This Mexican Christmas apple salad is the perfect way to end your Christmas feast. After a meal of Christmas roast, tamales and pozole, this refreshing salad will hit the spot. Crisp apples, pineapple, grapes, and chopped pecans are mixed with a sweet almond crema.
This has to be one of my favorite childhood food memories, except that we added marshmallows to ours and it was almost sickly sweet. This healthier version is refreshing and sweetened with maple syrup. We would have this salad on Christmas of course, but my grandmother would make a different version for New Year’s with carrots and raisins which was also delicious. Depending on where in Mexico you are some people add raisins, carrots, celery, and even maraschino cherries.
Traditionally this recipe uses crema or even mayonnaise, but I have made a crema with soaked almonds, water, almond milk, and maple syrup. You can also make the crema with cashews or use your favorite vegan yogurt. I prefer using almonds because they’re more affordable, but they are a bit more work because you have to peel them.
Year after year, the longer I’m vegan the less I miss meat and the more I can appreciate veganizing traditional Mexican recipes and fulfilling all of my childhood food memories in a cruelty-free and healthy way. If you haven’t been vegan for long I just want to let you know that your palate does change, that you do adapt, and that it becomes easier and easier.
The Recipe: Mexican Christmas Apple Salad
- As optional ingredients, you can add carrots, raisins or celery.
- I recommend that you make and eat on the same day.
- You can use your favorite vegan yogurt to make this recipe even quicker
Mexican Christmas Apple Salad
- 3 cups Diced gala apples (you can peel or not peel according to preference)
- 3/4 cup Crushed pineapple, canned or fresh (drained)
- 1 cup Green grapes, cut in half
- ½ cup Chopped pecans
Sweet Almond Crema:
- ½ cup Almonds, raw
- ¼ - cup Water
- ¼ cup Almond milk, unsweetened
- 1 tsp. Lemon juice, fresh
- 1 tsp. Maple syrup
- Bring 1 pint of water to a boil in a small sauce pot and pour over the almonds. Let soak overnight.
- The following day peel the almonds by pressing an almond between your thumb and forefinger and pressing lightly. The skin should just pop off.
In a blender, place the almonds, almond milk, lemon juice, and maple syrup and blend at high speed until completely smooth and cream like (to get a super smooth sauce you will need a high powered blender).
- Place sauce in a small container and refrigerate for 30 min.
- In a large bowl combine the apples, pineapple, grapes, and chopped pecans. Pour sauce over it and mix well.
You can use cashews instead of almonds if you prefer. Some people add raisins, maraschino cherries, carrots, and even celery. If you want to go a little crazy you could add vegan mini marshmallows. I recommend that once you've tossed the fruit salad you serve it the same day.