This salad was inspired by a mind-blowingly-delicious spinach and arugula salad I had while out for dinner one night. It was delightful, with radicchio, goat cheese, and spicy toasted pumpkin seeds and pecans, in a light honey and ale dressing.
I found myself craving the salad constantly – and decided to create a homemade version that would equal the original in decadence and deliciousness. I have to say, I now far prefer my homemade salads to even my favourite restaurant creation!
I’ve provided two options for the dressing – the first is a balsamic dressing that’s sweet, tangy, and rich; the second is a champagne vinegar dressing that’s light, bright, and invigorating. It’s nice to switch them up!
Salad (serves 2)
- 3 large leaves green kale, thinly sliced into ribbons (about 2 cups)
- 1 bunch spinach, cut into ribbons (about 2 cups)
- 1 – 2 generous handfuls of baby arugula (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup cucumber, diced
- 1 small beet – steamed, cooled, and sliced/diced
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- goat cheese topping *optional (can use vegan goat cheese – about 1-2 tbsp per salad)
Nut/Seed Topping (makes 2 cups)
- ½ cup cashews or almonds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup pecans and/or walnuts
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
- 1 tbsp raw sugar/coconut sugar/honey/maple syrup *optional
Balsamic Dressing (makes ½ cup, good for 2-serving salad)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
Champagne Dressing (makes ½ cup, good for 2-serving salad)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp champagne vinegar (or use apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tbsp agave syrup or honey
Start with the nut/seed topping so it has time to cool down before you top your salad.
In a large pan, heat cashews and pecans over medium heat. When you begin to smell a gentle toast (about 3 minutes), add pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Let toast for another few minutes. When seeds start to smell toasted and pop, add coconut oil, salt, and sugar/syrup. Coat nuts and seeds thoroughly and let cook so the oil and sweetener ‘candies’. Topping is done when nuts and seeds are deliciously toasted. Take off heat and transfer to new dish to cool.
In a large glass bowl, toss kale, spinach, and arugula to mix. Place diced cucumber in a separate bowl, beets in a separate bowl, and sliced strawberries in a separate bowl.
In a measuring cup or bowl, combine olive oil with choice of vinegar and sweetener and whisk well to combine. Pour about two tablespoons of the dressing over the cucumbers, two tablespoons over the beets, two tablespoons over the strawberries, and the rest over the greens. Toss each bowl to coat thoroughly and let sit to marinate (at least 5 minutes, 15-20 minutes is ideal, can leave even longer but greens will start to wilt after a few hours).
To plate, toss each bowl in the dressing again to freshen the distribution of dressing and then portion the greens, cucumbers, beets, and strawberries evenly among two bowls or plates. Use your hands or tongs so that you can let extra dressing fall through – this makes sure that the salad is perfectly dressed and not sitting in extra dressing.
Top with goat cheese if you are using it. Top with a generous handful of nuts and seeds – save the extras for your next salad! I like to make big batches to keep on hand each week.
Serve and eat immediately.
**Hosting tip: If you’re making this salad for a large group of people, you can use a large serving plate or low bowl to make a community salad for everyone to take from. Simply layer all the greens, cucumbers, and strawberries directly into the serving platter making sure to drain extra dressing out before plating. Top with cheese if using and nuts.