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Spinach Fruit Salad With Warm Pecan Encrusted Goat Cheese

Tangy goat cheese and pecans balance the sweetness of this colorful spinach salad. Sauteeing the goat cheese definitely takes it up a notch – if you like goat cheese cold, you will adore it warm!

A few weeks ago we loaded our sweet pup in the car and drove to Florida to escape Massachusetts winter and all the heart-heavy things we’ve been going through this past year. One of the silver linings of a pandemic is being able to work from anywhere, so why not outside, on a deck of a little house with a palm tree blowing in the breeze while our wonderful neighbors at home housesit for us?

We have been LOVING all the amazing produce down here that is so fresh and delicious, and I’ve been inspired for the first time in a looong time to cook healthy and delicious meals instead of just eating to exist.

This spinach salad recipe is so versatile, and easy too! It serves 4-6 as a side, or add chopped chicken or salmon and make it an entree for 2. See the whole recipe at the end of the post.

Start with a big bowl of baby spinach piled high with your favorite fruits (I used strawberries, blueberries and green grapes but red grapes, blackberries, raspberries, and mandarin oranges are great in here also).

As pretty as this colorful salad is, goat cheese and pecans are the star of this show!

Start by slicing a chilled log of goat cheese into disks and press chopped pecans onto them.

Then warm these babies up! These little bites of deliciousness cook quickly so don’t take your eyes off of them! The goat cheese disks just need a quick minute on one side and then the other.

Let them cool for a minute while you whisk up a simple spinach salad dressing that lets the flavors of the fruit and goat cheese take center stage. 

Toss the dressing with the salad, add your delicious pecan encrusted goat cheese and enjoy! This one on the left got a little crispy on one side, so yummy!

This is a great salad for a weekday lunch or a special dinner. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Spinach Fruit Salad With Warm Pecan Encrusted Goat Cheese

Warm and melty goat cheese takes this colorful, sweet and savory entree or side salad up a notch.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. bag baby spinach, long stems snapped off
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 6-8 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup red or green grapes, halved
  • 4 oz. log of goat cheese, chilled
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

Prepare Salad and Dressing

Combine spinach, blueberries and chopped strawberries and grapes in large bowl.

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.

Right before serving, rewhisk dressing and toss with salad and fruit.

Prepare Pecan Encrusted Goat Cheese

Keep the goat cheese chilled until ready to prepare as this makes it easier to slice. Chop pecans. Slice log of goat cheese into 1/4" disks. Press pecans onto both sides of the goat cheese. If goat cheese crumbles and breaks apart use the warmth of your hand to reshape into equally sized disks.

Set a skillet over medium heat and swirl a bit of olive oil in the pan. When the oil shimmers, turn the heat down to medium-low and add the goat cheese circles. Cook for about 1 minute then carefully turn over with a small spatula or spoon. Brown the other side for about a minute and take off heat. Let cool slightly in pan so the goat cheese disks don't fall apart, then use a spatula to carefully transfer. Top each salad serving with two or three circles.

Notes

Keep a close eye on the pecan encrusted goat cheese disks when sauteeing - they cook quickly and the pecans can burn easily over medium heat.

Pecan encrusted goat cheese disks can be cooked ahead of time and reheated in the pan right before serving.

Add chopped cooked chicken to this salad as a main dish or serve as a side.

Weekender | Vol. 11
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