(Note: this post was originally published on May 6, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Spring is the season for brunch, isn't it?? Switch up your brunch game with this delightfully fruity, very colorful, show-stealing brunch salad. Is it a green salad or a fruit salad? You decide!
If this salad isn't a celebration of plants in all their glory, then I don't know what is. Have you ever seen such an array of beautiful, colorful, fresh produce??
As we get deeper into spring and early summer, I feel like a lot of people get really into brunch. Between Easter, Mother's Day, baby showers, wedding showers, and warmer, sunnier days, brunching seems to be at the forefront of everyone's minds in April and May.
Thankfully I've got you covered! This salad is really a show-stopper and will work for all your brunchy events. It's over-the-top enough to feel worthy of a special occasion, yet easy enough to make again and again. Plus it brings a lot of freshness to the table, which is always a welcome addition to heavier brunch fare. You can easily scale up or down to fit your needs.
The key to this salad is loading it up with all the decadent, beautiful, unique fruits you can find! I've made this loads of times with different fruit combinations, but shown here I have mango, green kiwi, red kiwi, Ojai pixie tangerines, mandarinquots, kumquats, dragonfruit, and blueberries. Choose what you love and whatever feels most special! I recommend trying to get a good mixture though; some tropical fruit, some citrus, and definitely some berries.
To counteract the sweetness from the fruit, use radicchio as your primary base! Its bitter flavor is the perfect foil, plus how beautiful is that color? I like to mix in some romaine for crunchy texture and some spinach for color, plus some sprouts since they just scream spring.
Although I'm a huge lover of fruit on salads, I know that some people are skeptical about this combination. If you're new to fruit on salads, this one is a perfect place to start. It's sort of half fruit salad anyways, and doing it for brunch (rather than dinner) is a good way to dip a toe in the water.
For this brunch salad, I wanted to keep the flavors delicate and fruity rather than super-savory. The dressing is a really simple mixture of fresh-squeezed tangerine juice, macadamia nut oil, and a dash of maple syrup. The oil provides a bit of richness and decadent, nutty flavor, while the tangerine juice provides acidity. The fruit adds so much flavor that a simple dressing is really all you need.
Yes, you heard me right... macadamia nut oil! This gorgeous, nutty, flavorful, luscious oil is from my pioneering friends at Maiden Hawaii Naturals. They're on Maui and make the most wonderful culinary oils, which I've really fallen in love with. I recommend this oil so highly if you can get your hands on it, there's nothing like it! But if you can't find it, any rich nutty oil will work. Walnut oil? Pistachio oil? Each will be great and will take your salad in a new direction flavorwise; you could even garnish your salad with the same kind of nut.
This salad would be a stand-out addition to ANY brunch. And because it's essentially just fruit, the flavors are quite versatile and pair well with other brunch fare. I think most people expect to see some soft of fruit at a brunch anyways, right?
One of the reasons I love this salad most is because it's a point of much-needed freshness. So many classic brunch dishes are pretty heavy... think things like waffles, omelets, casseroles, etc. While those things are all delightful, having a really light, fresh, and colorful dish to complement them will bring your whole meal together.
We've also made this salad on numerous occasions as a fun "breakfast for dinner" type meal alongside some waffles. It's a winning combination!
To prepare this salad ahead, you can make the dressing up to a couple days in advance and cut the fruit the day before (just keep it sealed up in the fridge). When you're ready to serve, just toss the greens in the dressing and assemble. Depending on your schedule, you could put the radicchio into the dressing up to an hour ahead, but no longer. I wouldn't suggest trying to prepare this salad farther in advance because the greens will wilt.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
I hope you love this salad as much as I do! It's really a special one, and certainly a celebration of the beauty of fruit. Grab whatever gorgeous fruit you can get your hands on. It will all go beautifully together. Or, you could choose your fruit based on a theme... for example, all citrus or all tropical. As you can see, the options are endless.
Regardless of what fruit you choose, I think this is a salad where more is more. While I totally agree that in some dishes simplicity is best, this is not one of those dishes. Brunch is sort of over-the-top and luxurious anyways, don't you think? After making this salad quite a few times, I can assure you that it's most successful when it's overly-abundant.
Happy spring and happy brunch season!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: I received free product from Maiden Hawaii Naturals. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
Is it a fruit salad or a green salad? Who cares, it's perfect for brunch! This over-the-top salad balances sweet and bitter flavors and will make a welcome, fresh addition to any brunch spread.