CREAMY FRUIT SALAD RECIPE WITH HOMEMADE VANILLA DRESSING

Hopefully, by this time of year, most years, winter is safely behind us (although we’ve been known to have the odd May long weekend snowstorm here in Manitoba!), and we can look forward to longer, sunnier days, warmer weather, picnics, swimming pools. We can crack the windows and smell something other than snow (I hope!).
Fruit Salad Tips & Tricks:

This fruit salad is naturally vegetarian, egg free and gluten free, just be sure to check all of your packages and ensure nothing has been contaminated before serving to those with allergies.
You can easily make this fruit salad recipe dairy free and vegan by using almond milk.
You can boost the protein by adding a little plain Greek yogurt to the dressing before serving.
Tips to Make Ahead:

If you want to make the recipe and have it keep until the next day, be sure to use strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, grapes and stay away from the very juicy or citrusy fruit like oranges, pineapple and kiwi. They will release a lot of juices in just a few hours, so if you add them, be sure you are serving right away and won’t have a lot left over. Otherwise, stick to berries and grapes to be safe.
Another way to prep ahead is to make the dressing a day or two before, store in the fridge and then just combine before serving. I would be sure to leave out the lemon zest until the last minute, or leave it out completely if not serving immediately.

Ingredients
2 cups 1% milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest optional
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 lb fresh strawberries hulled and quartered
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup mandarin oranges optional (see note)
3 kiwi sliced, optional (see note)
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks optional (see note)
1 cup red grapes

Instructions
In a medium skillet, whisk together milk, sugar and corn starch. Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thickened, about 8-10 minutes (it won't be thick like pudding, it is a dressing -- but it will thicken considerably).
Stir in lemon zest (if using) and vanilla. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl combine strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, oranges, kiwi, pineapple and grapes. Pour dressing over and toss to coat (be gentle -- you don't want mush!).
Serve at room temperature or chill to serve later. If making ahead, I prefer not to add the dressing until 3-4 hours or less before serving.