Kel and I eat a small fruit salad every morning alongside our hot grains cereal (with slices of banana on top), have fruit with lunch and we conclude dinner with more whole fruit. Getting fruit is not a problem for us. But I rarely make a fruit salad with dressing. The collusion of an interesting-sounding sauce from a Cooking Light Annual cookbook and my grocery offering lovely pineapples, mangoes, kiwis and strawberries made me think it was time to put together something special for after dinner one evening. The dressing on this has so much flavor – a little zing from the lime and basil which is balanced by the sweet date sugar. I think this dressing would be delicious with some mint leaves thrown in. One thing – this salad is best consumed the day it is prepared.
Fruit with Basil-Lime Dressing
1/4 cup date sugar (or maple sugar, maple syrup or white sugar, if desired)
1/4-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 tbsp. lime zest
2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
1 mango, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cups strawberries, cut into quarters
2 kiwi, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted, optional
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. (If using date sugar, you will need more water. Date sugar does not dissolve and become clear like white sugar so you will end up with a thick mixture.) Bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil leaves and lime zest. Set aside to cool.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard solids. If using date sugar, press the mixture gently to extract liquid. You should end up with a 1/4 cup or so of thick liquid. Set aside.
Combine the fruit in a large bowl, drizzle with sugar mixture and toss gently. Sprinkle servings with toasted coconut.