Why didn’t we think of this before?

Fruit salad is an easy go-to for just about any meal—especially during the summer bounty—but it can also feel a bit tired out and kind of stuck between a side dish and a dessert. Never fear. Here's a trick to put your fruit salad firmly in a place on your dinner plate, while also amping up its appeal.

The fruit salad secret: fresh herbs and a little grilling!

Mind blown, right? Get ready to revolutionize any fruit salad with the magic combination of fresh herbs (also in abundance this time of year) and the flavor that comes from grilling. Adding some grilled fruits to your fruit salad and tossing with some fresh herbs brings out the balance of sweet and savory and makes your fruit salad an amazing pairing for any grilled or roasted meats. 

How to upgrade your fruit salad with herbs and grilled fruits

First, let's start with the grilling. 

You can make this salad with one type of fruit or several. No matter how many types of fruits you use, grill about half of the fruit that goes into the dish, so that the smoke and char do not overwhelm. Fruits that I find work best on the grill are:

  • Pineapple
  • Figs
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Plums

For pineapple, peel, core, and cut into one-inch rings. Cut figs in half. For stone fruit, slice in half and remove the stone. From there, lightly oil each piece with a neutral oil like canola, and grill until they have nice grill marks, are a little browned on the edges, and have softened slightly.

Now, it's time to build the salad.

Mix equal parts chopped or cubed grilled fruit with fresh fruit. For every four cups of fruit, you want a tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs and a pinch of salt to bring out the juices and sweetness. Serve at room temp for best flavor. If you really want to lean into the salad aspect, add some crumbled feta or chevre.

Fruit Salad
Credit: Getty / happy_lark

Fruit and herb combinations to try

You can have fun playing with any combinations that sound appealing, but here are some starter ideas that I love! 

  • Watermelon cubes with grilled nectarines and basil
  • Grilled yellow peaches and fresh white peaches and raspberries with chervil
  • Grilled plums with fresh blackberries and thyme
  • Grilled pineapple with fresh cherries and mint

If you want a little bonus, add a few drops of orange blossom water to agave syrup or honey and drizzle over your fruit salad before serving, or top with chopped toasted pecans, pistachios, or sliced almonds.