Colourful, tasty and nutritious!
I have always been a big fan of blueberries, so when we all learned a number of years ago that they are a powerful source of antioxidants I resolved to incorporate them into even more dishes. Adding them to salads has long been a favourite trick, which got me to thinking that perhaps they would also make a great salad dressing. The answer: they sure do. Feel free to dress up this protein-packed salad any way you like – kale or lettuce instead of spinach; mozzarella and bacon bits instead of chèvre and walnuts. Just don’t forget to add a generous handful of fresh blueberries on top, and use wild berries if you can access them, as they have twice the antioxidants of cultivated. One last tip: haskap berries would make an excellent alternative; if you don’t know about them, you can read about my day on a haskap farm.
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (.6 g) pepper
- 1/4 cup (50 g) wild blueberries (fresh or thawed from frozen)
- 8 cups (250 g) chopped spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup (75 g) crumbled chèvre
- 1/3 cup (37 g) toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1/3 cup (61 g) fresh blueberries
- Prepare the vinaigrette first by placing the olive oil and garlic in a heatproof container. Microwave on medium-high power for one minute to partially cook the garlic and mellow its flavour. Let cool 5 minutes.
- Place the olive oil and garlic, vinegars, Dijon, maple syrup, salt, pepper and blueberries in a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the acidity or sweetness to suit your preferences, if needed. Set aside.
- To assemble the salad, place the chopped spinach in a large bowl. Drizzle 2/3 of the dressing over top then toss thoroughly (I like to use my very clean hands to do this). Add additional dressing as needed – you want the leaves well coated but you do not want a puddle of dressing in the bottom of the bowl.
- Top with chèvre, walnuts and blueberries and serve immediately.
Serves 4; recipe can easily be multiplied.
Paula, your vinaigrette has some unusual ingredients and the method of heating the olive oil and garlic is different as well. I will definitely give this a try. I imagine you can sub in many different fruits in the vinaigrette.
Thanks – it is unusual but my husband does not prefer raw garlic so this is the method I came up with. I make raspberry vinaigrette this way also, though I do strain it after blending to remove the seeds.
Neither do I like the taste of raw garlic, so this method was an eye opener for me. Thanks.
Beautiful. And delicious. Love your vinaigrette as well. To me, they’re just as important as the salad!