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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Easy Grape Salad

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This refreshing recipe for grape salad brings sweet and savory together to create the perfect side dish! The sweet red grapes are well-balanced with the addition of jalapeno peppers, creamy avocado, and soft cotija cheese. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free, and ready in just 20 minutes!

recipe for grape salad with avocado and cotija cheese in a white bowl

There’s nothing like a grape salad on a hot summer day, or truly any time of year! It’s fresh, vibrant, and a total crowd pleaser. That’s why I love making it for family gatherings and special events. The combination of the sweet grapes and tangy dressing makes it a tasty side dish for just about any meal. 

Topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds, and the optional cotija cheese, this easy fruit salad not only looks great but is also packed with a variety of textures and flavors.

Salads are my comfort food. They are always refreshing, filling, and can be made with lots of flavorful ingredients. They are ideal for potlucks, holiday dinners, or family reunions. Or, if you are like me, you can enjoy a big salad for dinner!

I just love how versatile it ends up being, and you can quickly make it even at the last minute. Add or subtract any ingredient you want, and it’ll still end up tasting great which is perfect if you have picky eaters at your place. Plus, it’s a healthier alternative to the traditional full-fat cream cheese and sour cream-based grape salads.

This recipe for creamy grape salad, along with chopped salads in general, are awesome because all of the ingredients end up being roughly the same size. You can throw just about anything in there and it will taste great!

This particular salad has creamy avocado, crunchy pumpkin seeds, spicy jalapeño, and instead of the typical tomatoes – we’re changing it up and adding in grapes! I just love the combination of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors all in one dish. They all work beautifully together and take this salad to the next level. 

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love Grape Salad

  • Plant-Based: This sweet & savory grape salad recipe is perfect for vegetarians, and easy to make vegan. The dressing is a simple blend of extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, honey, and sea salt, making it a perfect plant-based dish.
  • Quick And Easy: This salad is a breeze to put together. With just a few simple steps and ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store, you can have a delicious side dish ready in no time. Plus, it’s an easy recipe that even beginner cooks can master when making it the first time. 
  • Gluten-Free: This perfect dish is gluten-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions. It’s a delicious recipe that everyone can enjoy, regardless of dietary needs.
  • Versatile: This recipe is super versatile, you can add or omit ingredients according to your preferences. Keep reading for some of my favorite suggestions!
  • Family-Friendly: This is truly a popular dish at all our family reunions and casual gatherings. It’s a safe bet for a side dish that kids and adults alike will love. And since it is a healthier alternative to many traditional side dishes, you can feel good about serving it to your family.

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🥘 Ingredients

This easy grape salad recipe is made with basic ingredients that can be found at your local grocery store! It is a perfect last-minute side dish, with everything combining together in just a few minutes!

Ingredients for easy grape salad recipe on a white background.

For The Dressing:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This forms the creamy dressing’s foundation, adding a rich, savory depth to the tangy lime and sweet honey. You can also try avocado oil if you don’t have olive oil.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: The zesty lime juice adds a refreshing tanginess to the dressing, perfectly balancing the sweetness of the honey. If you can’t find lime juice, lemon juice would also work. Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar may be a good substitute too.
  • Honey: Honey adds a touch of natural sweetness to the dressing, complementing the tartness of the lime juice and the savoriness of the olive oil. If you do not have honey on hand, sweeten this salad with agave nectar or maple syrup. You can also go for a mixture of brown sugar and white sugar. 
  • Sea Salt: A pinch of sea salt enhances all the other flavors in the dressing, creating a balanced and well-rounded taste.

For The Salad:

  • Red Seedless Grapes: The star of this salad, seedless red grapes, bring a burst of sweetness to the dish, but any seedless grape works well in this salad. You could also change it up a bit and opt for a green grape. Green seedless grapes are more tangy than sweet. So keep that in mind when you are preparing a green grape salad.
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds a herby freshness to the salad, complementing the sweet grapes and spicy jalapeño perfectly.
  • Minced Jalapeño Pepper: A touch of minced jalapeño pepper adds a kick to the salad, spreading the heat throughout the dish without being too overwhelming. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you can omit the jalapeño or substitute it with bell peppers for a milder flavor.
  • Green Onions: Sliced green onions provide a mild, sweet onion flavor that enhances the other ingredients in the salad.
  • Ripe Avocado: Cubed avocado brings a creamy texture to the salad, balancing the sweet grapes and crunchy topping.
  • Roasted And Salted Pumpkin Seeds: These add a delicious crunch to the salad, offering a delicious contrast to the soft avocado and juicy grapes. Sunflower seeds or a mix of nuts can also be used for a different taste. 
  • Crumbled Cotija Cheese: This optional ingredient adds a salty, creamy element to the salad. Other cheeses could also work – goat cheese or feta cheese would be a tasty option! For a plant-based version of this grape salad recipe, you can simply omit the cheese or use a vegan cheese substitute.

🔪 How To Make Grape Salad

Here’s how to make the best grape salad that’s not only healthy but also easy to prepare. For more detailed instructions and nutrition facts, see the recipe card at the end of this post.

Whisk Together Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine your dressing ingredients. This includes oil, lime juice, honey, and a pinch of salt. Whisk them together until you achieve a creamy dressing consistency.

lime juice stirred into salad dressing

Combine Grapes And Dressing: Now, take your 3 cups of grapes and stir them into the dressing. Add in chopped cilantro, diced jalapeño, and chopped green onions for an added kick.

Add Avocado: Next, add diced avocado to the mix. Stir lightly to avoid mashing the avocado pieces.

recipe for grape salad with avocado and cotija cheese in a white bowl

Top With Seeds And Cheese: Transfer mixture to a clean serving bowl. To finish off, sprinkle the top of the salad with pumpkin seeds for a crunch and cheese if desired. Your healthy grape salad is now ready to be served.

recipe for grape salad with avocado and cotija cheese in a white bowl

💭 Expert Tips

  • Make Sure That Grapes Are Dry: After washing your fresh red grapes, make sure to dry them thoroughly with a paper towel. This prevents the salad from becoming too watery, which can dilute the tangy dressing and creamy goodness of the avocado.
  • Pick Crisp Grapes: Regardless of the type of grape you opt for, the most important thing is to choose firm grapes. They hold up better in the salad and provide a delicious crunch in contrast to the creamy dressing and soft avocado.
  • Halve The Grapes: Always cut your whole grapes in half before preparing the salad. This not only makes the salad easier to eat, but prevents the grapes from becoming a choking hazard when serving to kids.
  • Minimize The Heat: Mincing the jalapeño peppers finely helps to distribute the heat evenly throughout the salad. This way, you get a hint of spice in every bite without it being too overwhelming. Alternatively, you can skip it altogether. 
  • Enjoy It Fresh: The best way to enjoy this amazing creamy grape salad is when it is freshly made. The crisp grapes, creamy avocado, and tangy dressing combine to create a delicious recipe that is best savored immediately.

📖 Variations

  • Add Nuts: Add in some toasted almonds, walnuts, or crunchy pecans to the salad. They’ll provide a wonderful crunch and a nutty flavor that pairs beautifully with the juicy grapes and creamy cheese. Plus, a little boost of protein!
  • Try Fresh Herbs: Feel free to experiment with different herbs in this salad. While cilantro gives a fresh and tangy flavor, other herbs like parsley, mint, basil, chives, or dill can add a unique twist to the salad.
  • Mixed Grapes: Add a variety of grapes instead of just the red grapes. The combination of sweetness paired with tart green grapes will give this dish even more dimension.
  • Cream Cheese Grape Salad: If you’re not a fan of avocado or if it’s not available, you can replace the avocado with cream cheese to create a creamy dressing for your salad. You can also try a dressing made from plain Greek yogurt, vanilla yogurt, or a healthier alternative like light cream cheese.
  • Healthy Dessert Salad: Turn this into a sweet grape salad or healthier ambrosia salad with just a few swaps. Simply add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or incorporate fresh vanilla bean for the perfect balance. You can also top it with some whipped cream, Cool Whip, toffee bits, or chopped candy bars before serving. I personally love adding a sprinkle of brown sugar and dark chocolate chunks. 

🍽 Serving Suggestions

This red grape salad complements a variety of meals! Here are some of our favorite ways to serve it:

  • Brunch: This avocado grape salad is the perfect addition to your brunch menu. Pair it with a vegan frittata or a hearty silken tofu scramble for a perfect balance of sweet and savory.
  • Lunch: Serve this grape fruit salad alongside a protein-packed vegan chicken salad or this hearty Panera Mediterranean veggie sandwich. Its sweet taste and creamy dressing provide a nice contrast to savory lunch items.
  • Barbecues: On a hot summer day, this salad is the best side dish for your barbecue. It pairs well with grilled veggies, high protein veggie burgers, or tofu skewers.
  • Dinner: This salad can also be a light and refreshing side dish for dinner. Serve it alongside a vegetarian zucchini lasagna or stuffed vegetarian peppers for a complete and satisfying meal that guests will love.
  • Snack: Looking for a healthier alternative for a midday snack? This low calorie grape salad is it! Serve it in a big bowl for a guilt-free treat. Pair with yogurt or throw in some granola.

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This delicious grape salad recipe is already naturally gluten-free and vegetarian. And it’s really easy to make this salad completely vegan and dairy-free. Here’s how:

Vegan And Dairy-Free Option: Cotija cheese is not vegan or dairy free. You can simply omit this ingredient if you prefer, or replace it with a vegan cheese of your choice. There are numerous vegan cheeses available at your local grocery store that could provide a similar salty kick. Substitute the honey with agave nectar or maple syrup, or make your own vegan honey at home. 

🫙 Storage Directions

  • Refrigerating: If you have leftovers of this easy creamy grape salad recipe, simply store it covered with a plastic wrap or in an airtight container and refrigerate. This salad will maintain its delicious taste and creamy goodness for about 3-4 days when stored properly in the fridge. For best results, add the creamy sauce right before serving. 
  • Freezing: Unfortunately, this salad does not freeze well due to the fresh grapes and creamy dressing components. The texture of the grapes and the consistency of the dressing can change when frozen and then thawed, which can potentially ruin the flavors and textures.
  • Reheating: This grape fruit salad recipe is best enjoyed cold, especially on a hot summer day. If it has been refrigerated and you prefer it at room temperature, you can let it sit out for a little bit before serving. However, it is not recommended to heat this salad as it can alter the fresh, crisp taste of the grapes and the creamy tangy dressing.

❓Recipe FAQs


This grape salad with avocado tastes best when it is freshly tossed, so it is not recommended to prepare it ahead of time. The freshness of the ingredients, especially the avocado, might be compromised if left for too long. However, if needed you can prepare the rest of the ingredients, storing the dressing and salad fixings separating. Add the avocado right before serving!


Absolutely! This grape salad recipe is very customizable! You can add other fresh fruit like sliced peaches, strawberries, or blueberries for a different taste.


The tangy dressing is already quite creamy, thanks to the avocado. But you could also make it even more creamy adding a sour cream or cream cheese mixture to the dressing ingredients. Keep in mind that it will change the flavor and nutritional content of the salad but will turn into a great Southern grape salad.


No, the best thing about this recipe is that you can easily make the dressing without using a hand mixer or electric mixer. Simply whisk all the ingredients using a hand whisk in a large bowl, and you’re done. It’s seriously one of the easiest salad recipes ever!

recipe for grape salad with avocado and cotija cheese in a white bowl

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5 from 13 votes

Easy Grape Salad

This refreshing recipe for grape salad brings sweet and savory together to create the perfect side dish! The sweet red grapes are well-balanced with the addition of jalapeno peppers, creamy avocado, and soft cotija cheese. It's vegetarian, gluten-free, and ready in just 20 minutes!
Prep Time20 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 162.4kcal
Author: Anjali Shah




  • 3 cups red seedless grapes halved
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp minced jalapeño pepper
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado cubed
  • ¼ cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese optional


To prepare the dressing:

  • Whisk together the oil, lime juice, honey, and salt in a large bowl.

To prepare the salad:

  • Stir the grapes, cilantro, jalapeño, and green onions into the dressing. Add the avocado and stir again lightly. Sprinkle the top with the pumpkin seeds and cheese, if desired.


    Recipe Variations
    • Use Different Grapes: Any seedless grape works well in this salad. You could also change it up a bit and opt for a green grape. Green grapes are more tangy than sweet. So keep that in mind when you are preparing your grape salad.
    • Add fresh herbs: Adding fresh herbs is a wonderful idea. Not only do herbs give you more flavor, but they are also vibrant and beautiful. I used fresh cilantro for this recipe because it pairs well with the other ingredients. However, you can easily swap it or use it with any other fresh herb. I suggest parsley, chives, or mint. 
    • Skip the jalapeño: If you’re not into spice, skip the jalapeño. You’ll still have a bright and flavorful salad.
    • Add Nuts: This grape salad recipe uses pumpkin seeds, but walnuts or pecans would also taste great in this salad.
    Top Tips For Making This Recipe For Grape Salad
    • Wash and dry your grapes well so they don’t make the salad too watery.
    • Cut the grapes in half before preparing the salad. This is a vital step because if you are serving it to children especially it can be a choking hazard. Plus, it’s just easier to eat when the grapes are in half. 
    • You can easily customize the salad by adding or omitting some of the ingredients. For example, if you aren’t a fan of Cojita cheese, you could swap it for feta, goat, or leave it off all together. 
    • Mincing the jalapeño will help spread the heat throughout the salad and not be too overwhelming. 
    • Don’t make this grape salad recipe ahead of time – it tastes the best when it’s freshly tossed!
    Adapted from Heather K. Jones


    Calories: 162.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 19.3g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 9.7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4.2mg | Sodium: 149.4mg | Potassium: 315.9mg | Fiber: 2.8g | Sugar: 13.5g

    Anjali Shah

    22 responses to “Easy Grape Salad”

    1. I love the combination of sweet grapes and creamy dressing. It’s the perfect side dish for any occasion. I can’t get enough of it!5 stars

    2. I love all the flavors in this! Made this for a family BBQ at the weekend and everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

    3. Yum! First time I tried grapes with all the savoury things in a salad, but enjoyed it very much and would make it again 🙂5 stars

    4. I love the look of this! So many amazing flavours married together. There’s nothing better than a good homemade salad, especially when there’s avocado involved!5 stars

    5. Awesome recipe!
      It will certainly happen tomorrow. I am amazed at low calories it contains. It perfectly suits those who prefer both healthy eating and want to lose weight. You do not always have to only eat veggies to lose weight; but, if you follow the right kinds of salads that are rich in nutrients, high in proteins and low in fat, then you might be in for some good results.
      Thanks for sharing!5 stars

    6. I couldn’t wait and made it this morning, took it to my Mahjong group this afternoon. Eight women who RAVED about it and scraped every last morsel out of the bowl! I skipped the pumpkin seeds (because I don’t like them) and the jalapeno because I didn’t know everyone’s “hot” level! Oh, I also used blue cheese. I will be making this again and again!!

      (Oh, I also share it on my FB page: Girlfriends Weight Loss Support Group)5 stars

      • Woohoo!! That is such great news Barb! Love the idea of swapping in blue cheese – I bet that gave the salad a wonderful “bite”! Thanks for sharing it too! 🙂

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