Fruit salads have always been my favorite element of any barbeque or outdoor party since I was a kid. A massive dish of fruit? Sign me up—no burgers required. Fruit salads have remained a firm favorite as I’ve become older and more aware of keeping my diet balanced, but now I try to think of ways to improve the simple combination. Adding one or two more items other than fruit may transform this primary dish into a complete one.
As someone who eats plant-based foods primarily, protein is one of the macronutrients I’ve been taught to think about on a regular basis, so it was the first thing that sprang to me when I thought of adding it to my favorite one-note recipe.
Fortunately, there are lots of protein sources in plants. Here are some of my faves for elevating a plain bowl of fruit to something worthy of a centerpiece:
You could use any type of nut, but pistachios are ideal since they are a complete protein. What does this imply?
Simply said, they have high amounts of all nine necessary amino acids. You’re probably used to putting them on savory salads or earthy desserts, but they also go great with fresh fruit.
Other crunchy alternatives, such as pumpkin seeds, perform well but aren’t as high in protein.
Several kinds of cheese go well with fruit, but my personal favorite is feta, especially with watermelon.
Because feta is one of the healthiest cheese types, you only need a small amount to make a significant difference.
Its salty, saline flavor pairs well with fresh fruit, and each 1-ounce serving has 4 grams of protein.
It’s also becoming simpler to locate vegan cheeses, and feta-style options are excellent.
This gluten-free ancient grain offers 8 grams of complete protein per cup. It’s also an adequate neutral basis for a colorful salad like this one, which adds a grain to the typical mainly fruit selection.
You could also use barley, teff, or millet, but the nutty flavor of quinoa works exceptionally well.
No, I’m not proposing you pile your fruit salad on top of a basic dollop of yogurt like you would for breakfast.
Instead, take a lesson from savory salads and make a fabulous dressing using Greek or plant-based yogurt.
Consider adding a little citrus zest or spices that go well with fruit to your fruit salad.
Getting creative with basic favorites may convert them into something fresh to enjoy, and it’s delightful when you can reshape a childhood favorite into something extra healthful.
And since we may be hosting or attending get-togethers this summer, it’s even more motivating to test out a new dish.