New School "Fruit" Salad

Fruit salad is a soul food staple. Whether we’re talking about delectable-enough-for-the- Christmas-table ambrosia, or old-school fruit cocktail eaten straight from the can, mixed fruits in various forms and fashions were served in Dear’s, Grandma’s, Nana’s, and Mama’s kitchens.

But let’s just admit right now that commercial fruit cocktail is an abomination that should never be served to anybody’s child. The way the fruit is processed, there’s almost no fiber, few vitamins, too much sugar, and too many calories. It needs to be stricken from school cafeteria menus, from recipes, and from pantry shelves. Instead, make this new-school fruit salad, which tastes great, looks beautiful, packs nutrients, and rights old wrongs.

What other old wrong might that be? Stigmatizing eating watermelon. We know black families who refuse to this day to let their children eat watermelon in public because they don’t want to reinforce stereotypes. But guess what? Watermelon is a fat-free taste treat that everyone should enjoy. So we chop what was traditionally sliced and introduce new fruits to the mix. As an added bonus, this salad is also something of a botany lesson. Many people forget that avocados are fruits. Same with tomatoes. This recipe is a tasty reminder.

Watermelon salad summer salad

Serves 8


3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
2 pinches of pepper
1⁄4 medium watermelon, preferably seedless
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 avocados, diced
3⁄4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl.

Remove the rind from the watermelon and chop the flesh into ½-inch cubes. Combine with the tomatoes and avocados in a serving bowl, and gently toss.

Add the feta cheese and the dressing, and toss again.

The above excerpt is taken from Soul Food Love by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams (Clarkson Potter, 2015)