This vibrant Fall Fruit Salad is a mix of the season's best fruits, perfect for the Thanksgiving table. Bursting with color, flavor, and healthful benefits, this salad is a refreshing break from the heavy holiday staples. A perfect blend of sweet, juicy, and crisp, it’s the dessert salad that will have everyone going back for seconds!
The first time I made this Fall Fruit Salad, it was an instant hit at a family gathering! The vibrant colors and the mix of flavors are phenomenal you can taste the fall.
Even people who usually skip fruit couldn't resist going for seconds. And me? I was just thrilled to see everyone enjoy something I'd made with so much love. Plus, it was a welcome relief amidst all the heavy, traditional dishes we usually have.
Honestly, this easy fruit salad recipe is now my go-to whenever I want to whip up something quick, healthy, and delightful. This winter fruit salad is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner but also when you need a last-minute showstopper on your dining table.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
- Refreshing: After a hearty meal, this fresh fruit salad serves as a light and refreshing dessert. You can definitely go with a creamy dressing, but I like to keep it light with spices and maple syrup.
- Uses seasonal fruits: It's the time of year for apples, pears, cranberries, and pomegranates and this is the perfect recipe for all the autumn flavors.
- Nutrient-rich: This recipe is packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants from fresh fruits, making it a nutritious choice.
- Colorful addition: Its vibrant colors and beautiful presentation make it an eye-catching centerpiece for your holiday table.
- Flexibility: The recipe is highly versatile. You can easily switch out fruits based on what you have on hand or prefer.
- Kid-friendly: Kids will love the sweet and tangy flavors. It’s a great way to get them to eat more fruit!
*Scroll below for the printable recipe card and ingredient measurements.
- Apples: For this recipe, I opted for red gala apples, but feel free to use any crunchy apples like Pink Lady or Honeycrisp, as they will all work well.
- Pears: Bartlett pears or Anjum pears can be used.
- Red Grapes: You may use any variety of seedless grapes that you prefer. These particular ones are called Coronation grapes and are known for their smaller size.
- Maple syrup
- Ground cinnamon: or any fall spices like apple pie spice, or pumpkin spices will work here.
- Lemon juice: this is to prevent the browning of apples and pears.
- Pomegranate arils and mint leaves for garnish
Substitutions and Variations
- Apples and Pears: If you're not a fan of these, feel free to replace them with other fruits like peaches, plums, or even tropical fruits like mangoes and pineapples for a twist.
- Clementines: Any citrus fruit can work here. Mandarin oranges, or even grapefruit can be used instead.
- Blackberries and Grapes: Blueberries, raspberries, or even mixed berries can provide a wonderful flavor and color variation. Kiwi can also be a great substitute for grapes.
- Pecans: Almonds, walnuts, or even mixed nuts can be substituted for pecans. For a nut-free version, try pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- Maple Syrup: Honey, brown sugar, or a sugar-free sweetener can be used as a substitute.
- Lemon Juice: For a different tang, you could use lime juice or even a splash of orange juice.
- Pomegranate Seeds and Mint Leaves: Feel free to garnish with other fruits or edible flowers for a creative touch. For a fresh substitute for mint, try basil or fresh thyme leaves.
How to Make Fall Fruit Salad
*Scroll below for the printable recipe card and ingredient measurements.
Cut and prep the fruits: First, let's get all our fruits ready. Carefully wash your apples and pears under cool water. Once they're clean, use a sharp knife to cut them into bite-sized pieces. In a small bowl, mix the apples and pears with lemon juice to prevent browning.
Next up are the clementines. Peel the skin and separate them into segments.
Mix: Take a large bowl and toss in your chopped apples, pears, clementine segments, blackberries, and pecans. Sprinkle ground cinnamon or your preferred spices over the top, and then drizzle maple syrup. Make sure everything is well mixed so each piece of fruit gets a bit of the cinnamon and syrup.
Serve: For the final touch, sprinkle a handful of pomegranate seeds over the top of your fruit mixture. And voila! Your fruit salad is all ready to be enjoyed! Isn't that easy? Now, go ahead and impress your guests!
Tips for Making the Best Fall Fruit Salad
- Choose the right fruits: Make sure you're selecting ripe, sweet, and firm fruits for your salad. Using smaller fruits can often provide better flavors.
- Cut the same size: Aim for consistency when chopping your fruits. Cutting them all in the same size not only helps in even mixing, but it also improves the overall presentation.
- Prevent browning: As soon as you've cut your apples and pears, mix them with some lemon juice. It helps to prevent them from turning brown and keeps them fresh.
How Do You Keep Fruit Fresh After Cutting?
Keeping your cut fruit fresh can be a bit of a challenge, but with a few tips, you can extend their freshness.
First off, refrigerate your cut fruits as soon as possible, ideally within two hours of cutting. However, different fruits require different treatments. For example, citrus fruits like mandarin oranges and grapefruits can be stored in airtight containers without any extra steps.
For fruits that tend to brown, like apples and pears, squeeze a bit of lemon juice over them before storing. This will slow down the oxidation process and keep your fruit looking fresh! Remember, it's always best to enjoy cut fruits as soon as possible for the best results.
What Fruits Can You Not Put in a Fruit Salad?
While most fruits can make a delicious addition to a salad, there are a few you might want to avoid.
Bananas can become mushy and brown quite quickly, so they're not the best choice unless you're serving the salad immediately. Additionally, fruits that brown quickly, like apples and pears, should be added close to serving time or tossed with a little lemon juice to prevent discoloration. You may also want to avoid tart apples like Granny Smith for the best taste.
Lastly, avoid very juicy fruits like watermelon and oranges if you're not serving them right away, as they can make the salad too watery.
This winter fruit salad is best enjoyed when it's fresh!
If you happen to have any leftovers, transfer them to an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for a day or two. Apples and pears will discolor a bit. Remember, though, they might lose a bit of their crispness as they sit in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make this salad ahead of time, you can chop all your fruits and store them separately in airtight containers in the fridge. When it's time to serve, mix them together with the cinnamon, maple syrup, and pomegranate seeds.
Absolutely! A dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some vanilla yogurt would add a creamy contrast to the texture of the fruits. You can serve them alongside the salad as a dessert option.
Fall Fruit Salad (Thanksgiving Fruit Salad)
- 2 apples
- 2 pears
- 3 clementines
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup grapes
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- mint leaves
- Wash your apples and pears under cool water. Once they're clean, use a sharp knife to cut them into bite-sized pieces. To keep them from going brown, squeeze some lemon juice all over them and stir them well.Peel the skin off of clementines and separate them into segments.
- In a large bowl, combine apples, pears, clementines, grapes, blackberries, and pecans.
- Sprinkle cinnamon and drizzle the maple syrup. Make sure everything is well mixed, so each piece of fruit gets a bit of the cinnamon and syrup.
- Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. Top your salad with pomegranate seeds and mint leaves when serving.
- Choose sweet, ripe, but also firm fruits.
- Cut all the fruit to a similar size.
- Mix diced apples and pears with lemon juice to prevent browning.
- Substitute maple syrup with honey, brown sugar or a sugar substitute.
- Add different nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts or seeds.
- Use apple pie or pumpkin pie spice with or instead of ground cinnamon.