New Ambrosia Salad

New Ambrosia Salad

[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

Remember that retro salad of fruit, marshmallows, and coconut? This is inspired by that creation, but much more grown up.

Note: If you can't find unsweetened coconut, reduce amount of coconut to 1 1/2 tablespoons, making sure to break apart any clumps

Adapted from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee.

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Editor of Serious Eats Sweets and the Community Manager of Serious Eat. She writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios

  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 20 minutes
  • Total time:20 minutes


  • For the Salad
  • 1 navel orange, segments removed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 grapefruit, segments removed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 2/3 English cucumber, halved then cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 japapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish if desired
  • For the Dressing
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons juice from 2 limes
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed with a fork or the back of a knife on a cutting board until smooth
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (see note above)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. 1.

    Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for salad.

  2. 2.

    Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, buttermilk, and lime juice until combined. Add garlic, coconut, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined. Pour over salad and toss to coat.