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Vegan Holiday Vanilla Fruit Salad (Recipe Revisited)

in Desserts, Sides

A sweet and creamy Vanilla Fruit Salad that comes together in 10 minutes flat for any Holiday gathering.

holiday fruit salad 5Since I am a big-time foodie and love to cook and blog about food, you may think that cooking for holiday gatherings is my idea of fun.  Well guess what?  That is not always the case!  I find holiday cooking and baking to be fun when I am doing it alongside family and friends, AND (this is very important) when I am not in a rush.  If I feel rushed in the kitchen, I tend to get a bit cranky.  Just ask my family and boyfriend.  They’ll tell you I have had my fair share of “get out of my kitchen” moments!  Thankfully, they still love me 😉

holiday fruit salad 6During the holidays- especially Thanksgiving and Christmas- I am normally cooking several dishes within the span of a couple of hours.  As a result, I always try to create a good balance between “more complicated” dishes and “so easy that anyone can make them” dishes in order to avoid said crankiness.  Doing so helps me to keep my “freak out”moments to a minimum.  One of my favorite easy, no-brainer recipes to throw together is the fruit salad dish I grew up eating at everything Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.  My mom has made it for years and years, and now that I am an adult, I am carrying on the tradition.

holiday fruit salad 7I originally posted about this salad two years ago right before Christmas.  But now that my photography has improved a bit (seriously, just look at how horrendous the original post looks), I figured it was only right that I revisit this post.  If you are still planning your Thanksgiving menu, or if you want to add an easy and delicious side, this is the way to go.  I promise that anyone can make this, and they can do so in 10 minutes.  Yes, TEN minutes!

I love this fruit salad so much that I do not just make it for family holiday gatherings.  It is also my go-to contribution when I attend dinners hosted by others.  A perfect example of that was Friendsgiving!

holiday fruit salad 9Holiday Vanilla Fruit Salad (Vegan)

Serves 12


20 oz can of pineapple chunks in natural pineapple juice, drained with the juice reserved
14.5 oz can of sliced peaches in natural juices (not heavy syrup), drained and cut into thirds
11 oz can of mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained with the syrup reserved
1 bunch of red seedless grapes, removed from stems
2 large or 3 small bananas (I like mine to be fairly ripe), sliced
1.34 oz box of vanilla instant pudding mix (check ingredient list to ensure it is vegan, if desired)


1. In a large bowl, combine drained pineapple chunks, sliced peaches, and mandarin oranges.  Stir until well-combined.

2. Stir in grapes.

3. Cut bananas into slices and place in a small bowl with the reserved pineapple juice.  Ensure that all of the banana slices are submerged in the juice.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

4. Pour reserved syrup from mandarin oranges into medium bowl.  Whisk in vanilla pudding mix a little bit at a time until the mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness.  I generally use about 3/4 of the package of pudding mix.

5. Stir vanilla pudding mixture into the bowl of fruit.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Note: The sauce will thin a bit as it sits due to the natural juices in the fruit.

6. Just before serving, drain the pineapple juice from the banana slices.  Gently fold the bananas into the salad.

holiday fruit salad 2Talk about a great way to add color to your holiday table.  I can almost guarantee that this will be the brightest dish at your special gathering.  And speaking of special gatherings, despite the “holiday” title, this would be absolutely perfect for Easter or a Summertime barbecue.  Who can say no to a perfectly sweet fruit salad?  The time of year really doesn’t matter.

holiday fruit salad 8Are you a fan of super easy holiday sides?  Do you want to add something a bit sweet (but still healthy) to your holiday table?  Pin and share this recipe on Facebook and Twitter using the buttons below!

Thanksgiving Foodie CollectionFor those of you doing some last minute Thanksgiving Day planning, check out my recipe collection for tons of vegetarian and vegan breakfast, main, side, and dessert dishes!

Which side dishes are staples in your family for holiday gatherings?

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{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating November 23, 2014, 11:12 pm
    Fruit salad. Love it. Anytime of the year! And I've actually done a fruit salad very similar to this one before with the pudding mix. It's so easy, I mean, why not?! Oh, and thank you for not using cantaloupe in your fruit salad as well, whether that was intentional or not. I don't' enjoy cantaloupe but it's usually in fruit salads. I make mine without! Kaylin @ Enticing Healthy Eating recently posted...I Mustache You Some QuestionsMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:27 pm
      Haha! That's funny because I actually LOVE cantaloupe... though I think it would taste weird in this one. I make it exactly how my mom always has and don't plan on changing it one bit!
  • Christine @ Love, Life, Surf November 23, 2014, 11:45 pm
    This looks great! I love fruit salads and it's been a while since I've made one. Our staple side dish is sweet potatoes! Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted...Philadelphia Half Marathon RecapMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:29 pm
      You should definitely give this one a try! Yay for sweet potatoes! I LOVE them. Sweet potato casseroles are certainly awesome Thanksgiving dishes!
  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine November 24, 2014, 5:29 am
    Okay, yes, I am a foodie, cook, kitchen lover, but when I am rushed and have to do MANY things, I freak out in the kitchen too ;) My family knows to stay far away...otherwise the crazy comes out!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:30 pm
      Haha! I'm glad I am not the only one. I definitely tend to do best in the kitchen when I am alone ;)
  • Jennifer F November 24, 2014, 5:59 am
    this looks really yummy, I loooooove fruit salad every which way1 Jennifer F recently posted...Apple Protein Pancakes with Sugar-Free Cider SyrupMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:31 pm
      It is so great to hear that everyone LOVES fruit salad. I can't imagine the holidays without them!
  • Nada Manley November 24, 2014, 7:31 am
    My girls love fruit and salads but only recently discovered fruit salad, and now they want it all the time! Lola prefers hers with lettuce in it, though, like a regular salad. LOL. This recipe looks yummy and so easy! I am going to try it in their lunchboxes! Nada Manley recently posted...Gift Guide: 25 Accessory & Fashion Gifts Under $100My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:32 pm
      Haha! That totally cracked me up. I can only imagine this fruit salad with some lettuce thrown in... ;)
  • Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie November 24, 2014, 7:57 am
    Oh, I gotta try this! I love that you use the juice from the canned fruit as the dressing. Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted...Happy FRIENDSgiving and No Bake Pumpkin Pie RecipeMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:33 pm
      What can I say, I hate to waste!! ;)
  • Joanna @Makingmine November 24, 2014, 8:13 am
    YUM! Love this salad! And 10 minutes? Can't beat that! Joanna @Makingmine recently posted...prAna winter workout wearMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:34 pm
      You 'betcha! When it comes to the holidays, I like to keep things easy!
  • Farrah November 24, 2014, 9:09 am
    I adore fruit salad, and this looks super simple! :D I think I actually have everything to make it, so it may be happening this weekend! Farrah recently posted...No-Bake Peach Crumble & Liebster Award!My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:35 pm
      How perfect!! It sounds to me like it is meant to be!! ;)
  • Amy November 24, 2014, 9:40 am
    Saving this! My daughters love fruit salad! Amy recently posted...How to pick the next book for your book clubMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:40 pm
      Yay! That is so great. I love when people love healthy food! :)
  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul November 24, 2014, 10:42 am
    This was so yummy! I can vouch for the deliciousness! :D Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted...Weekend Snapshots Link-UpMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:46 pm
      Thanks, Erin! I'm so glad you enoy it :)
  • Shantha Wetterhan November 24, 2014, 11:06 am
    All I can say is yummy! The natural pineapple juice is such a nice touch.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:46 pm
      It is the only way to do it! Why waste the fruit juices when you don't have to? :)
  • Kim November 24, 2014, 12:06 pm
    Nice colorful side dish! I love when someone thinks to bring a fruit dish, it just helps balance out the meal. Kim recently posted...Thanksgiving Day Runs In OmahaMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:48 pm
      I could not agree more. I love heavy foods as much as the next person, but sometimes it is nice to have a light side dish to choose from as well!
  • Katie @ running4cupcakes November 24, 2014, 12:33 pm
    Love this recipe - I have the same one on my blog too! :) Katie @ running4cupcakes recently posted...Weekend Update: 11/23/14My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:50 pm
      I love that we have such similar family recipes.... maybe we are distantly related ;) haha
  • Miss Polkadot November 24, 2014, 3:51 pm
    Fruit salad - such a classic growing up but I've never made it for myself since moving out years ago. The vanilla pudding is an interesting idea I hadn't heard of before. I doubt we have vegan instant mixes, though. A classic Christmas side dish that's a must with a capital M is my grandma's "Rotkohl". It's red cabbage prepared in a very special way and so good everybody's going crazy about it. Is it Christmas yet ; ) ?? Miss Polkadot recently posted...Good good links #66My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 24, 2014, 4:52 pm
      I've never heard of Rotkohl, but I love cabbage so it sounds like it'd be great! You should definitely be on the lookout for vegan pudding mix. I was shocked to find out that some of the Jello brand mixes are vegan! Hopefully you can find one where you are :)
      • Miss Polkadot November 25, 2014, 3:41 pm
        We don’t have Jello brand over here and the mixes I've seen so far all had dairy added. Only the varieties you have to cook are vegan. Boo. Miss Polkadot recently posted...Good good links #66My Profile
  • Olivia Schwab November 24, 2014, 11:00 pm
    This looks soo good!!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2014, 3:08 pm
      Thank you, Olivia! I hope you will give it a try!
  • Jamie | Jamie's Recipes November 25, 2014, 9:33 am
    This is a favorite of mine too! I know it is so easy to make but I actually asked Grandma to bring it to Thanksgiving because hers is ALWAYS better. I am not sure what voodoo magic she does to make it taste better. Jamie | Jamie's Recipes recently posted...Grandma’s Make Ahead Potatoes + Best Darn Turkey Gravy EverMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2014, 3:09 pm
      Haha, that is so funny! Grandmas just have certain powers that somehow make all food amazingly delicious ;)
  • janelle November 25, 2014, 11:53 am
    great looking fruit salad! the colors remind me of warmer weather, which makes me happy!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 25, 2014, 3:17 pm
      You and me both! It is SO good. I definitely do not think that fruit salad is just for Spring/Summer.

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