As a kid, I lapped up bowls of fruit ambrosia at our family gatherings. You know the stuff – canned mixed fruit with fluorescent cherries, in a fluffy batter of marshmallow, whipped cream, and sour cream – what a delight!
As a verified grown-up (or at least that’s what my daughter tells me), I think about ambrosia every time I pass by it at the grocery store, behind the glass of the prepared foods section, but not enough to buy it, even when it leers at me from the open salad bar at our other market. I don’t go for it. So much high fructose corn syrup, you guys. The grown-up in me has to draw the line somewhere, right?
But since we’ve just wrapped up maple season, and my trees provided an abundance of syrup, I thought it was time for a new healthier spin on an old favorite.
That’s why I came up with this recipe for a Fresh Fruit Maple Ambrosia that is just as good as the original, but it uses real maple syrup, fresh fruit, vegan and gluten-free marshmallows (optional!) and Greek yogurt. My daughter loves the marshmallows, so I can’t get away with making it without them and still calling it ambrosia, in her eyes. But you can absolutely make it without marshmallows for the most healthy version, and adjust the maple syrup to your likes and preferences too!
Here’s how we turned the traditionally over-processed ambrosia into a lighter, healthier Maple Ambrosia with fresh fruit that’s more delicious and packed with vitamins and antioxidants:
- Fresh fruit is used instead of the canned and sugar-soaked stuff.
- Vegan, gluten-free mini marshmallows are used, made with cane sugar, and about 1/4 what a traditional recipe calls for.
- Real maple syrup is used to sweeten, and you can add less than the 1/2 cup suggested, in fact, you can start with 1/4 cup and work your way up.
- Added protein from Greek Yogurt (and fat if you choose the full-fat version)
- Added healthy fats from the crushed walnuts and shredded coconut
Why real maple syrup and not honey? Well, I love the taste, but it’s also higher in essential nutrients than honey, and it has a lower glycemic index. Maple syrup also has less fructose than honey, and is suitable for a low FODMAP diet (as is this recipe if you swap out Greek yogurt for plant-based yogurt and use the suggested marshmallows).
In the video above, I show you how to make the ambrosia and also how to cut pineapple, mango, and even strawberries easily into bite-sized pieces perfect for ambrosia. Below is the recipe, enjoy!Print
Fresh Fruit Maple Ambrosia Salad
This health-conscious Fresh Fruit Maple Ambrosia Salad combines sweet tropical fruits and berries with protein-packed Greek yogurt and walnuts, softened by real maple syrup.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: None
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
- Category: Desserts
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- Optional: 1 heaping cup of mini marshmallows (vegan, gluten-free work best)
- Up to 1/2 cup real maple syrup (flavor to your sweetness preference)
- 1 pineapple, 1 to 2 cups chopped
- 2 cups seedless grapes, halved
- 1 cup strawberries, chopped
- 1 mango, cubed
- 3 mandarin oranges or 1 cup mandarin orange sections
- 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
- Optional: Pomegranate arils as garnish
- In a bowl, combine yogurt, shredded coconut, mini marshmallows, and maple syrup. Stir and set aside.
- Prepare your fruits.
- For pineapple: Slice off top and bottom of a whole pineapple, then slice in half from top to bottom, remove core, then cut remaining fruit into small bite-sized pieces (see video).
- For mango: Slice mango from top to bottom on both sides of the pit. Then slice a grid into the flesh of the mango, and use your thumbs to push the peel out, to display chunks of mango (see video) and simply slice them off.
- For mandarin oranges: If you want to try your hand at making soft pillowy mandarin orange sections like you get from the jar, get yourself some pectinase, which you may find as Pectinex. This can come in a liquid or powder form. Pectinase will dissolve the white pith and connective material on your mandarin orange segments. Simply peel your oranges, divide them into their individual sections, add them to a bowl, and cover with water. Follow bottle instructions, but in general, a couple of drops or sprinkles will do the trick. Adding more will just make it work faster so you don’t need to be too exact. Let them sit at room temp for a few hours, or cover and leave them overnight in the fridge. In the morning, rinse your oranges, and voila!
- Add fruits to your bowl, mix, and enjoy!
- Best eaten within a few hours, but can last overnight in the fridge. It will be a little juicier as the fruits release their juices overnight. Adding more marshmallows and/or using less maple syrup can help with excess liquid.
- If you really want to prepare a day ahead, for best results only prepare the fruits the night before. Cover, and refrigerate. In the morning or before serving, strain the excess juice before adding the remaining ingredients.
Keywords: ambrosia salad, healthy ambrosia salad, maple ambrosia, fresh fruit ambrosia
If you make this Maple Ambrosia with fresh fruit, I’d love to know what you think!