Arugula Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette and Spiced Macadamia Nuts

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My daughter and I returned home after our week-long road trip to Alabama and after 7 days of eating fried foods and desserts whenever I had a chance, in addition to eating daiquiris by the pool, some lighter meals are on order. I'm not even going to step on the scale for at least a week, because I could cry.

The arugula salad with balsamic blueberry vinaigrette and honey-roasted macadamia nuts is a light, summery salad that has everything but flavor. The salad dressing takes several days to prepare, but it's worth the wait. Produces a thick, syrupy dressing that contrasts with goat cheese and spicy arugula.

This could actually be called triple cranberry salad because there are cranberries in the vinaigrette, fresh cranberries in the salad, plus I used wonderful blueberry goat cheese. Yes, I love blueberries! Blueberry Goat Cheese is a wonderful local product made by Round Mountain Creamery in Black Mountain, North Carolina. There has really been an explosion of farms in that area producing their own cheeses. They sell a ton of flavored goat cheese, but this one with blueberries, walnuts, and lemons is terrific in salads, sandwiches, crackers, or spread on a roasted bagel. You can order their cheeses online.

With the crunch of some spicy / sweet macadamia nuts, this salad will take you out of your normal salad routine. Add some grilled chicken or shrimp and call it food.

Arugula Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette and Spiced Macadamia Nuts

  • 8 cups baby arugula
  • ½ a cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup goat cheese

Blueberry Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup) sugar
  • several strips of lime peel, only green part
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

Honey spiced macadamia nuts

  • 1 cup whole macadamia nuts
  • 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Make the vinaigrette. Make a blueberry-flavored vinegar first. In a small saucepan, mash the blueberries with a fork or potato masher. Add vinegar, sugar, lime zest, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.

  • Let the mixture cool and put it in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Strain the mixture into a bowl, using a fine mesh strainer. Use a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.

  • In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons cranberry vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Gradually add the olive oil.

  • Make macadamia nuts Preheat oven to 350 °.

  • Mix all the ingredients and spread them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 6 minutes, stir the walnuts, and bake for an additional 6 to 7 minutes (be careful not to burn the walnuts).

  • Combine arugula, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, and blueberries in a large salad bowl. Top with goat cheese and macadamia nuts. Sprinkle with vinaigrette.

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