Winter Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

This is probably my FAVORITE salad! I use the basic ingredients and throw in different fruits, nuts or cheeses–whatever I feel like at the moment! It is SO delicious! This salad has all the right combinations of sweet and salty or savory. It’s just amazing.The best way to serve Winter Fruit Salad is to put the dressing on the whole salad–but that only works if you have company and all of the salad is going to be eaten at once. So I usually put the apples and pears in lemon juice to protect them from turning brown and this way the salad will be ok for a few days (just adding the dressing on individual portions instead of the whole).

The homemade poppy seed dressing is also fantastic. It is one of my favorite homemade dressings too.  While the original version uses sugar, most of the time I substitute honey instead. I have also tinkered with the dressing and used different oils and vinegars. It’s truly a salad you can play around a lot with and still enjoy. I got this recipe years ago from Gina Wooten when she brought it to one of our Christmas parties for our Sunday school class. Her salad was the hit that night. Everyone wanted more and even though she made a really large batch of salad, the bowl was scraped clean–even more than the desserts were! It’s that great of a salad. Thankfully, Gina graciously shared the recipe and it has been very well used over the years since Winter Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is quite scrumptious!

This salad is healthy, low calorie and gluten free. You can easily make this vegan by removing the Swiss cheese or substituting a soy cheese instead. It’s a great salad to eat a lot of if you’re trying to lose weight! I posted this salad last year and have made it several times since then, but finally decided to retake some of the pictures since the first ones I took when I began my blog were so horrible. Hopefully, these pictures will give you a little better appreciation for this luscious salad and you will want to try it out with your family and friends, too. While the “Here’s What I Did” section still has the old pictures, all the presentation pictures are new. Enjoy.

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Winter Fruit Salad With Poppy Seed Dressing is a wonderful refreshing salad that’s low in calories and gluten free!

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This tasty salad can easily be made vegan by substituting soy cheese for the Swiss cheese in the recipe. Once you taste this amazing salad you will want to go back for more and more!

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Doesn’t this salad look scrumptious? Lots of cashews, craisins, apples, pears & cheese along with a little romaine lettuce! You can add other fresh fruits or change out the dried fruits for others. Same with the nuts and cheese. All variations work wonderfully.

 

Here’s what I did.

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Start with romaine lettuce. But if you prefer another kind that is perfectly fine with this recipe. Add a cup of cashews. I love the crunch of cashews, but you can swap out for other nuts. However, because this is such a sweet salad anyway, I recommend not putting a glazed walnut, pecan or almond on it. A saltier nut, or one without a honey or sugar glaze is preferred.

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The recipe calls for a quarter cup of craisins, but I use about 1/2 cup or a little more. If you wanted to mix it up a bit you could substitute regular or golden raisins here for the craisins. Dried blueberries blueberries and cherries also work well. Sprinkle an 8-oz. bag of shredded Swiss cheese on top. I have used Feta, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan here and those all work fine. But I really prefer the taste of the Swiss to mix the flavors better.

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The original recipe calls for 2 chopped apples, unpeeled, and 2 chopped pears, unpeeled. Because I don’t mix the salad with the dressing immediately (and it has lemon juice to prevent discoloration), I chop up the fruit and swish it around in lemon juice first. Then I pat it dry before adding it on top of the salad.

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After soaking 30 seconds to a minute, place pear or apple pieces on towel and pat dry. Then sprinkle on top of salad. I recommend buying a high quality eating apple rather than the cheaper ones that come in bags of 3-5 lbs.  Most of the time they are cooking apples and they have a mushier texture. 

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To serve: Blend all the salad dressing ingredients in a blender and pour over top of salad. If you don’t plan on eating all of the salad right away, then toss the salad and serve the dressing over individual portions.

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Here’s a close up of the salad with the homemade poppy seed dressing poured over top. This dressing is quite wonderful. This is a great salad to make up for people when you take them a meal. Everyone always loves it.

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Here’s what the homemade poppy seed dressing looks like. I couldn’t wait to dig into this marvelous salad. I make some version of this salad all the time! Because I had really large apples and pears, I only needed to use one of each this time. Usually, I have to use two pears and two apples for the salad.

 

Here’s the recipe.

WINTER FRUIT SALAD W/LEMON POPPYSEED DRESSING

(Recipe from Gina Wooten, when we attended Hillcrest Baptist Church, Cedar Hill, TX; source: All Recipes)

Winter Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
 
Wonderful tossed green salad with fruit! The savory flavors of cashews and Swiss cheese work really well with the sweet fresh and dried fruits. This recipe has a wonderful, homemade poppy seed dressing. Gluten free.
Author:
Recipe type: Salads and Salad Dressings
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce- rinsed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup cashews
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 apple, unpeeled, cored and cubed (I use 2)
  • 1 pear, unpeeled and cubed (I use 2)
  • lemon juice
Instructions
  1. In a large serving bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, cashews, and dried cranberries.
  2. Place cubed apples and cubed pears in lemon juice and swirl to prevent discoloration.
  3. Add apples and pears to salad.
  4. Refrigerate until read to serve.
  5. When ready to serve, toss salad to mix, then pour dressing over salad just before serving and toss to coat.
Notes
I prefer Gala or Fuji apples.

Swiss cheese seems to work better than any other kind for this recipe.

Butter Bliss lettuce and Spring Mix also work well for this salad.

Many times I add blueberries to this recipe, sometimes pineapple, and sometimes omit the apples and pears altogether and use strawberries, blueberries, mandarin orange segments and pineapple. Feel free to exchange the lettuce, cheese, nuts, or fruit for other ingredients, while using the main idea.

Poppy Seed Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Wonderful tossed green salad with fruit! The savory flavors of cashews and Swiss cheese work really well with the sweet fresh and dried fruits. This recipe has a wonderful, homemade poppy seed dressing. Gluten free.
Author:
Recipe type: Salads and Salad Dressings
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, oil, poppy seeds and salt.
  2. Process until well blended.
  3. Pour over salad before serving.

Healthy Version Poppy Seed Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Wonderful tossed green salad with fruit! The savory flavors of cashews and Swiss cheese work really well with the sweet fresh and dried fruits. This recipe has a wonderful, homemade poppy seed dressing. Gluten free.
Author:
Recipe type: Salads and Salad Dressings
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup walnut oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. onion (I used 2 green onions, sliced, you can also use dehydrated onions or red onion)
  • ½ tsp. Himalaya red sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
Instructions
  1. Process all ingredients together in a blender for 10-15 seconds until well blended.
  2. Keep dressing stored in refrigerator.
  3. (I like to store the dressing in mason jars).
  4. Makes about 1½ cups salad dressing
Notes
Although I've tried using stevia and xylitol sweeteners I haven't been able to get the right combination of flavors to make the dressing taste well. So I recommend using honey or maple syrup. But, feel free to experiment.

 

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Winter Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is also good with fresh blueberries added to the mix! I like eating Winter Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing as a Meatless Monday option and serving it with some fresh baked homemade rolls or bread.

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Every bite of Winter Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is so delectable you will think you’re eating dessert! Winter Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is sure to be a hit with your family or guests. It is just an incredibly terrific salad.

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