Salads have a lot going for them! They’re versatile, quick, easy, and delicious. As an added bonus, you can prepare them without turning on the oven – a must for meal prepping during the hot summer months! The star of this salad is its blueberry balsamic dressing, made fresh from one of our favourite summer berries. Simply toss all of the dressing ingredients into a small blender or food processor and blend!
Commercial salad dressings are often loaded with lots of added fat and sodium. This homemade version has little to no added fat and salt, and all the benefits of blueberries – high in fiber and Vitamin C, and full of antioxidants. Making a dressing at home gives you much more control, and allows you to be more creative! This blueberry-balsamic combo is just one of many options. You could also try a spicy mango version and toss it with rice noodles, sweet peppers, and zucchini to make a chilled Thai noodle salad. Can you think of any other creative combinations?
Blueberry Balsamic Dressing
½ cup fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
1. Place all ingredients into small a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Transfer to a small mason jar or tupperware container and store in the fridge for up to 1 week. After chilling in the fridge the dressing may seem to solidify a bit. Not to worry! Simply vigorously shake the jar/container, or whisk in a tablespoon or so of water to thin it out.
Quick Salad ft. Homemade Blueberry Balsamic Dressing
1-2 cups mixed greens (spinach, arugula, kale – whatever you prefer & have access to!)
1 tablespoon goat cheese
1 tablespoon candied pecans*
Handful of rustic homemade croutons**
1. Place the mixed greens (I chose spinach & arugula) on a plate.
2. Top with the candied pecans, goat cheese, and rustic homemade croutons.
3. Leave it at that for a perfect accompaniment to a meal, or top with a protein of your choice (ie. grilled chicken, tofu, roasted chickpeas) to make it a main course.
4. Finally, generously drizzle with the blueberry balsamic dressing.
5. There you have it! A delicious salad, featuring a fresh, homemade dressing.
*Candied Pecans: Add a handful of pecans to a frying pan, and carefully cook over medium-heat for 2-3 minutes, shaking frequently to prevent burning. At the end of your cook time, drizzle nuts with a little bit of maple syrup and stir again. Remove from heat & allow to cool.
**Homemade rustic crouton: My go-to method for a quick and easy “crouton” is to lightly oil a piece of whole wheat bread (the seedier the better!) and sprinkle with garlic powder or other herbs of choice. Then, briefly broil in a toaster oven or the oven until the top is golden brown in colour. Chop into squares and add to the salad!
Recipe created by Alex Chesney, RD