Black and Blue Spring Salad

Happy Spring! When I think Spring, I think fresh and vibrant! This salad is the perfect mix.  Borrowed from Iowa Girl Eats blog (www.iowagirleats.com), this is a new Spring favorite in our house. Bursting with fresh fruit and veggies and vibrant colors, this salad is sure to please. We like to grill a small beef filet, slice it up, and toss it on top of the salad.

This salad comes together easily!  Here is the "before" picture: 

And here is the salad all dressed and ready to eat...the "after" picture! Yum!

Black and Blue Spring Salad (courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats)

Serves 4 as a side salad or add chicken, shrimp or steak to make it a main dish for 2

 5oz spring mix lettuce
 12oz fresh blackberries (could use blueberries)
 3oz blue cheese, crumbled (could use chevre or feta cheese)

For the Honey-Roasted Pecans OR Purchase pre-made
 1/2 cup pecans
 1/2 Tablespoon butter
 1 Tablespoon honey

For the Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette:
 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
 1 Tablespoon sugar
 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 1 Tablespoon honey
 salt and pepper

*Tip: The recipe calls for sugar in the dressing but I make ours without the sugar because the blackberries are so sweet right now (and I save a few calories while I am at it).

1. For the Honey-Roasted Pecans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a bowl then add honey and pecans. Toss to coat then spread out on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant (watch carefully so they don’t burn.) Sprinkle lightly with salt then set aside and let cool completely (can be made ahead of time.)

2. For the Berry-Balsamic Vinaigrette: Add blackberries and sugar to a food processor or blender then process or blend until berries are crushed. Let sit for a minute then add remaining ingredients and process or blend until smooth. Set aside (can be made ahead of time.)

3. Divide lettuce between plates then top with blackberries, blue cheese crumbles, and honey-roasted pecans. Dress with berry-balsamic vinaigrette then serve.

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