Forget the unripe melon balls and mushy banana slices of yesterday’s fruit salad; it’s time to refresh and reinvent this delicious, beautiful and super-healthy classic for today’s modern palate. Best of all, most fruits are 0 SmartPoints® which means you can pack a flavourful punch for minimal points!
Take advantage of in-season fruit …
Although Canada’s fresh fruit growing season is relatively short compared to warmer climates, the growing season between May and September offers plenty of variety when it comes to locally grown fruit. Why choose local fruit over imported options? Unlike imported fruit, locally grown fruit is picked at peak ripeness right before being delivered to your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Buying locally is also a great way to directly support Canadian farmers and the local economy while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing air pollution.
… But don’t be afraid to step outside the produce box
Despite your best efforts to stay local, there are some fruits you won’t be able to find locally or in-season when you need them. Since imported fruit is picked well before it’s fully ripe, try to choose fruit that will continue ripening on your countertop. Fruits that fall into this category include cantaloupe (and other thin-skinned melons), apricots, bananas, kiwis, nectarines, pears, plantains, and plums.
Rethink your conception of fruit
Technically speaking, a fruit is a) something that grows on a plant, and b) is the mechanism for the plant spreading its seeds. Under the official definition, cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, tomatillos, and even olives are considered fruit, not vegetables. A combination of traditional and unexpected fruit will result in a sophisticated fruit salad full of interesting taste and texture combinations. A note that avocados and olives are some of the fruits that do have SmartPoints. Half of a medium avocado is 5 SmartPoints, and 10 olives are 2 SmartPoints.
Try grilling or broiling for intense fruit flavour
Does your fruit salad need a boost of sweetness? Try grilling or broiling underripe fruit, a process which caramelizes and intensifies the fruit’s natural sugars. To prevent the fruit from sticking to the grill, lightly brush each side of the fruit with a neutral-tasting oil. Watch the fruit carefully so it doesn’t burn, cooking for 3-4 minutes on each side. Grilled or broiled fruit can be served as a stand-alone deconstructed fruit salad or it can be combined with other fresh fruit salad ingredients. Watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, nectarines, plums, and pineapple are ideal fruit for grilling or broiling.
Finish a fruit salad with unexpected add-ins
Transform a fruit salad into a truly impressive appetizer, lunch or dessert course with the help of a few unexpected ingredients. Salty ingredients such as crumbled feta cheese or soy sauce will accentuate the sweetness of the fruit while a light sprinkling of thinly sliced hot peppers or dried chili flakes will have the same effect. Experiment with fresh herbs like mint, basil and cilantro or pea and beet microgreens (or any other microgreens that fall on the sweeter side.)
Inspiring ZeroPoint fruit salads for every taste
The following fruit salads are made entirely from ZeroPoint foods (with the exception of avocado, olives and feta cheese).
- Diced nectarines, tomato wedges, fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
- Avocado wedges, thinly sliced cucumber, diced pineapple, cilantro, and soy sauce.
- Grapefruit sections, orange slices, sliced banana (choose just-ripe bananas to avoid a mushy texture), and a drizzle of freshly squeezed orange juice from half an orange.
- Grilled peach halves, cantaloupe wedges, thinly sliced hot chili peppers, mint, and freshly squeezed lime juice.
- Diced watermelon, pitted kalamata olives, mint, basil, parsley, and crumbled feta cheese.