This past Sunday we got together with one of Nelson’s cousins and his family for a delicious lunch out at an Italian restaurant. We indulged in freshly made mozzarella, seafood, pasta, bruschetta, and more. We left a little space in our tummies for dessert and coffee to top off the meal, but we were stuffed–like, “maybe I should have controlled myself better”…kind of stuffed. Still – no regrets.
After such indulgence we were too full for a normal sized meal at dinner time, so we decided on a lighter option. A light cranberry and goat cheese salad with pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette
Nelson, our eldest son, and I love a fresh salad, as a side to almost any meal. But sometimes we like it just on it’s own–or topped with chicken breast. Our little guy is still not fond of tomatoes or nuts, so he basically just eats the lettuce and cheese (and when we add croutons, he’ll gobble up his and sneak some of ours off our plates too–our little bread monster – remember!).
It’s not all fancy foo foo, but it’s delicious carb-free goodness. Tossed with a sweet dressing like this pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette… oh man… it’s what takes simple greens to a new level of yum.
I’m totally spoiled now. Bottled dressings have nothing on homemade dressings. Salad dressings are actually our older son’s specialty. He is often in charge of making the dressing–he loves it–and he’s good at it too. Not a bad combination.
You can customize a salad like this, any way you like. We used roasted pine nuts this time, but we also like walnuts or almonds. Fruit in a salad? You bet. This time we went with dried cranberries, but we also like strawberries, apples, orange wedges, or thin slices of mango. Beets are also a nice addition to a salad like this. Let’s not forget the cheese. In our house, everyone except me, loves all kinds of cheese. I’m the picky one, but I’ll always say yes to goats cheese.
I have a hard time paying $15+ for a salad at a restaurant when I know I can make it at home for so much less. So there you have it–nothing fancy, but all good. Hope you enjoy!
- 8 oz washed spring mix salad
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup (craisins) dried cranberries
- 5 oz cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 4 oz goats cheese
- 2 tbs pomegranate balsamic vinagar
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp fine ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Heat a medium pan to medium high and add the pine nuts.
- Toast the pine nuts in the hot pan being careful not to burn them. This should take about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Set the pine nuts aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, add the spring mix, cooled pine nuts, dried cranberries and tomatoes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking quickly until all the oil is added and the vinaigrette has thickened/emulsified
- Pour the dressing/vinaigrette over the salad mix and toss. Plate the salad and crumble the goat cheese over top.