Plump, juicy little clusters that are one of the best parts of summer. Fresh blackberries leave a rustic reminder behind in your teeth but the pleasure of that dark sweet juice across your palate is worth it!
Salads are not just the 3 vegetable ingredient side or the bag of shredded lettuce and carrots anymore. Salads have taken on a main course life of their own with any combination of protein, vegetable, or fruit you fancy. And let's not forget the nuts and seeds. Even the vessel can be anything from plate to edible tortilla bowl, or a pita pocket sandwich. It's a fantastic way to use leftovers and what's better on a steamy summer day than an array of fresh seasonal chilled produce. Next time you're searching for an energizing lunch or a cook free dinner option give this salad a try!
This nutritious creation was built around fresh from the farm blackberries. Best local berries I've ever had! A foundation of tender baby spinach, which is high in iron and calcium. I always add some form of onion to my salads. Hmm, so sweet and locally grown.
Same with cucumber, a true summer aroma. I used cooked Cajun turkey breast from Harris Teeter and feta cheese for a savory salty bite. A fabulous combination of sweet, spicy, salty, crunchy, and cool!
Now, let's talk dressing...Very important blank canvas that you can take in any direction. I like to get fancy so feel free to adapt according to your favorite ingredients. Because of my alcohol tastings I usually head to the liqueur cabinet for inspiration.
I also buy and make flavored oils and vinegars. My herb garden also provides a never ending source of ideas. For salads, I prefer nut oils to olive because I love nuts and hate olives.
Citrus always adds acidic pizazz, some honey to smooth out the flavor. A punch of blackberry moonshine and for this fruit I chose a floral dark balsamic...violet - smells incredible! I've really been enjoying developing tasty ways to use lavender in recipes. Here it continues the floral theme! A light healthy topping for this summer produce focused salad :)
Ingredients For Salad
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 small cucumber, sliced
1 tablespoon onion, diced
1/2 cup turkey chunks
1/4 cup feta cheese
8 large fresh blackberries
10 pecan halves
Ingredients For Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon blackberry moonshine
2 teaspoons violet balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
pinch of salt and white pepper (or black if you prefer)
1 teaspoon fresh lavender, minced small
1 tablespoon walnut oil
Directions For Salad
Layer spinach leaves in bottom of a bowl. Then cucumbers and a sprinkle of onions. Next, the turkey and feta. Lastly, nestle the blackberries and pecans in. You can arrange in any order but I like the berries to really shine without being clouded by the cheese or dressing.
Directions For Vinaigrette
Add all ingredients except oil into a bowl and whisk. Then, drizzle in oil continuing to whisk until everything is well blended.