I had a bag of spring mix salad in the fridge on its last leg so I came up with this salad based on what else I already had on hand. Once I saw a Granny Smith apple in the crisper, I wanted raisins and walnuts involved. I’ve had those three ingredients combined in salads many times and it’s always a great combination. But I didn’t have raisins, so I went with dried cranberries. I didn’t have blue cheese (which pairs so well with apple and walnuts), so I used goat cheese. I didn’t have balsamic vinegar, so I used champagne vinegar.
The salad turned out great and will definitely be added to my salad repertoire (Did I really just say “salad repertoire”? What’s happened to me?). Since salads don’t require cooking, they’re a good jumping off point for coming up with your own recipes. They’re pretty hard to screw up. Next time you have lettuce in your fridge that’s about to go bad, survey what else you already have on hand and think of what would pair well together. Think of some of your favorite restaurant salads and try to mimic their flavor and textures. You’re not out of luck if you’re out of veggies. Fruit, nuts and cheese are fantastic in salads… but I’m sure you already know this.
And remember that extra arugula I had from my Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza? I threw a handful of that in here, too. I didn’t include that in the recipe, but if you’re trying to use up leftover arugula, that works great in here. Because remember, it goes with everything.
Apple, Walnut & Goat Cheese Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
- 1 bag spring mix salad blend
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple, diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 2 oz goat cheese crumbles
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together dressing ingredients. Place lettuce, apples, cranberries and walnuts in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
Change it up:
- Substitute balsamic vinegar for champagne vinegar
- Substitute raisins for cranberries
- Substitute blue cheese for goat cheese