Blackberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

This blackberry salad is classic and chic: blackberries, greens, goat cheese, and almonds, tossed with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette.

Blackberry salad

When we start to see those gorgeous turquoise cardboard containers of berries at our farmers market, we know: summer is here! The sweet tart taste of a local blackberry is like none other. And what better way to use the season’s berries than a blackberry salad? This green salad is classic and chic: baby greens, soft goat cheese and smoked almonds bring a nuance of flavor that’s extraordinary for the amount of prep time required. And top it off with our famous creamy Best Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing. Alex and I dreamed up this salad, and upon first bite, both declared “Wow.” Here’s how to make this tasty and healthy side dish.

Related: 15 Summer Side Dishes You Need

Blackberry salad with balsamic vinaigrette

How to make blackberry salad

Using a sweet and savory green salad is one of our favorite ways to accessorize a meal: the sweet element works with main dishes of all kinds. This blackberry salad is easy to whip up: the only time consuming part is whisking up the balsamic dressing. Here are the ingredients required for this blackberry salad:

  • Ripe blackberries (local, if possible!)
  • Mixed baby greens (or any lettuce mix)
  • Smoked roasted almonds (or any nut)
  • Soft goat cheese
  • Balsamic vinaigrette: made with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and olive oil
How to make balsamic vinaigrette recipe

Making balsamic vinaigrette

Outside of those beautiful dark purple blackberries, the star of this salad is the balsamic dressing. This dressing comes out beautifully creamy every time. Our trick? We’ve found that using Dijon mustard in a vinaigrette not only adds flavor: it helps to maintain a creamy texture. Simply whisk together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard together, then whisk in the olive oil tablespoon by tablespoon until a creamy emulsion forms. For the dressing recipe, head to our Best Balsamic Dressing.

Now, even though the blackberry salad recipe below only calls for a half recipe of the dressing: we’d say to make a full recipe! You can save the remainder of the dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator and use it for other salads throughout the week. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature prior to serving.

Blackberry salad

Customizing this blackberry salad

As you can imagine, while this salad is customized for blackberries, you can use any berry or seasonal fruit. Strawberries, raspberries, black raspberries, or blueberries would work perfectly here. (For a blueberry version, head to our Blueberry Salad with Balsamic.) Ripe peaches or plums would also be fabulous. If it’s winter, try sliced apples. Really whatever fruit you have on hand, you could use!

For the nut component in this salad, we’ve chosen smoked almonds. The smokiness brings in a extra nuance that elevates it to a new level! But again, this blackberry salad would work well with any type of nut. Try pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans for different flavor profiles. You could also toast the nuts for a few minutes in a dry skillet, stirring often, to bring out the flavor. (We tend to do this if we have time: it really ups the flavor!)

And of course, the cheese in this salad can be customized (or omitted). An obvious stand in for goat cheese crumbles would be feta crumbles: but you could also use shaved Parmesan cheese or even a sharp cheddar. If you can find it, try buying local goat cheese: we have a local goat cheese vendor at our farmers market that we love supporting (called Caprini Creamery if you’re local to Indianapolis). But if you’d rather have a plant-based salad, you can omit the cheese! It tastes just as good on its own.

Plate with food almost all eaten

How to serve it!

One of Alex and my favorite things about this blackberry salad is that because it’s so classic, it can pair with lots of different main dishes. It’s a healthy side dish that works for dinner parties or an easy weeknight meal: it’s perfect with pizza or Italian recipes. If you make the dressing in advance, you can whip it up in just 5 minutes! Here are some main dishes that, paired with this salad, become a meal:

This blackberry salad recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the cheese (it’s just as good!).

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Blackberry salad

Blackberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This blackberry salad is classic and chic: blackberries, greens, goat cheese, and almonds, tossed with a creamy balsamic vinaigrette.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 recipe Best Balsamic Vinaigrette*
  • 1 cup ripe blackberries
  • 8 cups baby greens mix (we used baby spinach and arugula)
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup smoked salted almonds (or any almonds)

Instructions

  1. Make the Best Balsamic Vinaigrette. (*For the nutrition analysis, we’ve calculated 1 tablespoon dressing per serving; but we recommend making the entire dressing recipe so you can have more for later! Save leftovers in a sealed container and refrigerate; bring to room temperature prior to serving.)
  2. Wash the blackberries.
  3. Place the greens on plates, then top with blackberries, goat cheese crumbles, and almonds. Drizzle with the desired amount of dressing and serve.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired

Keywords: Blackberry salad, Best blackberry salad, Blackberry balsamic salad,

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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