Summer Explosion Salad {with Creamy Balsamic Dressing}

All of the sweet flavors of summer combined into a single salad and topped with crunchy candied walnuts and feta cheese.

First and foremost, the absolute BEST way to eat a giant salad is from a pie plate. It’s like a cross between a plate and a bowl, and I don’t know where this idea has been all my life. But you better believe I snatched up that pie pan up after this “photoshoot”, if you will, and went to town on this salad. It has all of the beautiful flavors of summer in it, and is so easy to customize. If my avocados had been ripe, they would have been perfect for this salad gosh darnit. Apples would also be delicious, and even raspberries.

The candied walnuts only take 5 minutes to make and they give this salad a sweet crunch that offsets the other textures perfectly. And the feta? I won’t even go into the feta… I could go on for days about that stuff. You could also dice up some cheddar cheese for this salad too, I’ve been there, done that, and it’s amazing. 

Now, the creamy balsamic dressing is honestly to die for. That, you’d be best to make ahead of time so that it has time to thicken and blend together for a few hours before you serve it. But the wait is well worth it, take it from me.

I can pretty much guarantee that if you bring this salad to your next summer BBQ, all you’ll be coming home with is an empty bowl! 😉

Summer Explosion Salad

Summer Explosion Salad {with Creamy Balsamic Dressing}

All of the sweet flavors of summer combined into a single salad and topped with crunchy candied walnuts and feta cheese.

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 2 heaping cups spinach leaves
  • 4 sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup mandarin orange slices, (from a can), drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup candied walnuts {Instructions below}
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy balsamic dressing {Recipe below)

Dressing:

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt (Can also use mayo)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Candied Walnuts:

  • 1 cup walnut halves/pieces
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter (preferably unsalted)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Salad:

Toss all salad ingredients together and enjoy! Yield: 1 Salad

Dressing:

Place all ingredients in a jar, cover, and shake until well combined. Chill for several hours to allow the flavors to blend and the dressing to thicken prior to serving. Yield: 1 cup dressing

Candied Walnuts:

Melt the butter in a nonstick saucepan over medium heat.

Add the walnuts and sugar, and stir constantly to prevent it from burning. The mixture will continue to thicken, brown, and caramelize as it continues to cook. It’s done around the 5 minute mark (It feels like longer when you’re standing there stirring)

When it’s done, immediately remove it from the heat and transfer the walnuts to a plate to cool. Yield: 1 cup walnuts

This salad is superb with grilled chicken and other kinds of fruits such as apples, raspberries, avocado, and more!

You can also sub candied pecans instead of walnuts 🙂

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Summer Explosion Salad