaya and mango in Thailand in savory salads – the fruit adds a bit of sweet and sour, added color and extra texture. I also love the combination of coconut milk and fruit in desserts in China – the creaminess of the coconut milk is delicious with the acidic sweetness of the fruit. Thinking about what made those dishes successful, I built my fruit salad around those same ideas.
I decided on a mix of pineapple, honeydew melon, red grapes and California avocados for the fruit based on different colors, flavors and textures. For the dressing I decided on freshly squeezed lime juice mixed with honey for sweetness and freshly grated lime zest and chopped fresh mint for extra flavor pop.
For an extra treat and added flavor and texture, I toasted some flaked coconut to use as a garnish.
The finished salad was even better than it was in my head. Tart, sweet, crunchy and creamy, it definitely delivers on flavor. Even better is the fact that it will keep for a good 4 hours in the refrigerator or a cooler and still taste freshly made. For picnicking, I packed the salad in individual servings in small glass canning jars and packed the toasted coconut in its own container, which I used to garnish the salads once we sat down to eat. This salad is perfect for Spring and Summer picnics, potlucks, parties or family dinners and would be delicious served with anything from hoagies to barbecued ribs.
Asian Fruit Salad with California Avocados
Recipe created by Rachael Hutchings of La Fuji Mama for the California Avocado Commission.
Prep time: 12 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
Total time: 24 minutes
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 large pineapple, cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 large honeydew melon, cut into chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup seedless red grapes
- 2 ripe Fresh California Avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 limes, juiced
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated lime zest
- 1 Tbsp. roughly chopped mint leaves
- Put the flaked coconut in a skillet over medium-low heat, and cook until the coconut is lightly toasted, making sure to stir constantly so that the coconut does not burn (about 6 minutes). Put the coconut into an airtight container and set aside.
- Put the pineapple, honeydew melon, grapes and avocados in a large bowl and mix them together.
- Whisk the lime juice and honey together in a small bowl or cup then drizzle it over the fruit. Add the lime zest and mint and toss everything together to coat.
- Put the bowl in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the salad.
- When you serve the salad, top it with the toasted coconut. If you are taking the salad on a picnic, divide it up between six small canning jars, and pack the jars into a cooler. Bring the coconut along in its airtight container and top the salads with it when they are ready to be eaten.