This salad. Wow, right?
During the summer months, when gorgeous local berries and cherries are everywhere, my MO for decades had been to pop them into baked goods - scones, cakes, pies, cobblers, crisps. Oh, I still do that (I’m looking at you, yesterday’s strawberry shortcakes), but I’m trying to lighten up my eating these days. Branching out to berry-eating options that do not involve copious amounts of butter and sugar seems like a good first step, don’t you agree?
It all started with a cherry, walnut and goat cheese salad I made for lunch the other day, tossed in a bit of balsamic vinaigrette. That salad was grown-up and understated. The grown-ups eating it swooned. I keep bags of dried cherries in my pantry to perk up salads all winter long, but I was reminded that fresh cherries are so much better.
Then the 4th loomed, and some of the dinner guests were children. So, I decided to create a red-white and blue party in a salad bowl — if the kids were actually going to eat salad, they might just eat this one. I tossed in sweet cherries and raspberries, blueberries and blackberries and added tangy goat cheese crumbles and crunchy sunflowers. They all sat atop spinach dressed in a scant bit of honey-lime vinaigrette.
This is the salad that stole the show. I’m sure it’s no surprise that it’s been fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk kind of hot in DC —it’s been like that everywhere this week. A low-fuss menu seemed critical. I threw a brisket in the oven to cook low and slow all day, tweaked this super simple tahini-lemon-herb potato salad, and tossed this patriotic salad together. My friend brought a farro and tomato salad, and we had the aforementioned strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Sometimes the simple meals are the best.
Hope you all had a very happy 4th of July and that you’re extending your celebration into the weekend!
Mixed Berry-Cherry Salad with Honey Lime Basil Vinaigrette
This is the sort of salad that can be made for one, for two, or for a party of 20 - just adjust the quantities of the various elements to your liking. Do be sure to toss the greens very lightly in the vinaigrette… you want a light pop of honey and lime - do not drown your poor spinach leaves.
- Baby spinach leaves
- Cherries, pitted and sliced in half
- Crumbled Goat Cheese
- Roasted Sunflower Seeds
Honey Lime Basil Vinaigrette
- 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a small mason jar, and shake to combine.
Toss your spinach in a salad bowl, and drizzle a bit of salad dressing over the greens. Toss the greens in the salad dressing until the leaves are lightly coated in dressing. Layer the cherries, berries, goat cheese and sunflower seeds on top of the greens.