Friday, July 26, 2013

Spinach, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Last Year's Post: Grilled Cheese with Pesto, Spinach and Avocado

Summer is such a wonderful opportunity for those of us who are trying to eat healthy.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant, beautiful and cheap, and fresh salads seem so appealing.  But it's easy to get into a salad rut and start to get bored, which is never good.  Life is too short and calories are too precious to be bored with what you eat. (Although I do know an elite ultra-marathon athlete who regards food as fuel and eats pretty much the same thing each day, which I can't even imagine.  He's been known to do a 135 mile bike ultra-marathon in the middle of winter at temperatures down to -30 degrees, which I also can't imagine.)

I always think that if I'm not excited about what I'm going to eat then something is wrong, which is why I tend to post a lot of different salad recipes such as The Perfect Little Summer SaladChicken Salad with Fruits and PeppadewsWild Rice SaladSummer Salad with Cheese, Fruit and Nuts, Farro, Kale & Smoked Mozzarella Salad, and French Chicken Salad among others.  I'm always looking for new salad recipes and was very excited when I found a new one for spinach salad with fresh blueberries, goat cheese, cucumber, and edamame.  What an interesting and refreshing combination!  Not only is it beautiful, but very healthy as well with  no less than three superfoods - spinach, blueberries and edamame.

The original recipe was vegetarian but it's easily made into a main dish by the addition of crumbled bacon or cooked chicken, turkey, pork or duck so it's a great opportunity to customize the salad to your tastes or use up leftover cooked meat.  You can further customize it by changing the cheese from goat to blue cheese or fontina or any other cheese you like.

I think I'm usually pretty good at envisioning what a recipe will taste like, but this one surprised me.  Not the main ingredients of the salad, but the salad dressing - it has a touch of Dijon mustard that I hadn't really focused on prior to trying the recipe.  If I had, I would've been skeptical that a mustard vinaigrette would somehow magically tie all the ingredients together including the blueberries, but it does.  Try it yourself and see if you agree.

The only ingredients in the salad that are cooked are the meat and the edamame, so if you plan ahead for those two items (or head to the salad bar - my local salad bar carries edamame and numerous meat items) the rest of the salad can come together in literally just a few minutes. It's a great no-cook alternative for a hot summer day.

Spinach, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Salad
Serves 4

For the dressing:
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

For the salad:
1 package pre-washed spinach
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup chopped seedless cucumber
1 cup cooked edamame
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 cup chopped cooked chicken (or crumbled bacon or other meat)

 In a small bowl combine mustard, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking until dressing comes together and sugar is dissolved.

Place spinach leaves in large bowl. Add blueberries, cucumber, edamame, goat cheese and chicken.  Add the salad dressing, toss to combine, and serve.

1 comment:

Marne said...

One of my family's long-time favorite salad dressings has Dijon and red wine vinegar. Or is it balsamic? Anyway, I agree---great combination! Marne