Grape salad, if you’ve never had it, may sound a little suspicious. If you’re thinking it means putting grapes on top of lettuce and tomatoes, you have the wrong idea about this dish.
It’s a really tasty dessert dish that makes for a good snack, and it’s not your typical veggie salad.
What Is Grape Salad?
The salad is made by combining cream cheese with grapes and some other ingredients to make a sweet and flavorful dish. It may have granola in it to give it a pleasant crunch and to create a variety of textures, as well as lemon juice for a dash of zesty flavor.
You can add just about any fruits you want into grape salad, including pineapples, blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries, just to name a few. What you’re looking to do when you make this salad is use foods that you like, incorporate sweet foods to give it a dessert appeal, and make sure that the foods all work well together.
One of the most important things about making grape salad is that you want to use the right kind of cream cheese. Full fat cream cheese gives it lots of flavor, though light cream cheese is healthier.
You want a grape salad that doesn’t have lumps in it, and if the cream cheese isn’t at room temperature, your dressing may end up a little lumpy and bumpy.
You can also add sour cream to make the salad more flavorful and creamier, but it’s optional. I prefer a full fat cream in this dish, but light sour cream is fine as well.
Remember you’re making a dessert with grape salad, so adding a little sugar will help have the right flavor. You don’t need a lot of sugar, but how much you use will depend on how much sour cream you use, if you use sour cream, and what kind of sour cream it is.
The sugar needs to balance out the sour cream and keep the dish sweet.
The grapes you use could be of any variety, but I think you’ll benefit from using different colors of grapes to give your salad more variety and make it look more festive.
Be sure to choose grapes that are of high quality and pick out ones that have any impurities on them.
You can make your grape salad crunchy or not. It’s up to you, but to make it crunchy, I add either granola or chopped nuts to it. Chopped peanuts, pecans, almonds, or whatever else you like make a good addition and give the salad a little more texture variety.
How to Make Grape Salad
Now that you know some of the basics of putting together a grape salad, let’s talk about what you actually need to do. How do you make grape salad? Just follow the directions below.
- 8 ounces of room temperature cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon extract
- 1 cup of room temperature sour cream
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 2 pounds of seedless red grapes
- 2 pounds of seedless green grapes
- 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
- Put your cream cheese into a stand mixer bowl and beat until it becomes creamy.
- Add in vanilla extract and sugar and continue to beat until that is smooth.
- Add in half of the chopped carbs and all of the grapes, folding them into salad.
- Cover your salad with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour at least.
- Top with brown sugar and the rest of the pecans and serve cold.
You can also roast your pecans ahead of time before adding them to the salad, as this will give you a wonderful texture, is my favorite way to have grape salad.
To toast the pecans, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once the oven is heated all the way, you can put the pecans in there for 5 to 8 minutes.
How to Make Grape Salad with Cream Cheese
When you are making grape salad, you want to be really careful about your cream cheese and how you use it. It’s really easy to end up with lumpy cream cheese temperature before you use it.
Just to be on the safe side, make sure you leave your cream cheese sitting out for about an hour before you use it. That’s if it has been in the fridge.
If it’s been in the freezer and it’s frozen solid, you should leave it overnight in the fridge to thaw first before you use it for grape salad.
Can You Make Grape Salad without Cream Cheese?
There’s a version of grape salad I really like that doesn’t use cream cheese and is quite a bit healthier. Instead of cream cheese, you’ll be using yogurt, and the kind of yogurt you use is really up to you. I definitely suggest using either plain yogurt or fruit yogurt.
You could go with some sort of fancy dessert yogurt like key lime pie or strawberry cheesecake for more of a dessert feel to the dish. Using different flavors of yogurt in the salad each time you make it will help change things up and give you some variety.
You can also mix several different kinds of yogurt together for a really interesting dish.
You can follow the same recipe I’ve given you above and just substitute yogurt in for the cream cheese.
You don’t have to leave the yogurt sitting out or wait until it gets to room temperature at all. You can use it straight from the fridge and mix it in with the rest of your ingredients.
No matter which of the ways you make your grape salad- with yogurt or cream cheese- you want to keep it refrigerated when you’re not dishing out and use it up within three to five days. If the yogurt or cream cheese starts to change color or your grapes start to spoil, you should toss out the grape salad at that point.