When I used to live in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, I really enjoyed the fruit concoctions there. I was not accustomed to consuming produce that was frequently tossed in a dressing containing lime juice and salt - tucked in with a little kick from a jalapeño pepper or chili powder! Everything that I ate in that lovely country was scrumptious. And the people that I met were some of the warmest individuals that I have ever known.
So today, I'm sharing a gluten-free, vegan fruit salad that I created this week - which is perfect for the summer - and reminds me of Mexico. It's sweet, citrusy, and mildly spicy! And the cucumber that I've incorporated into this salad pairs beautifully with the luscious strawberries, mangoes, fresh pineapple, spicy jalapeño pepper, and pungent red onion - tossed in an avocado/citrusy dressing.
This festive fruit salad is a great side dish with grilled chicken, fish, pork, marinated tofu, corn on the cob, and my black bean burgers that are topped with guacamole and pico de gallo. And it's super EASY to make!
If you like cilantro, I would recommend garnishing your own serving of fruit salad with this herb right before you eat it - versus adding cilantro to the entire bowl of salad. That way you won't have wilted cilantro in any leftovers that you may have on hand the next day.
If you make this dish, I'd love to know how it turns out! Happy cooking and eating!
Yield: Around 5 3/4 cups (Allow yourself to listen to your hunger/fullness cues)
1 cored pineapple, diced (3 cups)
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced (Around 1 cup)
1 cup strawberries, quartered
3/4 cup red onion, cut into thin 1-inch strips
3/4 cup English cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped (If you use a different type of cucumber, you'll want to seed it)
4 to 6 teaspoons jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (Around 1 small pepper) (Adjust to taste)
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped, for garnish (Optional)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (Around 1/2 a naval orange)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (Around 1 lime)
3 tablespoons avocado oil (Or olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (Adjust to taste)
1. In a large bowl, combine the chopped pineapple, mango, strawberries, onion, and cucumber. Slowly add the minced jalapeño pepper - one teaspoon at a time - tasting as you go until the salad is as spicy as you prefer.
2. Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk the freshly squeezed orange juice and lime juice together first. Then slowly add the avocado oil whisking continuously. Next, add the salt to the dressing and whisk until well combined. Adjust to taste.
3. Pour the dressing on top of the fruit salad and stir well. Adjust to taste. If you're eating the entire fruit salad the day that you serve this dish, go ahead and garnish it with fresh cilantro right before you serve it (Optional). If you prefer to have leftover fruit salad for the next day, serve the chopped cilantro in a separate bowl and let your guests garnish their individual serving of fruit salad with the herb to avoid wilted cilantro the next day. Enjoy!!