Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and blackberry-red wine vinaigrette.  Now that’s a salad of summer daydreams!

Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams!

I love a GOOD salad.

Notice how I capitalized GOOD?  I mean, I assume you noticed.  I basically shouted the word at you.  But only because it’s really important.

It’s hard to say, “I love salad,” with no shouting of GOOD, and still be taken seriously.  Especially for the Ready To Yumble crew, after we brought you these Nutella Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies and these Cheesy Bacon Twists with Puff Pastry.  Salad sounds anticlimactic, a let-down, a begrudging nod to sacrificing flavor for health.

…Ah, not so, friends!  At least, not in the case of a GOOD salad.  We wouldn’t expose you to a sad, blah mess of lettuce and dried out carrots.  No, today we bring you a salad that’s so flavorful and rich – can I use the word “rich” to describe a salad? OK I’m going for it –  that I actually crave it.

Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams!

It’s a Blackberry Goat Cheese Salad, and it’s GOOD.

In fact, we served this salad at a dinner party a few months ago – the same dinner party where we served this Oreo Layer Cake, along with some of our other favorite dishes  – and my brother-in-law declared this salad was his favorite part of the meal. If that’s not a truly meaningful endorsement, I don’t know what is.  Especially because dudes are not known for declaring their love for a salad.  Yeah, it’s that kind of good.

Luckily, this Blackberry Goat Cheese Salad does borrow one thing from a traditional salad:

It’s easy to throw together.

That’s the main benefit of salads, right?  Well that, and they help you save room for dessert.

There are just a few components to this recipe, and they can be made in advance for maximum ease of eating.

Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams!

First, there are some candied pecans.

(Yes, my salad involves candy.  Problem?  Nope.)  They’re crispy and salty and sweet and just a teensy bit spicy.  In other words, WAY better than those sunflower seeds your local salad place throws in your bowl.  They take just a few minutes to make, and you can store them at room temperature for a day or two if you’re prepping ahead of time.

Then, the blackberry vinaigrette.

This stuff is totally drinkable.  There’s enough acidity to cut through the sweet blackberry, and a dose of black pepper gives it a final savory flourish.

Other than that, you just toss a few items together – your favorite greens, chopped red onion, blackberries, and honey goat cheese – and you’re ready to chow down.  (BTW, “chowing down” is underused in referring to salads, and this is the perfect salad to rectify that situation.)  The honey goat cheese is truly a perfect match for the other ingredients, but if it’s not available in your grocery store, regular goat cheese is also really tasty.  Maybe add an extra drizzle of honey to your dressing if you substitute.

Are you a salad lover?  Hater?  Have you tried THIS salad?  Was it GOOD?  Let us know in the comments!  (Seriously, let us know.  We have a reputation to uphold.)Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams!

Adapted from Annie’s Eats.

Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams!

Blackberry Goat Cheese Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Warm weather demands blackberry goat cheese salad, complete with candied pecans and a blackberry-red wine vinaigrette. Now that's a salad of summer daydreams!
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
For the candied pecans:
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
For the vinaigrette:
  • 6 oz. blackberries (fresh is best, but you can use frozen too - just thaw and drain)
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
To assemble the salad:
  • 8-12 cups salad greens of your choice (try spinach or mixed spring greens)
  • 3 oz. honey goat cheese (can substitute regular goat cheese)
  • 6 oz. fresh blackberries (you really do need fresh for this part!)
  • ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
Instructions
To make the nuts:
  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet and add the sugar and spices. Cook for a minute, then add the chopped pecans and stir to coat.
  2. Cook pecans until toasted, about five minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool. Nuts can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two.
To make the vinaigrette:
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve, pressing down to squeeze out all the juice.
  3. Store vinaigrette in the fridge until ready to use.
To assemble:
  1. Place a good handful of greens on each plate. Top with blackberries, onions, crumbled goat cheese, and pecans. Add vinaigrette to taste.
Notes
Adapted from Annie's Eats.

In a fruity mood?  Top off that salad with some cherry clafoutis for dessert – easy, creamy, and perfect for summer!

Clafoutis-8

19 Comments on Blackberry Goat Cheese Salad

  1. oh oh oh! I used to order a salad just like this at a pizza place (Unos maybe)? And I know- who orders salad at a pizza place- but it was just THAT. GOOD. I have all this in my fridge. I might eat this tonight! Yum!

  2. Woot woot!! Talk about a wicked salad, guys! Candied pecans, blackberry vinaigrette? Yes and yes! I would gladly eat this any day and if I wanna amp it up with some extra protein, I’ll just throw on some chicken. Pinned! Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

    • Yay, we love wicked! 😄 Chicken is perfect with this – I’ve definitely eaten leftovers for lunch with chicken breast. Not sure how we had leftovers, but it happened. Once. 😄 Thanks for pinning and enjoy your weekend too, Dawn!

  3. Yum!! I love using fruit in my salads, but I’ve never used blackberries. Probably because whenever I buy them, I eat the whole container in one sitting…. I’ll have to buy TWO containers next time so I can try this salad 🙂

  4. Such an wonderful salad. Thank you for this recipe. I’m thinking of trying it with raspberries next time but not sure how it might work.

    • Thanks so much Kendra! Love sharing our recipes! I think this would be fabulous with raspberries – maybe a little bit more tart, so you might want to add a tiny bit more honey to the dressing. Enjoy and please let us know how it turns out!

  5. Love the flavors in this beautiful salad. The blackberries paired with honey and vinegar in the dressing are so perfect for this time of year. And, with candied pecans and honey goat cheese? Sign me up!

  6. I made this tonight, it was fantastic. I didn’t have enough blackberries so I substituted Saskatoon berries for the vinaigrette, it was lovely! My family loved the smell of the pecans, the aroma as they were cooking was better than any scented candle. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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