Funky fresh fruit salad with ripe seasonal fruit and naturally sweetened coconut whipped cream. The perfect fruit salad to bring to a picnic or barbecue.
Oh yeah, that Memorial Day Weekend… Happeniiiiiing…NOW!
Long weekends are my favorite for playing in the mountains and putzing around in the backyard, so imagine my surprise when I woke up and realized we’re plummeting headfirst into one this very second.
Weather? Supposed to be nice. Activities? Mountain bike my face off. Food plans? All the grill. Side dishes? Fruit salad and fruit salad some mo’.
For me, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer even though there are still three-ish weeks until the summer solstice. It’s the first uuuge barbecuing weekend of the year, where we break out our sundresses, sangria, and steak…to me, all the aforementioned = summer. Never look back. Never surrender.
As for summer side dishes? This fruit salad (or as I like to call it, The Only Fruit Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Need) is PERFECT for whipping up and bringing to your Memorial Day Barbecue…slash any barbecue/grill out…slash any picnic…fruit salad for life.
It’s all things…
- Fresh and seasonal
- Naturally sweetened
- Super flavorful
What do I do to “dress” a fruit salad? Homemade coconut whipped cream, my friends. I simply refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk for a few hours (overnight works, too), scoop out the hardened flesh, and stick it in a stand mixer along with honey, vanilla extract, AND lemon extract. Whip those ingredients together with a pinch of sea salt, and you’re looking at the best thing since sliced bread…or mayo.
For all my extracting needs, I use Nielsen-Massey brand extracts. They’re all super high quality and you get amazing natural flavors with each extract. I used Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Vanilla Extract and their Lemon Extract in the whipped coconut cream, and you guys: amazing. Why Tahitian vanilla, you ask? Because its fruity floral notes make it perfect for using in cold desserts. Read up on how to choose the right vanilla for all your cooking and baking purposes HERE! Most importantly, the extracts give the dish something special…a little je ne sais quios that makes you try to put your finger on the mystery ingredient. I had to stop myself from annihilating the whipped cream with a spoon prior to it seeing the likes of fruit.
- Definitely refrigerate your can of coconut milk prior to preparing this recipe – the longer the better. If your coconut flesh isn’t super solid when you go to whip it, you’ll end up with a watery fruit salad (which is fine if that’s your jam).
- If you don’t have a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, no big deal! You can use a mixing bowl and a hand mixer.
- You can use any Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract (their classic Bourbon Vanilla would be perfection) and also their Orange or Rose extracts. Essentially, you can get frisky with the flavors here, according to your personal palate.
- Replace the honey with pure maple syrup or agave to make this recipe vegan.
- Incorporate any of your favorite in-season fruit. Did you buy a ton of blueberries and raspberries from the Farmer’s Market? Toss them in? Obsessed with all things melon? Melon to your heart’s delight. Love Banana or apple in fruit salad? In they go, amigo!
- If you don’t have fresh mint on hand, you can omit it from the recipe OR use fresh basil instead.
Have a wonderful, relaxing, safe, delicious Memorial Day Weekend!
Kitchen tools I used for this recipe:
Fruit Salad with Lemon Coconut Whipped Cream
Coconut Whipped Cream:
- 3 cups strawberries halved
- 3 cups green grapes
- 2 cups ripe peaches pitted and chopped (2 )
- 1 cup large ripe mango peeled and chopped (1 )
- Zest of 1 lemon or lime
- 3 leaves large fresh mint finely chopped
Add all of the ingredients for the coconut whipped cream to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Start mixer on low, then gradually work up to the highest speed. Whip until very thick and fluffy.
Add all of the fruit to a large serving bowl, along with the zest and mint. Add the coconut whipped cream and toss until everything is well-coated. Taste the fruit salad and add more honey if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
You only need the coconut flesh (or coconut cream) from the can of coconut milk. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk for at least 3 hours (overnight is better). When ready to make the coconut whipped cream, scoop only the hardened cream out of the can, saving the coconut water for later use, such as a smoothie.
I was compensated by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for my time in developing this recipe and post. All opinions are my own.