Cherry, Goat Cheese & Candied Walnut Salad + Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette + A Giveaway!

Cherry, Goat Cheese & Candied Walnut Salad + Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette #gotart

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the National Cherry Month #GoTart Campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I received free samples of tart cherries mentioned in this post from the Cherry Marketing Institute. I was compensated for my time. Opinions expressed are my own

Fancy salads are one of my favorite foods. Every time I go to a restaurant I absolutely HAVE to order one as an appetizer. The ones with goat cheese, dried fruits and nuts are the first ones that I am drawn to. Every time.

So when I got the chance to create a recipe for Healthy Aperture and the Cherry Marketing Institute with tart dried cherries and cherry juice I knew what I wanted to make….a simple and delicious Cherry, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnut Salad with a Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Cherry, Goat Cheese & Candied Walnut Salad + Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette #gotart

Apparently there is a new food trend going on and it turns out sour is the new spicy. That gives tart cherries the advantage! I know I’ve always been a fan of sour foods, especially those with a touch of sweetness to them. These tart cherries are sooooo delicious- plump, chewy, sweet and sour. Addicting actually, but the good news is that they are good for you! For fruits and vegetables, a sour taste is often an indication that there are more phytonutrient compounds inside.

Also, dried tart cherries are high in Vitamin A and contain anthocyanins, a flavonoid that contributes to the ruby-red color and distinguishing taste. Most flavonoids function in the body as antioxidants which in a nutshell prevent damage to cells.

Throwing a handful of dried tart cherries into a salad is such an easy way to make it a little special. This salad combo is perfect- a little tart, a little sweet, a little salt and a little crunch. The creamy salty goat cheese with the tart cherries and sweet walnuts really create a great balance that hit several of our five basic tastes.

Another reason I love this salad is because you can make the walnuts and dressing ahead of time so that when you are ready to eat there is little prep involved.

Cherry, Goat Cheese & Candied Walnut Salad + Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette #gotart

Oh and the dressing, tangy and sweet. I licked the bowl, that’s how much I liked it. Did you know that reducing some cherry juice is the perfect way to intensify the flavor and thicken up your dressing? Unless that is, you forget about the juice reducing away on the stove top and come back to about a tablespoon left because it almost all evaporated. Don’t ask me how I know that.

CherrySalad-3

Tart cherries are available frozen, dried and in juice forms which makes it easy to enjoy this superfruit year round and in a variety of ways. Dried tart cherries are a perfect addition to your granola, parfaits, oatmeal, savory dishes or salad such as this fabulous one. To learn more about tart cherries, and to find recipes and serving ideas, visit choosecherries.com.

GoTartGiveaway

Cherry, Goat Cheese & Candied Walnut Salad + Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 cups mixed greens, such as green and red leaf lettuce, arugula and baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts (recipe below)
  • 4 crusted goat cheese medallions (recipe below)
  • Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste (recipe below)
  • For Walnuts
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1/4 heaping cup loose brown sugar
  • For crusted goat cheese
  • 4 (1 ounce) slices goat cheese (see note below)
  • 3 Tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons panko
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3-4 teaspoons olive oil
  • For Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup cherry juice
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 scant tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

    For dressing:
  1. Place 1/2 cup cherry juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup. Place minced garlic in a medium bowl, add reduced cherry juice. Whisk in vinegar and honey. Slowly whisk in oil drop by drop until well combined. Season with a salt and pepper.
  2. For the candid walnuts:
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. In a medium nonstick skillet heated to medium heat, add walnuts and sugar and stir constantly until sugar has melted and coated the walnuts, no more than 5 minutes. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and spread out to prevent clumping. Once dry store in an airtight container.
  4. For the goat cheese:
  5. Combine breadcrumbs and panko on a plate dip 1 ounce goat cheese medallion into beaten egg and then into breadcrumb mixture. Add olive oil to a nonstick skillet, place goat cheese medallions in skillet and cook for ~3 minutes total, flipping once when underside is lightly browned.
  6. For salad:
  7. Combine greens, dried cranberries and walnuts. Toss with desired amount of dressing. Divide onto plates and top each serving with one warm goat cheese medallion.

Notes

If you can't find pre-portioned goat cheese medallions, slice a piece off a goat cheese log and using your fingers lightly form it into a patty. Freezing the log for about 5 minutes before slicing might help the process.

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But before you go….. Check out this awesome giveaway the Cherry Marketing Institute is hosting- one lucky winner will receive the following: 

  • Year’s Supply of Dried Tart Cherries and Tart Cherry Juice
  • A KitchenAid 7-Quart Mixer
  • A Le Creuset 4.5- Quart Dutch Oven
  • Anthropolgie Apron 

Yes all of that (~$1,500 value) will go to one lucky person! Just enter using the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on 2/27/14. US residents only, 18 and up. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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Comments

  1. I would immediately want to bake them… not sure how, but I want to have them for breakfast with my coffee or for dessert. Your salad also looks crazy good to, so I’ll have to try that as well.
    Pavement Runner recently posted..Yes, Girls CanMy Profile

  2. Cherries and greens are one of my favs! But really anyway is good.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..#HappyFitMarch ChallengeMy Profile

  3. carla says:

    Id SHOVE THEM IN YOGURT and share with the child :-)
    carla recently posted..What if it all went away?My Profile

  4. lindsay says:

    yum yum! we use cherry juice for post workout! smoothies and all! great benefits

  5. Maureen says:

    I’ve had tart cherries in a salad before and they are amazing! Love this recipe!
    Maureen recently posted..IBS StinksMy Profile

  6. Marissa says:

    I love frozen tart cherries mixed in with greek yogurt..so good!

  7. carol says:

    I love frozen tart cherries mixed into my daily Greek Yogurt. I top it with granola and other chopped up cereal.

  8. Wow, awesome giveaway! And now my stomach is growling for lunch and it’s only 10:45. :)
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..18 weeks pregnant + For Two Fitness giveawayMy Profile

  9. This looks fantastic!

  10. Elle says:

    This looks fabulous! Wish I lived in the U.S. to enter your giveaway.
    Elle recently posted..Souvlaki Style Pork with Vegetables and SauceMy Profile

  11. kristen says:

    Sounds delish! I use dried cranberries a lot in salads. I’ll definitely try the cherries next time I throw in a handful!

  12. Claudia says:

    This looks delicious! I will suck it up and try the goat cheese just to see how the combination works! Thanks for sharing! :)

  13. Lauren says:

    LOVE how beautiful it looks!

  14. Oh friend, this salad looks absolutely incredible! Totally up my alley!
    Ari @ Ari’s Menu recently posted..S’mores Hot Cocoa {The Recipe ReDux}My Profile

  15. Kristin duke says:

    That salad looks incredible Mel!

  16. That salad looks so amazing! And I like cherries (I’ve only used frozen sweet cherries so far) thawed and mixed with nonfat Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of stevia. Great snack!
    Kelly @ Leafy Not Beefy recently posted..Earthy Chicks review and giveawayMy Profile

  17. This looks so delicious! I love cherries. Their tartness with the creamy goat cheese sounds like a perfect combo :)
    Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. recently posted..The Best Vegan Restaurant in Los Angeles (For People Who Aren’t Even Vegan)My Profile

  18. Melissa says:

    Adrianne and I can’t wait to try this one- yummy

  19. Courtney Craig says:

    You have motivated me to make a salad tonight, Melanie!

  20. Larissa says:

    You are speaking my language with that salad! I heart fruity vinaigrettes. I’d have to swap out nuts at home (husband’s dangerously allergic), but this may be added to my salad rotation.
    Larissa recently posted..Halp! Searching for fashion adviceMy Profile

  21. Smoothies! I LOVE tart cherries in smoothies. I actually use a tart cherry powder right now….
    Running Hutch recently posted..Why Treadmill Runners are Better Than MeMy Profile

  22. Amy says:

    Looks delicious, Melanie! My mouth is watering for cherries :) can’t wait to try the recipe! Hope you’re having a good week. Love you!

  23. Kierston says:

    Love the cherry idea to the salad dressing!

    Oh I wish I could enter this giveaway!
    Kierston recently posted..Our Knead [need] To Enjoy The Journey…My Profile

  24. I buy them in bulk, pit them and then freeze them. I love to eat them as dessert with a piece of dark chocolate after dinner!

  25. Theresa C. says:

    Oh that salad looks AMAZING! I have got to try this. It is totally my kind of salad.
    Theresa C. recently posted..Two Months to Go and a Link UpMy Profile

  26. This recipe looks amazing! I love mixing tart dried fruit in my salads with a good cheese… so good!
    Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life recently posted..Simplified CrockpotsMy Profile

  27. smoothies are my favorite way to use cherries!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..30 Weeks Pregnant | Baby RegistryMy Profile

  28. Paige c says:

    I like them plain or over Greek yogurt with granola

  29. Oh I love the idea of this dressing! Thanks for sharing.

  30. Sounds so good to put it on a salad! Otherwise I would love to eat them plain… we used to go cherry picking all the time when I was growing up :)
    Lora @ Crazy Running Girl recently posted..Mistakes… they happen.My Profile

  31. Alex says:

    I’ve always wanted a Le Creuset!

  32. mimi says:

    Yum, yum-that is such a great combination and I got to taste it it when in Seattle-absolutely wonderful!! I guess you could always substitute cranberries if you didn’t have cherries but the tartness of cherries is great!!

  33. Kristen M says:

    Cherry pie & cherry juice are favorites of mine. One of my best vacations was in Traverse City, MI during the annual cherry festival.

  34. I love adding cherries to my salads like you did here. And Cherry PIE!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Apera Bags Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  35. mary elizabeth says:

    this salad sounds so yummy!! crusted goat cheese and cherries….can’t wait to try it.

  36. Bali Tour says:

    Look great :)
    Thanks for the recipe

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