Ways to dress up fruit.
January 20, 2010 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Plain fruit and a handful of nuts or a slice of cheese grow old pretty quickly. What are some ways I can dress up or vary my fruit snack?

A couple of variations I've been using are fruit dipped in lightly honeyed yogurt, and fruit with yogurt and granola on top. I haven't had a lot of luck finding things to do with fruit that don't include dumping sugar on it and calling it dessert.

Bonus points if it includes a protein or complex carb food. Ideas for specific fruits are enthusiastically welcome.
posted by moira to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Add a dash of hot red pepper to all of the above, especially the fruit.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:04 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: Prosciutto goes well with melon, particularly canteloupe. They're often served together.
posted by magicbus at 5:04 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: Do you need to keep your salt intake low, or is adding salt an option? Salted and flavored nuts are a great variation, I'm really partial to the smokehouse flavored almonds, and to Trader Joe's rosemary marcona almonds.

You could also prepare your fruit Mexican chili fruit style, with lime juice and chili powder (and maybe salt, I'm not sure...). It's awesome that way, especially if you include jicama.
posted by crabintheocean at 5:06 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: Peanut butter on apple slices.

Cream cheese or goat cheese with dried fruits.
posted by scody at 5:14 PM on January 20, 2010

I buy raw cashew nuts then roast them in a dry pan and coat them with a topping made from marmite, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. 1/2 tsp of marmite 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of vinegar will make enough to coat 50-100g of nuts depending on how much you like marmite. Its best to put the cooked nuts into the bowl you used to mix the paste, makes a god awful mess the other way round. you could also try black pepper on fruit it's a bit of an acquired taste but good with strawberries.
posted by chelegonian at 5:15 PM on January 20, 2010

Steamed apples are good. Quarter and apple, cut the seeds out and steam for 5 - 15 minutes depending on how soft you like them.
Grilled pineapple is wonderful either on the bar-b-q or one of those George Foreman type things.
Strawberries dipped into the lemon creme flavor of Mori-nu tofu pudding is awfully good (I usually find it at Whole Foods along with the tofu with is on the shelf, not in the refrigerated section, you must use the mori-nu tofu it's smoother, you may have to ask where they are).
posted by BoscosMom at 5:19 PM on January 20, 2010

Ooops, Mori-Nu tofu pudding mix
posted by BoscosMom at 5:22 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: Grated fresh ginger or even ginger power on fruit is nice. Especially pears.
posted by kitcat at 5:33 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: If you have access to a blender, fruit smoothies are great (eg with skim milk, plus whatever honey, granola, protein powder, yogurt etc etc etc you might like to add).

As a bonus, they also enable to take advantage of "imperfect"-looking fruit, marked down for a cheap sale. Who cares if it's a bit bruised if you're just going to liquify it anyway?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:43 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: Sigh. That's ginger powder.

Also, fruit with mint is nice (strawberries especially).

Fruit with a modified hummus? I can't think of how you would modify it, though...
posted by kitcat at 5:44 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: You could also prepare your fruit Mexican chili fruit style, with lime juice and chili powder

Asians & subcontinentals also use things like salt, pepper, peanuts (eg in a satay paste, or just crushed), chilli & lime to dress up fruit. Guavas are particularly good this way, but also green(ish) mangoes & papayas.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:46 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fruit with a modified hummus? I can't think of how you would modify it, though...

Fresh pomegranate seeds!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:47 PM on January 20, 2010

Every afternoon I slice up an apple, set slices of cheddar cheese atop the slices of apples, and have a happy snack. I realize this is almost the same as what you describe as the problem, but I just wanted to say!

If I'm feeling decadent, I will mix a can of fruit cocktail with about half a cup of fat free sour cream and call it Ambrosia. It's not the same without the mini marshmallows and coconut, but hey.

Pineapple and cottage cheese is the classic, but I've never been able to stand it myself.
posted by ErikaB at 5:53 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Fruit with mint - do I just chop mint up and sprinkle it on?
posted by moira at 6:08 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oooh, yes, watermelon with mint -- chopped and sprinkled. Chop up the watermelon, too. Let them sit together for a few minutes for all the juices to mingle -- mmm!

Also, you can mix the watermelon with feta. Or other melons. (But that's just fruit + cheese.)

If you want to push the limits, you can do watermelon plus mint AND feta -- but then some people may think you're weird.
posted by wyzewoman at 6:21 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: I know this might sound gross, but I've always been a fan of the "salada" that comes as a side dish at Korean bbq places back home. It's basically different fruits (usually made up mostly of apples, raisin and sometimes clementines, but I don't see why you couldn't throw some other things in there like seedless grapes, kiwi, pineapple chunks in there or whatever else) with cubes of boiled potatoes and mayo. I know, I know, it sounds weird, but it's kind of addictive. You wouldn't have to drown it in mayo, just a dollop (try to find Asian mayo, Kewpie's the most recognized and probably easiest to find brand), and probably a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it up/keep the apples from browning and modify it with some nuts or chopped celery for crunch and put it on a bed of arugula and I'd totally have that buy itself for lunch.

But I also like Panera's strawberry and poppyseed salad that I make at home. It's just Romaine lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, mandarin orange slices, walnuts and poppyseed dressing. It's not really a "snack" I suppose, but no reason why you can't toss together a smaller snack-sized portion since it's pretty no fuss. The mandarin slices and pineapples can come from a can, and strawberries and blueberries are just wash and eat.
posted by kkokkodalk at 6:24 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pears cut into slices and soaked in lemon juice and cinnamon are delicious...
posted by Chrysalis at 6:34 PM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Natural peanut butter (or even squeezable peanut butter "blends") tastes fantastic on an apple and, I find, weirdly satisfies chocolate cravings.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:02 PM on January 20, 2010

Seconding the various with combos mentioned by previous posters. Also:
-Strawberries with balsamic vinegar (reduction). Serve it with a big home-made egg-white meringue cookie.
-Broiled apple halves.
-Pears, plums, etc., poached in red wine. Skip the sugar called for in recipes.
Now I'm kind of missing summertime, the time of the year when one can buy a perfect piece of fruit and simply enjoy it as is.

posted by polymodus at 7:20 PM on January 20, 2010

Oh, and:
-Banana dipped in chocolate powder.
posted by polymodus at 7:21 PM on January 20, 2010

Indeed - mint chopped fresh and sprinkled. No need to chop really tiny.

Strawberries with balsamic vinegar (reduction). Serve it with a big home-made egg-white meringue cookie.

This is brilliant. It adds protein, plus, you can make meringue with 1/2 sugar, 1/2 splenda to cut down on the calories.
posted by kitcat at 9:52 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: mmm guavas and chilli/salt.

Try chocolate fondue! Though that could be a bit too desserty for you. But yum.

I've had success adding apple slices to vegetable salad.
posted by divabat at 9:59 PM on January 20, 2010

Response by poster: Polymodus, your answers don't quite fit what I'm looking for, but OMFG I know what I'm doing this weekend. How does one make a strawberry/balsamic reduction? Is there a special ratio?

(Delicious banana suggestion passed by because I'm trying to eliminate sweets, and little tastes break my will.)
posted by moira at 10:19 PM on January 20, 2010

Best answer: Oh, one more. If you freeze bananas (peel them first) they taste like icecream. I'm not kidding. SOOOOO good. They are also DELICIOUS (especially the lady finger variety) cooked on a grill over the bbq.

Also, what about making smoothies? Just add milk, yoghurt and ice.
posted by Chrysalis at 3:41 AM on January 21, 2010

Are you totally averse to fruit/nuts/cheese in their entirety, or are you just sick of apple and cheddar, for example?

One of my favourite snacks is a bowl containing a mix of pear slices, walnuts and pieces (or crumbles) of some nice blue cheese, inspired by a salad I really like. Said salad came with a raspberry vinaigrette, so I suspect this dish would be great with raspberries, too.

Also on the fruit/cheese front, I love love love my friend's baked brie, served up with a sort of fruit compote - squares of apple and like fruits, cooked with some cinnamon, sugar, etc. I've never tried this in snack form, but if the fruit's prepared in advance, a microwave mini-version might work? Or a baked apple served with sugar, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some slices of melty brie? A little drizzle of maple syrup would be awesome, too.

I also love to eat raspberries with a square or two of dark chocolate. I know, you're trying to break the sweet tooth, but if your will can withstand 80 per cent dark stuff, it's delicious.

And if you do decide to bend a bit on the sweets, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas (cut and half and served on a stick) are delicious. I suppose chocolate powder would work, but I prefer the liquid chocolate that hardens, which I've seen in most grocery stores. Haven't done this in a while but I recall it being quite low-cal and yummy.
posted by nicoleincanada at 6:00 AM on January 21, 2010

Finally, if you are not opposed to sweets made of questionable ingredients, my mom's occasional 'dessert' when I was a kid was a bunch of fruit (apple, banana, grapes) mixed up with a dollop of Cool Whip. Voila! Fruit salad. Not saying this is good for you, but it was tasty.
posted by nicoleincanada at 6:03 AM on January 21, 2010

Response by poster: "Are you totally averse to fruit/nuts/cheese in their entirety, or are you just sick of apple and cheddar, for example?"

Just sick of apple and cheddar.
posted by moira at 8:12 AM on January 21, 2010

Best answer: Tired of cheddar and apples? Oh, boy, are you going to have fun!

Here's a cheese-pairing guide (pdf) from a Wisconsin cheese association of some sort. All kinds of cheese, fruit and nut combos within. There are a few of these out there, to greater or lesser degrees of foodie-nerd. Google "cheese pairing" and don't be afraid to experiment with weird fruit or oddly-named cheeses.

If you live near a decent cheese shop or a Whole Foods, you can sample different types of cheese before committing to a big chunk of the stuff.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:15 AM on January 21, 2010

If you freeze bananas (peel them first) they taste like icecream. I'm not kidding.

Oh, and that's another tip for smoothies. Peel your bananas, break them up into chunks (say, about an inch or two long) and store them in a container in the freezer. They'll add a refreshing iciness to your smoothie.

(again, this is a particularly good way of making use of marked-down bananas, or if you buy too many & some are starting to show signs of turning)

Fried plantains are used in meals & snacks across Africa, Latin America & Asia. They're just another kind of banana, and as far as I'm concerned they're effectively interchangeable.

You can fritter them, too.

Maybe slightly off-topic, but walnuts mixed with dried mulberries are to die for. You can often find dried mulberries in shops catering for Persians & Afghanis, sometimes Pakistani grocers, too.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:26 PM on January 21, 2010

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