This is a simple recipe, but a nice one. Canned fruit salads are sometimes a little bland and mushy, but this one chooses its fruits carefully—canned pineapple and mandarin oranges maintain their flavor and texture through the canning process much better than most fruits. Using canned fruit also means you can make it any time of year without paying a mint in ingredients.
It’s very satisfying when you’re able to modify a recipe from your childhood to work within your current nutritional needs. Comfort food is mainly a matter of emotional associations, and a recipe doesn’t have to be completely identical to stir those same memories. Even though the original contained dairy and this one does not, one bite still transports me back to family reunions and grandmotherly hugs just as well as the proverbial madeleines.
Grandma’s Any-Season Fruit Salad
2 20 oz cans pineapple chunks
2 15 oz cans mandarin oranges OR 3 11 oz cans
½ cup shredded coconut (more or less to taste)
6 oz vegan yogurt (vanilla, lemon, or plain work well for sauces) or soy sour cream
A handful of smallish vegan marshmallows, optional
Drain fruit in a colander—ideally for several hours or overnight if possible, but whatever time you have is fine. Mix drained fruit with rest of ingredients and chill.
The marshmallows add a retro touch and make the dish more of a dessert. It tastes just fine without them though; you can see in the picture that I left them out this time.
In addition to being a walk down memory lane for me, this is a nice summery dessert that doesn't heat up the kitchen and gives you at least one serving of fruit. Not bad!