To tell you the truth, I have no reason to feel sentimental about Ambrosia Salad.
It wasn't a staple at my family gatherings. In fact, for most traditional BBQ style holidays, we usually ate mexican food, or just stuck to the basics - maybe a little potato salad, some hot dogs. But, I think that's exactly why I have a strange fondness for this creamy fruit salad. Those odd classic American side dishes deeply appealed to me - Baked Beans, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Marshmallows on top. Those weren't classic dishes for us, so they seemed special. And Ambrosia was the most fantastical of them all.
o, I decided to give Ambrosia a makeover. At it's core, this is a perfectly healthy salad - full of fruit, nuts and coconut. It just needs a little clean up. And, the heavy whipped cream/ sour cream topping needs some work. We'll make a simple Coconut Whipped Cream - which adds a natural sweetness, and will substitute healthy fats for the nasty hydrogenated and saturated versions you'd get with the original.
irst things first - Simply swapping out the canned stuff for the fresh stuff turns this salad around. It's cherry season, so it's the perfect time to take avantage of those fresh, dark red beauties!
promise you, you will be the hit of the party if you show up with the lovely, creamy dish!
Heather's Ambrosia Salad
- 2 Cups Fresh Pineapple, cut into small chunks
- 2 Cups Fresh Cherries, pitted and cut in half
- 8 Clementimes or Tangerines, peeled and sectioned
- 2 Cups Pecans, Toasted and roughly chopped
- 1/2 Cup Course Shredded Coconut
- /2 Cup Finely Shedded Coconut
- Coconut Whipped Cream
Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 Can full fat Coconut Milk, cooled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hrs
- 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, optional
To make Coconut Whipped Cream: Be sure to refrigerate the coconut milk, so the fat can separate from the water. Carefully open the can, and scoop out the separated fat off the top of the can and put it in a small mixing bowl. It will typically be approximately 1/2- 1/3 of the can. Add lemon juice and optional sea salt. Depending on how hard the fat is, you can whip it with a whisk, or simply stir it with a spoon. If it's particularly thick, add a few spoonfuls of the remaining coconut water to thin it out, until reaches a smooth, creamy consistency.
Toss pineapple, cherries, clementines, pecans & shredded coconut in a medium mixing bowl. Add coconut whipped cream and combine.
That's it! The rich, coconut cream pairs so incredibly well with pineapple, cherry and citrus, and the crunchy pecans add a wonderful, crunchy texture. You'll friends will love you for this!
P.S. Save the remaining coconut water and try adding it to a smoothie - YUM!