Low Sodium Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

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This Thanksgiving Fruit Salad is a simple and surprisingly delicious addition to your holiday table. You can prep the ingredients ahead and toss it together when you’re ready to serve. 

fruit salad in bowl

Brighten up your Thanksgiving menu with this simple and oh-so-delicious fruit salad. It will add a burst of color to your table and serve as a simple and sweet addition to the heaviness of the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

It’s easy to prepare and is a perfect potluck dish. The orange simple syrup adds a layer of sweetness to the fruit, making it versatile enough to serve as a light dessert. Wherever it fits in with your holiday menu, your family and friends will love it. This recipe is a surefire crowd-pleaser!


Sugar and Water – you’ll need equal parts sugar and water to make a simple syrup

Mandarin Orange Peel – the peels from the oranges in the salad will give you enough to flavor your simple syrup

Orange Juice – fresh squeezed is best, but bottled juice will also work

Vanilla – stir the vanilla in once the syrup’s been removed from the heat

Honeycrisp Apples – Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples also work well

Pears – choose firm fruit, soft pears will get soft and mushy when the syrup is added

Mandarin Oranges – remove as much of the white pith as possible

Red Seedless Grapes – cut them in half lengthwise so they’re better able to absorb the simple syrup

Pecans – toast them for a fuller flavor

Optional – Pomegranate Seeds – sprinkle them on just before serving for color and additional crunch


Small Pot


Large Serving Bowl

How to Make Thanksgiving Fruit Salad

Prepare the Orange Simple Syrup: Stir the sugar, water, and mandarin orange peels together in a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove the simple syrup from heat and stir in orange juice and vanilla extract. 

simple syrup ingredients in pot

Set aside to cool to room temperature, then strain into a small bowl.

Assemble the Salad: Combine fruit in a large bowl. Pour room temperature Orange Simple Syrup over the fruit and toss until evenly coated. Chill up to overnight until ready to serve. Add toasted pecans just before serving.

steps to make fruit salad

Variations on a Delicious Theme

This fruit salad is easy to adapt based on the fruits you have on hand. Kiwi and pineapple are excellent substitutions or additions. I love toasted pecans, but walnuts and almonds will also produce delicious results. 

Adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to the simple syrup will give the salad even more flavor. Add a pinch of the spices after you take the syrup off the heat. 

fruit salad in bowl

Thanksgiving Fruit Salad FAQs

How much sodium is in this recipe?

This recipe has about 1 mg of sodium per serving! 

Can I make this ahead?

Yes, you can assemble the salad up to one day ahead. Leave the nuts out and add them just before serving. The nuts will soften and lose their crunch the longer they sit in the salad.

How do I keep the apples and pears from turning brown?

The simple syrup will help prevent the fruit from oxidizing or turning brown. 

How can I make a smaller batch?
This recipe makes eight 1-cup servings. Prepare a half batch for four servings.  

fruit salad in bowl

More Thanksgiving Recipes

If you like this recipe, try my Low Sodium Sautéed Green Beans with Cranberries & Almonds, Low Sodium Kale Quinoa Salad, and Cajun Cornbread Dressing. Watch the web story here.

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