Apple buko salad is a fresh take on a classic Filipino holiday dessert. Made with young coconuts and gorgeous Ontario apples, it’s sweet, tangy, red, green, delicious!
Disclosure: This Easy Refreshing Apple Buko Salad post is sponsored by Ontario Apple Growers but all photos, words and opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands and organizations that support me!
Christmas prep is in full swing in the TUB household.
The tree is up (who am I kidding, you guys know it’s been up for a while now lol!), presents are starting to pile up waiting to be wrapped and we’re close to finalizing the holiday menu for the different parties we’re hosting this year.
Apple buko salad will make an appearance, of course.
Like Filipino Style Spaghetti, Ube Cake and Brazo de Mercedes, it’s one of those dishes that we grew up eating around the holidays (I remember there’s always buko shortage just before Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, which is a serious matter in a land of coconuts!).
It’s a refreshing, sweet and wonderful dessert to cap a sensational holiday feast.
Fresh apples instead of canned fruit
Traditional buko salad is usually made of young coconut plus a can (or cans) of fruit cocktail.
Fresh fruit like apples, oranges and pears are not organic to the Philippines and therefore a little expensive so a lot of Filipinos turn to the cheaper, canned alternative.
Luckily, I now live in Ontario where apples are not only abundant but affordable too. Fact: there are 15 different main varieties of apples grown on nearly 16,000 acres in Ontario!
So many apples, so little time. You can read more fun apple facts here.
This time I paired apples with young coconut to make a beloved Filipino dessert.
What kind of apple to use
For this apple buko salad, I wanted a crisp apple – one that would not get soggy submerged in all that delicious milky dressing. I knew crisp apples would also lend a wonderful texture to the salad.
I also knew I wanted a tart apple as a refreshing contrast to all that sweetness. So in the end I chose Empire apples – slightly tart, juicy and crisp. Perfect! (Here’s a great apple usage guide.)
Apple buko salad for Christmas
Armed with a single apple goal, I went to go buy my Empire apples (quick tip: look for the Foodland logo to make sure you’re buying Ontario apples) and started to recreate a childhood favourite.
And you know how food has that magical ability to transport you? That’s what happened when we were making this.
It smelled like Christmas, it looked like Christmas and it tasted like Christmas! It brought us back to a time of love, family and simple joys. Who knew a humble apple buko salad can do that?
This holiday season, amidst all the chaos that is our lives, I wish you all quiet moments filled with simple joys.
And how about some apple buko salad while you’re at it? It’s quick and easy to make, no baking, just stirring, and it is delicious.
Filipino Buko Salad with Apples
- 2 cups young coconut meat grated, see note 1
- 1 ½ lbs Empire apples (3-4 apples) cored and cubed
- ¼ lb sharp cheddar cheese cubed
- 1 12-oz jar sugar palm (kaong) in syrup see note 2
- 1 12-oz jar coconut gel (nata de coco) drained, see note 2
- 1 10-oz can condensed milk
- ½ cup table cream
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (except the milk and cream) together.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk condensed milk and table cream until combined. Pour over fruit and stir. Chill before serving.
- If fresh young coconut is not available, you can buy frozen grated coconut from Asian stores or the international aisle of your supermarket. Just thaw according to package instructions.
- You can also find sugar palm and coconut gel in Asian stores, the international aisle, or online.
- Look for the Foodland logo to make sure you’re buying Ontario apples.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make apple buko salad? What’s that one dish that reminds you of Christmas? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.