Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Walnuts

I made a salad with fresh cherries and soft goat cheese similar to this one for dinner last week, only using arugula instead of spinach.  When I went to the market this morning looking for more arugula to make my new favorite salad with cherries and goat cheese I found beautiful fresh spinach instead and decided to go with that.  My favorite thing about the original salad  were the  bites of fresh cherries with the crumbled goat cheese mixed into the greens.  I’m always on the lookout for tender greens like arugula and spinach which are plentiful in our local farmer’s market this month.

I drizzled a small amount of vinaigrette over the salad on the plates, instead of tossing the greens in all the dressing,  which is always an option if you want to serve a salad with a few less calories.  The sweet cherries, goat cheese and walnuts add a lot of flavor to the salad so I don’t think you’ll miss the extra dressing if you want to try lightening up this recipe.

Besides finding tender greens for the salad, you will want to find ripe sweet cherries, a soft delicate flavored fresh goat cheese and good quality walnuts.  Don’t get me started on the quality of walnuts…there really is a difference.  I usually buy my walnuts at our local farmer’s market or from the bins at Whole Foods but sometimes in a pinch I buy one of those small bags of walnuts from the neighborhood grocery store.  You probably know the kind I’m referring to – the small bags of walnuts that cost a fortune and are broken into small pieces that look all crumbly, like the bag was in someone’s pocket for about a year.

Simple recipes made with a few select ingredients taste good because of the quality of those ingredients.  Why not seek out the best ingredients you can find?  This is the perfect time of year to discover or re-discover your local farmer’s markets.  We have a small Tuesday night downtown that starts in late Spring and runs until early Fall.  For the past few years I’ve been meeting my grandchildren in the late afternoon at our market, usually with my son-in-law, who has made it a weekly event to attend the farmer’s market.  The kids love the bouncy house,  giant slide, pony rides, honey sticks, samples of fruit, cookies, cheese, breads and all the action provided by the vendors and shoppers.  At the very least I’m able to use a few baskets of fresh berries for my cereal.  But, the truth is I usually buy more than we need because everything always looks so good at the market.

Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Serving Size: 4 salads

Ingredients

  • For the Spinach Salad
  • 6 cups lightly packed fresh spinach
  • 1 cup sweet cherries, pitted and cut in half
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, broken in pieces
  • For the Vinaigrette
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Squeeze lime juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Make the Vinaigrette
  2. Whisk together the oils, champagne vinegar, honey, lime juice, pepper and salt.
  3. Make the Spinach Salad
  4. Place the spinach in a large bowl and coat with the vinaigrette, or drizzle over the greens on the plates before serving.
  5. Gently toss in the cherries, goat cheese and walnuts.
  6. Divide onto 4 salad plates and serve.
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Comments

  1. Such a pretty salad, Patty! Love your use of cherries, though I think this would be incredibly tasty with blackberries too! :)

  2. This looks so delicious, Patty! And great to know since it’s cherry season AND I have arugula growing right on my back deck! :) Saving this to make with the champagne vinegar I bought because of you.

  3. What a terrific way to showcase the sweet summer cherries I’ve been buying every week! Such a delicious salad. I’m so glad I purchased a cherry pitter last week :)

  4. Yum! A perfect summer salad, especially with those gorgeous cherries- my favorite. :)

  5. So fresh and seasonal…a perfect summer salad, Patty.

  6. Simple salads bursting with flavor just scream summer! With such fresh, seasonal fruit and veggies you’ve made a very tempting salad!

  7. You make the most beautiful salads, Patty! The flavors in this are perfect!

  8. Great flavors for summer. I love putting fruit in my salads this year, haven’t done cherries yet though!

  9. Oh your salad looks so pretty with all those summer sweet cherries on top! Perfect flavors!

  10. Patty, you make the most beautiful salads!

    I love spending time at the farmer’s market too! I dream about it during the winter months. :D

  11. Nice healthy salad! I once made a tartine with dried cherries, goat cheese, and hazelnuts! Not sure if you remember that post…but that goes to say that “great” minds think alike! I will eat this any time because I know the flavor combination is awesome!

  12. LOVE using walnut oil in vinaigrette . Makes it so much more flavorful :)

  13. I love, love cherries, and they go so well in salads! Love all the colors – very summerish. Pinned!

  14. Oooh, nice, I don’t think I’ve put cherries in a savory salad but of course it would be amazing with the goat cheese. Love this!

  15. I’ve been craving a light salad all day, this is exactly what I want. Love the sweet, crunchy, salty, and tangy flavours in your recipe. You always have the best salad recipes, thanks for sharing Patty:)

  16. You take *the* most beautiful pictures of salads! I don’t even like veggies or salads (other than fruit salad) but I always want to dive right into your salads. I just downloaded that first picture to look and see if I could find any of the technical data about the picture to learn something from you but it was empty. :)

  17. This is such a pretty salad Patty – almost too pretty to eat!

  18. What a wonderful salad Patty! You simply make some of the best salads and love your farmer’s market inspirations. The cherries were a great touch. We recently received some artisan honey that our friends produced from their backyard hives. Since your dressing calls for honey, I need to make it soon. Hope you are having a great 4th of July!

  19. Another beautiful and healthy salad. That is what is so wonderful about this time of year the abundance of beautiful produce. Have a wonderful 4th of July holiday Patty!!

  20. This is exactly the salad I just ate for lunch, except with arugula instead of spinach! What a wonderful mix of flavors.

  21. Such a pretty salad Patty, I like the cherries and the walnut in it…and yes, the vinaigrette sounds delicious and refreshing .
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend :D

  22. How can you go wrong when goat cheese is included! The fresh cherries are a wonderful addition to the salad…maybe could even get my son who loves cherries to eat salad! (He’s a full-blow adult; and like his dad, would not touch anything green!) The dressing is completely lovely. ..what a great summer salad!

  23. What a beautiful salad. I love that you used cherries!

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  1. [...] if a leafy salad is what you’re craving, I think Patty’s Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Walnuts and Sara and Hugh’s Mache Peach Salad with Jalapeño Vinaigrette sound [...]

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