Spinach and arugula salad with juicy chicken, goat cheese, almonds, and a naturally sweetened black cherry balsamic vinaigrette.
I had a chicken, goat cheese, and black cherry balsamic vinaigrette salad at Nordstrom Cafe many months ago, and I’ve been dreaming of recreating it ever since. The balsamic balances out the sweetness of the cherries and creates a nice, bold flavor. Combine that with crunchy slivered almonds, huge chunks of goat cheese, and perfectly cooked chicken. No boring salads here people! This one is healthy, filling, and delicious. I’m not sure how Nordstrom makes their vinaigrette, but this one uses real cherries (not just the juice), and has only honey as an added sweetener. Yay!
August is the last month that dark cherries are in season, which is sad, but also means that this salad needs to get on your meal calendar ASAP.
It takes six ingredients to make this all natural dressing. You’re starting line-up: Black cherries, balsamic vinegar, canola oil, garlic, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Start by boiling your pitted cherries, balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic, stirring occassionally. The cherries will cook down into a thick, dark syrup after 20 minutes.
When your cherries and balsamic have reduced, let them cool for a few minutes. Then add them to a blender with canola oil, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Blend until completely smooth and store in an air tight mason jar. You can either serve the vinaigrette at room temp, or if you like your dressing cold, refrigerate for one hour. Note- after sitting, the oil will start to separate and the vinaigrette will seem thick without it. Shake for a minute before using and your dressing will be back to normal!
You can use this vinaigrette on whatever awesome salad combination you can come up, or you can follow my recipe that uses my favorite chicken marinade of all time! Enjoy, and let me know what you create.
- FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
- 6 oz pitted cherries (2/3 cup)
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 small clove garlic minced
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- FOR THE SALAD
- ⅓ cup white wine
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp of garlic powder
- ¼ tsp of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced in half to make 4
- 8 oz spinach
- 8 oz arugula
- 6 oz goat cheese
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- To make the chicken marinade, combine white wine, olive oil, ACV, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil in a bowl.
- Place chicken breasts in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the vinaigrette, bring the pitted cherries, balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic to boil.
- Stir occasionally for 20 minutes until you have a thick, dark syrup
- Let cool for a couple of minutes and then add to a blender with canola oil, ACV, and honey.
- Blend until completely smooth and pour into a mason jar.
- Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for an hour.
- Cook your chicken on the stove top, oven, or grill until internal temp is 165°
- To assemble your salad, combine spinach and arugula together in a salad bowl.
- Top with chicken strips, crumbled goat cheese, slivered almonds, and your black cherry vinaigrette.
- **NOTE: your vinaigrette will separate as it sits and the bottom will become thick. Shake vigorously for a minute and it will return to normal!