I was fortunate to have grown up on the tropical island of Oahu, Hawaii. I was born and raised there, and I loved having fresh fruit at my disposal. Of course, living there, it's easy to get some of the sweetest pineapples that were picked just a few hours earlier, and we had a huge mango tree in my yard. My mom hated all the "junk" that it would drop when the mangoes were in season, but all the kids loved it! There were just so many mangoes you couldn't give any away! Nobody needed more mangoes. Anyway, I've been living in the mid-atlantic for nearly 20 years, and I do miss the sweet, tropical flavors that I grew up with. I can't wait to get back to the islands, but in the meantime, this collection of recipes will have to hold me over.
Many grocery stores carry mangoes, papaya, and pineapple that you can transform into salsa, blend into drinks, or use in desserts. For the more exotic dragon fruit, passion fruit, and kiwano, you may have to look into a ethnic grocery store. Think of it as a little treasure hunt -- you never know what new and exciting things you will find.
I know that there are so many amazing fruits out there, like lychee, rambutan, and guava (one of my favorites), but I find those are really tough to come by. If you find them, snatch them up, because you've found a gold mine! Get out there this summer, and find those delicious little gems!
Wake up, and get going with these delicious Tropical Fruit Smoothie Bowls. Full of mangoes, papaya, and pineapple, these yogurt-base smoothie bowls are sure to have you out the door in no time. Recipe from Pint Sized Baker.
Start off your day with some Pineapple Passion Fruit Jam. This sweet combo is also amazing on your breakfast toast, but it'll also be a great addition to a slice of plain cheesecake or vanilla ice cream. Recipe from Manu's Menu.
Rise and shine with this vegan breakfast for banana chia pudding with mango lime puree. If that's not sweet enough for you, the topping of the passion fruit is sure to please. Recipe from A Virtual Vegan.
You can't go to the tropics without having some seafood. These delightful Fish Tacos are loaded with a sweet-and-spicy mango salsa. It's the perfect way to keep you looking great in your bathing suit! Recipe from The Lemon Bowl.
I've got you covered for a cocktail! Check out these stunning Pineapple and Jalapeno Margaritas. Talk about puckered lips! There's even some chili powder mixed into the salt on the rim of the glass. Recipe from The Blond Cook.
You're going to need to cool your lips off with these Strawberry and Passion Fruit Paletas -- aka ice pops. Talk about a sweet and fruity combo. If you can't find fresh passion fruit in your stores, you can look for passion fruit juice instead. Recipe from Laylita's Recipes.
Sit back and enjoy a beer or two while you munch away on some chips and salsa -- mango salsa, that is. This salsa is loaded up with red sweet pepper, red onion, jalapenos, habanero peppers, and cilantro, so you know it's gonna be good! Recipe from Flavor Mosaic.
Looking for a tropical side dish? This Black Bean Salad is loaded up with sweet pineapples, pomegranate arils, and huge coconut shavings. Why have a boring side, when you can have this ready in 10 minutes? Recipe from An Edible Mosaic.
It's so awesome to sit and relax at the end of the day with an easy dessert. This Mango Gelee recipe is a simple mango puree and sweetened vanilla yogurt that has gelatin added to it. It's so simple -- the hardest part is cutting around the mango seed. Recipe from Pint Sized Baker.
Sweet, grilled pineapple on top of a veggie burger and slathered in BBQ sauce! Did you know that when you grill a pineapple, it gets softer and sweeter? Sounds like a winning combination to me. Recipe from Delightful E Made.
Kiwano is also called a Horned Melon, and you can tell why from the photo. These strange looking fruits are said to taste like a banana got together with a kiwi, cucumber, and lime. You can eat them like an orange, or add them to an ice cream base like It's Yummi did.
Planning a luau by the pool? Your guests are going to love these delicious, bite-size strawberry and mango salsa cups. They are individually-sized and ready to pop into your mouth -- the perfect way to mingle and munch at the same time. Recipe from Barbra Bakes.
Dragon Fruit is another exotic fruit that might leave you scratching your head. It's bright pink with some green at the tips of the leathery skin, and it comes from a cactus. It tastes like a kiwi and pear, and that sounds like it would make an outstanding Shrub Cocktail! Recipe from An Edible Mosaic.
OK, you may be scratching your head on this one, too. Yes, Hummingbird Cake is a staple in the south, but this cake is studded with pineapple chunks, covered in a pineapple frosting, and those pineapple flowers are just too darn pretty! I thought this beautiful cake would be perfect to go with this tropical theme. Recipe from Pint Sized Baker.
This Topical Fruit Salad is just screaming to be made and taken to the park or pool this summer! It's full of mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and star fruit. Star fruit may also be a bit tricky to find, but it's well worth the hunt. It tastes like a juicer Asian pear, and the kids love the shape! Recipe from Mom on Timeout.