Every once in awhile I surprise myself. For example, yesterday I was hungry in the middle of the afternoon, and I made myself a salad. I didn’t crave chips or chocolate or something supremely unhealthy. All I wanted was this dried cherry goat cheese salad.
The fact that I craved this salad surprised me, but it shouldn’t. When I made this for lunch for the PTO presidents for our twice a month meeting, it disappeared. I had hoped to have some leftovers to bring home to enjoy for dinner. No such luck, but that also says a lot of this fantastic and easy to make salad.
I like salad. I’d honestly eat it every day and I have some great recipes I enjoy – if someone were to prep the veggies for me, that is. Unfortunately, my winning lottery ticket appears to be lost in the mail somewhere. I do still frequently make salads, but not as often as I should. This salad takes just a few minutes, as it contains fewer ingredients than more salads I make. You could add other flavors if you chose. Slicing some green onions in it would taste fantastic. The simplicity of this dried cherry goat cheese salad wins me over, however.
I doubled the recipe for the red wine vinaigrette – one of my favorite dressings! – which left me with extra to recreate this salad again and again in individual portions. In fact, I ate it for lunch and dinner yesterday. Today, I’m out of goat cheese, so I branched out a bit. Tomorrow you may find me with another bowl, however.
This dried cherry and goat cheese salad has a fresh light taste perfect for summer. I made it for a group, and I may make it again for a friend’s bbq this weekend. This works as well for a potluck dinner as it does for a family dinner – my kind of recipe!
One tip – if you make extra red wine vinaigrette and store it in the fridge, let it come to room temperature before using. I like to use a good quality olive oil in my dressings, and that solidifies in the fridge but easily returns to “normal” at room temperature with no change in taste. I like to make extra because it encourages me to eat more salads when I know I just have to toss the ingredients into a bowl and not make dressing again!
How to Make Dried Cherry Goat Cheese Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
Yes, I have a recipe, and it isn’t to simply throw everything together.
Ok, it mostly is, but the vinaigrette is the exception. In a bowl, whisk together mustard and red wine vinegar. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil slowly. Keep whisking until emulsified. Add salt and pepper and whisk again. I grew up making vinaigrette using a fork to mix, and that works beautifully. Simple wins in this dried cherry and goat cheese salad recipe.
Set aside while you prep the salad. Wash lettuce. I love to use the artisan spring lettuce heads. They add gorgeous color and taste and texture to this salad, but you could make this with Bibb lettuce or Romaine or another hearty lettuce if you choose. Dry thoroughly and tear into bite size pieces. No one likes to use a knife to cut a salad!
Prep dried cherries. I finally learned the trick to rinse my dried cherries. Rinsing them removes just a touch of the sugar which makes chopping them for this salad much simpler, and they don’t stick together on your salad either. Simply hold them in your hands to rinse gently then squeeze out the water. Place on your cutting board and chop roughly – just enough to cut them into half or slightly smaller.
In a bowl, add your lettuce and top with dried cherries. Sprinkle sunflower seeds (or pepitas!) over the cherries. Crumble goat cheese over the whole salad. Drizzle on the red wine vinaigrette, and serve immediately.
Have you ever had a dried cherry goat cheese salad? What’s your favorite summer salad?
For the vinaigrette
- 3 T red wine vinegar
- 3 T stone ground mustard
- 1/4 c olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
For the salad
- 3 heads artisan lettuce
- 1/4 c dried cherries, chopped
- 1/4 c toasted sunflower seeds
- 1/2 c goat cheese, crumbled
- Prep the vinaigrette. In a bowl, use a fork to whisk together red wine vinegar and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the oil while continuing to whisk. Once emulsified, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Wash and dry lettuce, and tear into bite size pieces. Rinse dried cherries to remove some sugar and make less sticky. Roughly chop just enough to cut into halves or slightly smaller.
- In a large bowl, add lettuce and top with cherries. Add sunflower seeds, then crumble goat cheese over the bowl.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad. Serve immediately.
Feel free to swap out pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels) for the sunflower seeds or another lightly crunchy topping to keep it nut free and delicious.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 189 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 9g Cholesterol: 7mg Sodium: 363mg Carbohydrates: 13g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 6g Protein: 7g