My Favorite Summer Meal - Cashew Sauce Covered Fruit Salad
I have to give my Uncle Kelly credit for this amazing recipe. I also have to let you know it is not an exact science, so play around with it as you see fit. It is one of those versatile recipes that is sort of hard to mess up. This is especially delightful as a light dinner after some time spent in the sun.
What makes this the best fruit salad ever is the sauce. As far as what fruits to use, I will leave this up to your discretion, however I will list what I usually use. I won't list portions for the fruit here, as you really just want to cut up as much fruit as you will need for as many as will be eating. It doesn't really keep well, so don't make a double portion to save extra for later.
Cashew Sauce Covered Fruit Salad Ingredients
- Goji berries (optional)
- 1/4+ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1/4+ cup macadamia nuts coarsely chopped
You can also add pears, peaches, nectarines, grapefruit, cherries and all berries. I use these when I have them.
- 1 cup raw cashews (preferably soaked for no more than seven hours in filtered, salted water)
- 1/4 cup goji berries (optional), soaked for about 10 minutes to hydrate
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
- pinch nutmeg and/or cinnamon, optional
- 1/8 teaspoon, or small splash, of vanilla extract
- raw honey, grade b maple syrup or preferred sweetener, to taste
- Filtered water - about a cup, maybe a bit more. Start with less.
Cashew Sauce Covered Fruit Salad Method
- Place the cashews in a blender with about a cup of water.
- If you would like to add goji berries to the sauce, first place in a bowl with a small amount of water just to hydrate them so they blend well. Adding goji berries will give your sauce a yellowish color. The sauce will otherwise be a shade of beige.
- Chop all your fruit to preferred bite sizes and place in a large bowl.
- Chop pecans and macadamia nuts coarsely and add to salad.
- If you are using goji berries in the salad, toss them in.
- Add your soaking goji berries (if using them in the sauce), water and all, to the blender.
- Add the coconut oil, spices (if using), vanilla and a touch of sweetener to the blender and blend well, until you have a thick, creamy sauce. You may add more water or more cashews, depending on how thick or thin you would like the sauce to be. Taste and add more sweetener and/or vanilla if desired, just remember you will be pouring this over sweet fruit, so the sauce does not need to be too sweet.
- Once the sauce is to your desired consistency and sweetness, pour slowly over fruit, mix well and serve. I suggest adding the sauce a bit conservatively at first. You can end up with the same concept as a leafy salad drowned in dressing. Too much sauce, or not enough, will take away from the perfection of this dish, so go slowly and do your taste tests along the way.
The portions for the sauce will make enough for a salad made to serve 3-4 people, approximately.
This is not necessarily the most visually appealing meal once the sauce is mixed in, but it is absolutely delicious. If you have picky
eaters, or care about aesthetics, you may divide the fruit up into serving bowls and pour the sauce over the top of the fruit and serve it without mixing. The presentation doing it this way is much more beautiful. If you plan to take this dish to a gathering, bring the salad and sauce separately and mix just before serving.
A word on some of the ingredients:
- Cashews (and nuts in general) are more easily digested when they have had the chance to soak in water. There is great and varying information to be found on how to precisely go about soaking, and the reasons behind it, but in general I try to put the nuts in salted water for around seven hours. Cashews and pecans need only about 6-7 hours soaking time. I liked the discussion on soaking nuts at The Nourishing Gourmet if you care to read more about how and why and for how long depending on the nuts you are using. If you own Nourishing Traditions, there are several recipes for properly prepared nuts, as well as explanations for the reasons behind the process. You may soak and dry your pecans, as well, before making this recipe, however that will take an extra day or so, as drying them to crisp will take a good 24 hours or so, depending on the amount of heat used. I have come across information that advises against soaking macadamia nuts, and believe the main reason is because they tend to just get mushy and fall apart.
- Goji berries are amazing little super fruits. If you have never had a chance to try them, run out to your nearest natural foods store and pick up a bag, or order them here. They are a great substitute for raisins (if you have a raisin-loving kid), have a high protein content for a fruit, are high in antioxidants as well as many other vitamins, minerals and amino acids that will boost your immune system and help keep you healthy.
- Coconut oil. Eat it. If you don't already use it regularly, I highly, highly encourage you to work it into your meals regularly. I use coconut oil as often as I can. I prefer raw and unrefined, but also keep refined for use when I do not want the coconut flavor to be added to my food. I add coconut oil to smoothies, oatmeal, rice, homemade nut butters and nut butter sandwiches and use it to make homemade lotion (sometimes just slathering it on straight before going to bed). I enjoyed this article by Holistic Kid about the advantages of coconut oil. Eat your healthy fats!
I hope you enjoy this first Sweet Ginger Mama (well, actually, Kelly Thompson) recipe!