If you are a true Southerner PLEASE stop reading this article now. It will only make you angry and you’ll send me nasty emails. Go…run away now…

For those of you who are NOT Southerners, I’m going to tell you about a dish that I created for Southerners who asked me for a healthier Ambrosia Salad. Impossible you say – well, I respectfully disagree.

As most of you know, the typical ambrosia salad consists primarily of pineapple, mandarin orange segments, sweetened coconut, and heavy cream whipped with sugar and sour cream. It’s capped off with a liberal addition of mini marshmallows.

My version includes blood orange and Cara-Cara orange segments, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and ‘natural’ maraschino cherries. (I prefer Bada Bing Cherries or Merry Maraschinos.) These fruits are tossed together with unsweetened flaked coconut. Fresh pineapple chunks are optional.

I replace the whipped cream sauce with sheep’s milk yogurt sweetened with a touch of maple syrup and a drop or two of vanilla extract. When tossed together this melange of flavors is really quite satisfying even without the mini marshmallows!

My clients enjoy this for dessert but we ALL know that Ambrosia is a ‘salad’ – just wanted to appease any Southerners who may have continued reading.

East Coast Ambrosia
Serves: serves 4
My take on a lighter/brighter Ambrosia-inspired dessert (or salad, if you must!).
  • 2 blood oranges (may be hard to find until the winter–can use navel oranges)
  • 1 Cara-Cara orange
  • 2 cups green grapes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 12 natural maraschino cherries, halved
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 5 ounces plain sheep’s milk (or cow’s milk) yogurt, NOT Greek-style
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Peel the oranges and pull the segments apart. Cut each segment into half or thirds depending upon the size you prefer, and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add the grape halves, blueberries, blackberries and halved maraschinos to the oranges. Sprinkle with the flaked coconut and toss.
  3. In a separate bowl, blend yogurt with the maple syrup and the vanilla extract.
  4. Can make up to this point and park in the fridge in separate containers until ready to serve.
  5. To serve, add about ½ the yogurt sauce to the fruit and toss gently. Continue to add the sauce a little at a time, tossing to coat. The fruit should be coated but not swimming in the sauce.
Enjoy, y’all!

Your own Personal Chef right in your inbox

Get regular cooking tips, meal ideas and delicious recipes dropped right in your inbox!

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.