Five Cup Salad for a Crowd – A good, old-fashioned fruit salad, perfect for spring and summer!

Five Cup Salad is a perfect warm weather side salad! It’s full of tropical flavors and is ridiculously quick and easy to make the day before serving. At Miss Party’s house, it makes an appearance on every holiday brunch or dinner menu, year in and year out, just as it did throughout her childhood.

Below is the recipe for ONE batch of Five Cup Salad which is probably adequate if you will be making up mini single servings or want a small bowl as a side salad for serving 4-6 people. If serving the salad for a crowd and want to fill a good-sized serving bowl, plan to double or triple it. If you quadruple the recipe make it in two double batches to keep the volume of ingredients manageable. This festive white and orange salad is particularly attractive in a glass serving bowl.

Do you make this old-fashioned fruit salad with different proportions or ingredients? Please share what you do differently…

For ONE batch of Five Cup Salad, you’ll need:

1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1 cup mandarin orange segments, drained well and halved
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained well (place pineapple in a separate bowl and pat surface with a paper towel to absorb extra juice (Miss Party prefers tidbits over crushed pineapple)
2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows (marshmallows soak up extra juice from the fruit and keeps the salad from being soupy)
3/4 cup regular or low fat sour cream (no taste difference is discernible), drained

If interested in garnishing the top of the salad, you will need:

1 can of mandarin orange segments
1 small can of pineapple rings

Ideas for additions and variations to the original recipe:

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and halved
1 cup canned fruit cocktail, well drained
1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
Substituting 1/2 the sour cream with non-dairy whipped topping, such as “Cool Whip”
Substituting sour cream with Vanilla Yogurt (if you would like to keep the sour cream tang, try Vanilla Greek Yogurt)

Five Cup Salad is best prepared the day before serving to give it time to ‘set-up’.

1) In medium bowl, gently combine coconut, halved mandarin orange segments and pineapple tidbits.

2) Gently fold in sour cream to the mixture, then gently fold in marshmallows. Gently stir until well combined.

3) Before storing the serving bowl or anytime prior to serving, garnish the top of the salad with the pineapple rings (left whole or cut into pieces) and whole mandarin orange segments. Both should be well drained.

4) Transfer salad into serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap or put into a plastic container and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours, but overnight is preferred. If making a large quantity, do both so that you will have extra salad to refill the serving bowl.

Additional notes:

-The salad will ‘set up’ overnight, much like a gelatin-type of salad, hence the reason for refrigerating it in your serving bowl. With that being said, it does not ruin the look of the salad for it to be transferred into a serving bowl after setting up. The surface of the salad can be smoothed for presentation.

-It is important to drain fruit and sour cream very well, even to the extent of patting fruit with paper toweling to remove excess juice. If not done adequately, the Five Cup Salad will get soupy.

-If you would like to serve Five Cup Salad in a more upscale, contemporary way, another option is to serve it in pre-portioned mini plastic hors d’oeuvre bowls/cups. There are many unique styles and shapes available, including using shot glasses. Make neat rows of the containers on a tray or serving platter. Also purchase mini forks/spoons.

-For a fully edible (no utensil needed) fruit hors d’oeuvre presentation, try placing a kiwi slice (peeled) into a white, mini cupcake liner. On top of the kiwi slice place a small scoop of pre-set Five Cup Salad. Alternate garnishing the hors d’oeuvres with mandarin orange segments or 1 inch wedges of fresh or canned pineapple.

-You may be familiar with Ambrosia Salad which is quite similar to Five Cup Salad. If you prefer Ambrosia’s more dessert-like sweetness and ingredients, you might enjoy trying the additions or substitutions that go in that direction.

- Five Cup Salad goes particularly well as a side salad for a menu that includes ham.

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