Want a healthy fruit salad with a little twist? Rum-Spiked Tropical Fruit Salad is lush and sweet with toasted caramel notes of island rum. Perfect on its own, or spoon this tropical fruit salad over sponge cake for the perfect end to a summer meal.
This is less of a recipe and more of a need to use up the boatload of tropical fruit I acquired while driving back across the state after my daughter’s college graduation. Despite its simplicity… or maybe because of it… Rum-Spiked Tropical Fruit Salad is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh fruit. I’m betting that you’ll love it too.
So, here’s the scene: My daughter has resided in various dorms, apartments and shared domiciles with her friends for the past four years on the other side of the state. To visit her, we have to drive four hours on rural, two lane roads that, at some points, are more harrowing than I-95 at rush hour. The only reprieves are the little roadside stands dotted along the route, I wrote about my affection for them in this Peach Blueberry pie post.
I am a sucker for anything sold on the side of the road, off the back of a truck and pitched precariously close to drivers going 80mph. Scott already knows that he’s obliged to stop for those hawkers, though I don’t think he minds. We stop and munch on samples while they regale us with anecdotes about why this is “the best strawberry season in a long time” or talk about the newly bred “Florida peaches — and how they’re smaller than the northern peaches, but taste so sweet…” and the tropical fruit trees that are so heavy with fruit they need to be staked up for support.
$28 later, we depart with our bags loaded with fresh produce. LOADED. On this trip, we bought vine ripened tomatoes (perfect for these roasted tomatoes), ruby-colored Cara Cara oranges, Honeybells, pineapple and champagne mangoes… If that doesn’t scream tropical fruit salad, I don’t know what does.
Types of Fruit For Rum-Spiked Tropical Fruit Salad:
Of course, you can use whatever fruit mix you like for this healthy fruit salad, but here are a few of my suggestions.
- Oranges whatever is available like: Cara Cara, Honeybells, Valencia oranges, Navel oranges, Blood oranges, or Tangerines.
- Pineapple – use fresh not canned (duh).
- Mangoes – there are so many different varieties… pick something fragrant and ripe.
- Kiwis – for a pop of green and tart tangy sweetness with crispy black (edible) seeds
- Dragonfruit – more prized for it’s outward appearance than what’s on the inside, dragon fruit has been compared to an anemic kiwi flavor wise — but combined with other tropical flavor bombs and a hit of rum, it works in a tropical fruit salad.
- Papaya – musky and luscious, this adds a beautiful color to any tropical fruit salad
- Lychees – remind me of a peeled grape with a large seed, just remember to remove the seed before adding to the salad
- Starfruit – slice the carambola crosswise to get that familiar star-shape. They are tart and crisp to eat.
- Guava – chunk the guava flesh (minus the seeds) for a glorious pink hue and musky tropical aroma.
Later, at home, I peeled, chopped and slurped(for quality control) this tangy sweet blend of tropical fruits. I happened to have some kiwi, so I added it to the mix for a contrast of colors. Why not?
Once the fruit is prepped, there’s only one thing left to do… Add the rum!
Of course you can have fruit salad just as is, and it’s going to be wonderful, but to take it to the next level, add a few glugs of good dark rum. You know, from an island… in the Caribbean. For this salad, I used Barbancourt, aged Haitian rum. It’s smooth and rich with caramel-y notes that play nicely with the tropical fruit. If your fruit isn’t as sweet as you’d like, you can add honey, agave or simple syrup, but since my fruit was candy-sweet, the only embellishment it got was the rum.
A quick toss and this healthy fruit salad is ready for prime time.
I like a bowl of this tropical fruit salad for dessert with a few thin cookies or spooned over sponge cake and drizzled with the spirited fruit syrup in the bottom of the bowl. Now that’s a serious bowl of fruit, don’t you think?
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Rum Spiked Tropical Fruit
- 4 oranges use a mixture of cara cara, honeybells, blood orange, navel orange or other juicy, ripe orange.
- 1/2 pineapple cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2 kiwis peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2 mangos peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2-3 tablespoons dark rum
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar (optional) use only if your fruit isn't sweet enough
Other Tropical Fruits You Can Use:
- star fruit
- passion fruit
- dragon fruit
- Supreme the oranges by cutting away the skin and pith and segmenting the oranges using a very sharp paring knife. Transfer to a bowl and squeeze the discarded membranes over the bowl to release any remaining juices.
- Add the pineapple, kiwis and mangoes to the orange segments and toss. Add the rum and taste the fruit. If it's needs a little more sweetness add honey or sugar one tablespoon at a time (tasting as you go to make sure you don't add too much). Toss to coat the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to macerate.
- Spoon fruit into a bowl and serve for a light dessert on its own or with wafer cookies or spooned over sponge cake.