If you’ve attended a potluck in the Midwest, you know we use the term “salad” pretty loosely around here. Grape Salad is made with a mix of red and green grapes and pecans in a creamy, sweet brown sugar, sour cream, and cream cheese dressing.
Grape salad is cool, crunchy, and surprisingly refreshing.
Sure, it sounds a little weird (kind of like Pineapple Casserole), but boy does it hit the spot!
Even items that would usually be green (like Pea Salad) look white, thanks to the plethora of mayo- and cream-cheese-based dressings.
Add in fluff salads (which are made with some combination of Cool Whip, Jell-O, sour cream, and mini-marshmallows), and you have a sea of white that all looks more or less the same.
While I will always be drawn to more vibrant, veggie-loaded salads (like Roasted Vegetable Salad), grape salad is an old-school recipe for which I have an exceptional weakness.
It has a way of making a relaxed, nostalgic meal feel complete.
- Grape salad comes together in a hurry and can pair with a wide range of mains.
- It’s an excellent last-minute addition to brunch or even a family holiday spread.
- This salad is accessible year-round, especially in the winter when the ingredients for a berry-forward Fruit Salad are out of season.
How to Make Grape Salad
Meet a healthy grape salad, Well Plated style!
- I make my grape salad without sour cream or marshmallow cream, opting instead for Greek yogurt, which provides the same creaminess and moderate tang.
- I also cut down on the sugar by…a lot. I add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon honey.
- By comparison, many classic recipes (like Amish grape salad or the Pioneer Woman’s grape salad) call for 1 full cup, which I truly cannot imagine.
Today’s healthy grape salad is plenty sweet, I promise!
- Grapes. Thanks to this yummy salad, you’ll always know what you can do with excess grapes! Making grape salad is the perfect answer to a grape surplus. In addition to their delightfully sweet flavor and juiciness, grapes are rich in vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin K) and antioxidants.
- Apple. While not traditional to grape salad, I love the burst of crispness that the apple provides.
- Pecans. Toasted pecans add a nice crunch and nuttiness to the salad.
- Cream Cheese. Cream cheese is rich, creamy, and instantly turns this dish into a crowd-pleaser. I opted to use reduced fat cream cheese, which helps keep this salad on the lighter side.
- Greek Yogurt. Adds further creaminess and a delightful tang. Plus, Greek yogurt boosts the protein and calcium in this dish.
- Sugar. A little sugar is all that’s needed to give this dish sweetness.
- Honey. Not only does honey add extra sweetness, but it also adds wonderful flavor. Maple syrup would also work well here.
- Vanilla. The somethin’ somethin’ that makes this dish truly addictive.
- Cinnamon. The warmth and spice of cinnamon complements the vanilla perfectly.
- Toast the pecans.
- Beat together the cream cheese dressing.
- Add the grapes, apples, and part of the chopped pecans.
- Stir. Finish with the remaining pecans and ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate grape salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, toast the pecans and beat the cream cheese mixture together. Cover and refrigerate the cream cheese mixture, and place the toasted pecans in an airtight storage container at room temperature. Stir together and refrigerate up to 4 hours before serving.
Serve leftover grape salad with crackers, crostini, or pita chips for an easy snack or over a bed of lettuce for a light lunch.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Mixing Bowls. Mix and serve the grape salad in one of these glass bowls.
- Whisk. A small whisk like this one helps avoid splashing.
- Baking Sheet. Ideal for toasting the pecans.
Whether today is your first time hearing about grape salad (welcome!), you vaguely recall it from a church potluck of yore, or you make it on the reg, I hope you give this lightened up version a try soon.
It’s a refreshing take on a retro classic, one of the very best kinds of recipes!
Frequently Asked Questions
To make this recipe dairy free, swap the cream cheese and Greek yogurt for non-dairy substitutes. There are tofu-based cream cheeses and almond or soy Greek yogurts.
If you’re unable to find either red or green grapes, you can still make this recipe. Swap the color you have for the one you’re missing.
Yes, you can use frozen grapes to make this salad. The salad will be more mushy, however. Let them thaw in the refrigerator before using them in the recipe and blot away any excess moisture.
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 pound seedless red grapes about 2 1/2 cups
- 1 pound seedless green grapes about 2 1/2 cups
- 2 medium sweet-crisp apples such as Gala, Fuji, or Honeycrisp, diced (or an additional 1 pound mixed grapes)
- 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. DO NOT WALK AWAY. Nuts love to burn at the last second. Set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth and creamy.
- Place the grapes and apples in the bowl with the cream cheese. Roughly chop the pecans and add about 2/3 of them to the bowl.
- Stir to combine, using a big spoon to coat the fruit evenly.
- Sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans over the top. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate grape salad in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Up to 1 day in advance, toast the pecans and beat the cream cheese mixture together. Cover and refrigerate the cream cheese mixture, and place the toasted pecans in an airtight storage container at room temperature.
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