I don’t have enough simple salad recipes on this blog. That’s the verdict I came to while flipping through my own salad archives looking for inspiration. Meal-in-a-bowl salad situations are plentiful, but simple side salads are lacking. Sometimes you’re tasked with making the green salad for a summer potluck and you want to make something special, you know?
Here’s my summer side salad solution. Chopped spinach, plenty of fresh berries (I used raspberries and blueberries, but chopped strawberries would be another great option), tangy goat cheese and a zippy balsamic dressing.
Combine all that with some skillet-toasted, candied maple sunflower seeds and you have a fantastic summer side. Just be sure to wait until you’re ready to eat before you toss the dressing with the rest of the salad, since the spinach wilts relatively quickly on contact.
Good! I’m glad we cleared that salad void for this season. I have some exciting projects in the works (stay tuned!) and a to-do list a mile long, but a side salad is no longer one of them. As always, please let me know how you like it and be sure to tag your Instagram photos #cookieandkate so I can hunt them down! I love to see what you’re cooking!
- ⅓ cup sunflower seeds (I used raw seeds, roasted are probably fine)
- 1½ teaspoons maple syrup
- Pinch salt (if your sunflower seeds are unsalted)
- Dash cayenne, optional (if you like spice)
- 5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1½ cups total raspberries, blueberries and/or chopped strawberries
- ⅓ cup (about 2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- To prepare the sunflower seeds, warm a small non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the sunflower seeds. Let the sunflower seeds warm up a bit, then pour in the maple syrup, a pinch of salt and a tiny dash of cayenne pepper, if desired. Toast the seeds while stirring constantly until most of the maple syrup has evaporated and the sunflower seeds are turning lightly golden on the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool.
- In a serving bowl, combine the spinach, berries, crumbled goat cheese and sunflower seeds. In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients until emulsified.
- Just before serving, drizzle in enough vinaigrette to lightly coat the leaves (you might have leftover dressing) and gently toss (careful with those delicate raspberries!). Serve immediately.