This year, we’re one of those families. You know, the ones who have the Halloween costume set before summer’s even over and their spooky house decorations out by mid-September? Yep. That’s me.
For someone who could hardly handle the idea of the end of summer, I jumped head first into fall.
It helped that the hot weather just quit cold turkey. No pun intended. But seriously, autumn came in an instant this year. It was so weird.
But, just as suddenly, I was cool with it (also no pun intended). I’ve embraced cozy sweaters, the fact that we’ve had to turn our thermostat back on, and fall produce. Pumpkins! Squash! Crisp right-off-the-tree apples! Oh, happy day.
This fall fruit salad came to be a couple of weeks ago when an awesome neighbor bought a couple of 40 pound boxes (!!) of honeycrisp apples and divvied it up amongst several of us.
The next morning, I peered at the happy-making bowl of honeycrisps gracing our kitchen counter and I decided that a reverse of my usual breakfast – yogurt with fruit on top – was in order.
So I made this fruit salad for the first time – with honeycrisps, some ripe pears, and a few plums I had on hand, and a dressing made with Greek yogurt. Yum.
The dressing came together flawlessly the first time I took a stab at it (I love it when that happens!) – a little of this, a little of that, perfect!
The fruit, I ended up tinkering with a bit to end up with this final result. I decided I favor red grapes over plums; crisp pears work better than softer varieties – and if you can’t find great pears for this salad, you’re better off leaving them out and throwing in extra apples and grapes.
Right on cue (I know, I know, it’s not even Halloween yet!) I’ve got to say that I think this would make the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Hey, it’ll be here before we know it!
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Autumn Fruit Salad with Cinnamon Greek Yogurt Dressing
- 2 medium Bartlett pears (or other ripe but firm pears, diced)
- 2 medium apples (a fresh, crisp variety like honeycrisp, cripps, or pink lady is best, diced)
- 1 cup red grapes (halved)
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt (can substitute your favorite plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt - see notes)
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from the zested lemon)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (can substitute honey)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1/3 cup pecans* (chopped)
- Place pears, apples, and grapes in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine. Set aside.
- To a small bowl, add the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use a wire whisk to blend well.
- Drizzle dressing over the fruit. Toss gently until fruit is coated. Scoop into bowls and sprinkle with pecans. Serve immediately.
Dairy-free option:Use your favorite non-dairy yogurt, either plain or vanilla. Depending on how sweet your non-dairy yogurt is, you may want to adjust the sweetener.
Vegan option:Follow the dairy-free option and choose pure maple syrup for the sweetener.
Make-ahead tips:The salad tends to get a little watery if it sits for long, so I recommend keeping the dressing and the salad separate until right before serving. Also, if you cut your fruit far ahead of time, try tossing it with a little fresh lemon juice to help keep it from browning.