Recipe: Red Fruit Salad with Lemon-Vanilla Bean Syrup

updated Jun 4, 2019
Red Fruit Salad with Lemon-Vanilla Bean Syrup
This fruit salad filled with peaches, raspberries, and cherries is drenched in a light lemon-vanilla syrup.

Serves6 to 8

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(Image credit: Linda Xiao)

I suppose one could make the case that dressing a fruit salad is a bit like gilding the lily, especially when the fruit is at the height of season. To that argument I say, a little extra bling never hurt anybody!

In this fruit salad from Yossy Arefi, the bling comes in the form of sweet-tart lemon-vanilla bean syrup.

(Image credit: Linda Xiao)

Beyond the syrup (which you can use to jazz up sparkling water or a cocktail), this fruit salad is all about using what you like, what looks good, and what smells good. A good fruit salad should appeal to all of your senses, including sight.

“You can certainly use whatever type of in-season fruit you like for this salad, but choosing fruit all in one tonal range makes a big visual impact,” says Yossy. “That’s a tip I learned from Lexi Mainland.”

This rosy-toned salad keeps things in the school of blush, rose, red, and marigold, with the likes of rhubarb, cherries, peaches, strawberries, and raspberries. Start with this combination, but feel free to mix and match — just don’t forget the bling!

Red Fruit Salad with Lemon-Vanilla Bean Syrup

This fruit salad filled with peaches, raspberries, and cherries is drenched in a light lemon-vanilla syrup.

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


For the syrup:

  • 2 to 3

    medium lemons, washed and dried

  • 1

    vanilla bean

  • 1/2 cup

    (100 grams) granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup


For the fruit salad:

  • 1 cup

    very thinly sliced rhubarb (from 1 large stalk)

  • 2 cups

    (280 grams) cherries, pitted and halved

  • 2

    medium peaches (225 grams), pitted and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

  • 1 pound

    (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and sliced

  • 1

    generous cup (170 grams) raspberries

Optional garnishes:

  • Fresh mint

  • Bee pollen

  • Toasted coconut flakes

  • Black sesame seeds

  • Whipped cream


Make the syrup:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest from 1 of the lemons. Juice the lemons until you have 1/4 cup of juice; set aside.

  2. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife. Use the tip of the knife to scrape the vanilla bean seeds from the pod. Add the seeds, pod, lemon zest, sugar, and water to a small saucepan.

  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the reserved lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature, then remove the lemon zest and vanilla bean pod.

  4. Store the syrup in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to use.

Make the fruit salad:

  1. Place the rhubarb in a large bowl, add 3 tablespoons of the lemon-vanilla bean syrup, and stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

  2. Add the cherries, peaches, and strawberries and toss gently to combine, adding more syrup if desired. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the raspberries over the top. Serve immediately with additional syrup and whipped cream or additional toppings on the side, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Leftover syrup: Use the leftover syrup in cocktails or mixed with sparkling water for a non-alcoholic drink.

Storage: The syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. The fruit salad can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, but the fruit will be mushy after a few days — especially if it's been mixed with syrup.

Make ahead: Make the syrup up to a few weeks in advance and store in the refrigerator.

Styling Credits

  • Food styling by Yossy Arefi
  • Carats DOF Glasses in Pink and Mint courtesy of World Market
  • Bowl with Pale Mint Swirl and Ring Dish courtesy of Suite One Studio
  • Astier de Villatte Footed Bowls (medium and small) and Iridescent Serving Utensil courtesy of ABC Home
(Image credit: Yossy Arefi)

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