My daughter and I are back home from our week-long road trip down to Alabama and after 7 days of eating fried foods and desserts every chance I got, plus downing daiquiris by the pool, some lighter meals are in order. I’m not even going to step on the scale for at least a week, because I just might cry.
Arugula Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette and Honey-Roasted Macadamia Nuts is a light and summery salad that’s anything but light on flavor. The salad dressing takes several days to make, but it’s worth the wait. It produces a thick, syrupy dressing that’s a nice contrast to tangy goat cheese and peppery arugula.
This could actually be called triple blueberry salad because there are blueberries in the vinaigrette, fresh blueberries in the salad, plus I used a wonderful blueberry goat cheese. Yes, I love blueberries! The blueberry goat cheese is a wonderful local product made by Round Mountain Creamery in Black Mountain, NC. There has really been an explosion of farms in that area producing their own cheeses. They sell a bunch of flavored goat cheeses, but this one with blueberries, pecans, and lemons is phenomenal in salads, on sandwiches, crackers, or smeared on a toasted bagel. You can order their cheeses online.
With the crunch of some spicy/sweet macadamia nuts, this salad will get you out of your ordinary salad rut. Add some grilled chicken or shrimp and call it a meal.
- 8 cups baby arugula
- ½ a cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup goat cheese
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- several strips of lime peel, green part only
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Honey Spiced Macadamia Nuts
- 1 cup whole macadamia nuts
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Make the Vinaigrette. First make a blueberry flavored vinegar. In a small saucepan, crush the blueberries with a fork or potato masher. Add vinegar, sugar, lime peel, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and discard cinnamon stick.
- Let mixture cool and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Strain the mixture into a bowl, using a fine-mesh strainer. Use a wooden spoon to press as much liquid out as possible. Discard solids.
- In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons of the blueberry vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Gradually whisk in olive oil.
- Make Macadamia Nuts. Preheat oven to 350°.
- Mix all ingredients together and spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes, stir the nuts, and bake for 6 to 7 more minutes (careful not to burn the nuts.)
- Combine arugula, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, and blueberries in a large salad bowl. Top with goat cheese and macadamia nuts. Drizzle with vinaigrette.
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