Autumn brings a whole new palette of fruits and vegetables to choose from. Gone are summer's the peaches, strawberries, and melons and in their place come apples, pears, grapes, pumpkins, and cranberries, among others.
Our salad today makes use of the luscious fall fruits and nuts to make a crunchy, rich salad that holds up to the heartier dishes of fall and winter.
Cranberries are one of the nutritional darlings. High in anti-oxidants and essential nutrients and vitamins, they taste delicious and add a sweet and tangy richness to our salad. Grapes and pineapples are rich in Vitamin C, manganese, and many other essential nutrients.
All nuts have good things to offer besides a nice crunch and satisfying richness. My choice for this recipe is walnuts. Though any nut would be acceptable, walnuts pair so well with apples and grapes. Walnuts are rich in Omega 3 and oleic acids which helps lower bad cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. They are also reputed to have properties that help prevent stroke and cancers.
This salad is made to be served as a side dish on the plate with roasted meats and poultry. It is delicious with roasted turkey (think Thanksgiving!). Any leftovers can be mixed with the leftover turkey and the extra salad dressing to make a light but flavorful turkey salad that is especially refreshing after a day of heavy feasting!
If you would like to serve a salad as a first course, toss the fruits with a sturdy green like romaine and add some blue cheese for a salty contrast. The fruit salad can also be added to brown rice, couscous, or quinoa for a satisfying side dish or light meal. It can even be lightly sautéed with onions and incorporated into your favorite stuffing recipe.
Finally, think breakfast! Stir leftovers into some Greek yogurt or a bowl of steel cut oatmeal for a hearty and flavorful breakfast.
Harvest Fruit Salad
- 3 TBS honey
- 3 TBS red wine vinegar
- 2 -3 TBS sugar (or sweetener)
- Zest of 1 lime
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 3/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup diced Granny Smith apple
- 1 cup seedless grapes, halved
- ½ cup dried cranberries (or 1 cup fresh berries)
- 1 cup diced pineapple
- 1 cup chopped, toasted nuts
- Mix the honey, red wine vinegar, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, dry mustard, paprika and salt until dissolved. (Determine the amount of sugar by the sweetness of the pineapple and grapes.)
- Add the celery seed.
- Slowly pour in the oil, whisking to make a thick emulsion.
- Set aside.
- Put the apples, grapes, berries, pineapple, and pecans in a large bowl.
- Add just enough dressing to coat the salad; you will not need it all.
- Gently toss so as not to break up the fruit.
Classes made possible through the generosity of Hillcrest Family YMCA & Legacy Village Giant Eagle