It is finally feeling like spring around here! As soon as the weather turns warmer, I immediately turn to cool, crisp salads to keep my meals light and filling. I love salads and eat them year-round, but somehow when it’s freezing outside the idea of biting into a cold piece of lettuce does not appeal to me as much!
Salads can get really boring, really fast. The trick to keeping them from becoming mundane is (obviously) change! Change the base of your salad (baby spinach, romaine, spring mix, etc.). If you like cheese, change what type of cheese you add. Change what vegetables you include. Change what crunchy add-ins you include. Change the dressing. And in this case, change it up completely by adding fruit!
I love ripe, juicy fruit in my salads and usually stick to strawberries, blueberries, apples, or pineapple. Until now, I had never included blackberries! They were perfect in this salad. They were tart but sweet, and off-set the bite from the blue cheese perfectly. I added a few sliced almonds for added crunch, too.
And then, of course, there’s the dressing. It’s the real star of the show (and of this post)! To play up the blackberry flavor more, I topped the salad off with a blackberry dressing. It was quick to make, easy, and had the right balance of sweet and tangy. It’s sweetened with honey and a touch of sugar. I tried it without the sugar and my face immediately puckered–way too tart! I usually try to eliminate added sugars, but in this case the dressing most definitely needs it. A scant 1 tablespoon is all that’s needed, though, which turns out to be less than a teaspoon per serving. Not too bad!
I love the deep color of the blackberry dressing–so pretty! All I had in the fridge was romaine lettuce, but I think this dressing would be even more beautiful among the deep green of spring mix or baby spinach! Use your favorite, or whatever you have on hand.
For the salad:
- 4-5 cups of your favorite salad base (romaine, spring mix, baby kale, etc.)
- 1/4 cup blue cheese*
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
For the blackberry balsamic dressing:
- 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
- salt and pepper
1) To make the dressing: Add the blackberries and sugar to a food processor and process until smooth. Add the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper and process again until smooth.
2) To assemble the salad: in a large bowl, add the greens, blue cheese, sliced almonds, and blackberries. Top with blackberry balsamic vinaigrette. Enjoy!
*Note: to make it vegan, use agave nectar in place of honey and do not include the blue cheese!*
Servings: 4. Nutritional information per serving for the dressing: Calories: 105 Carbs: 10g Fat: 7g Sugar: 10g Fiber: 1g WWPoints+: 3
Nutritonal information per serving for the salad base: Calories: 91 Carbs: 5g Fat: 6g Protein: 4g Sugar: 2g Fiber: 3g WWPoints+: 2