This vintage recipe for a grape salad has never seemed to be a recipe that would appeal to me because grapes are stirred into a cream cheese base. I have always felt that grapes are sweet and delicious all on their own! But then so many people who tried it really liked it and I was convinced to give it a taste. As it turns out, the grapes provide an unexpected flavor to the cream cheese mixture, and I now see why so many people love this recipe.
I searched to find out this recipe’s origin but ultimately had to make an educated guess. I originally read it hails from Minnesota, but after further searching, many Minnesotans rejected the dish and said they had never eaten it. So, it seems it is not a classic Minnesota holiday recipe after all.
A Southern Recipe?
The earliest recipe I have, called Cream Cheese Grape Salad, is printed on a page torn from a magazine from 2006, but the magazine name is not anywhere on the page. However, the person who submitted the recipe is from Georgia, which leads me to believe the recipe is from the Southern U.S. Another similar recipe I have, called simply Grape Salad, is from a relative who submitted it to a church cookbook after 2006. I chose the relative’s recipe because she is not only a good cook, but she always selects delicious recipes for parties that everyone raves about — and this is one of those! I have tweaked it a little, but it is close to hers, and I think you will love it.
This recipe calls for red and green grapes, but it works well with just one kind of grape, although the two colors are pretty together. If your grapes are large, consider cutting them in half, either horizontally or vertically, which makes them easier to eat.
Cream Cheese Mixture
Mix cream cheese, granulated sugar, vanilla, and sour cream in a bowl; then pour it over the grapes and stir together. You might think you added too much cream cheese to the grapes when you stir it in. But when you eat it, it tastes like just the right amount.
Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the grape and cream cheese mixture. I have also tried this recipe by mixing the brown sugar with the cream cheese (instead of sprinkling it on top). But it gave the cream cheese mixture a runny consistency and somewhat different taste. It is better to top the salad with brown sugar as written in the recipe because it adds extra flavor and balances the tartness of the grapes.
Chop and toast pecans and sprinkle them over top of the brown sugar. If in a hurry, you can skip toasting, but the toasted taste pairs very well with the brown sugar. Let me know how you like this recipe and if you know where it originated. Enjoy!