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so what’s in a salad?

Fresh-air markets, booths and stalls stretching for blocks and blocks, wooden tables piled high with newly-picked fruits and vegetables.  Luscious juice-sweet fruits, all round-body shapes and colors. Rustic root or bright green vegetables some with the earth still clinging to them. Farmers in aprons, their hands, soil-worn and calloused, paring off samples for us to taste. And we held out our hands and we tasted, and we bought what we couldn’t resist. But we’d made some kind of cosmic mistake! We had no kitchen to take our booty to, no salad bowl, no wooden tongs. No aprons of our own. So it happened that everywhere we went, my longing for brilliant color tossed in a bowl grew. We had some nice salads while away, but they weren’t the salads of home. And  the salads of home are the foods I miss most of all when we’re away.

So here, for you (and for me) brilliant color in a bowl. (and between us, so delicious it’s startling!)

Once again, as is usually the case with salads around here, a list of ingredients but no amounts. I’ll give some rough guidelines, but you know how you like your salads from home, so no one will be as good a judge as you …


Brilliant Winter Green Salad with Pomegranate, Apple & Almonds

Baby Spinach – or Arugula  (which do you prefer, mild and green, or slightly bitter? Or maybe a mix of the two.)

Apple, cored and sliced

Pomegranate seeds (see a previous post for the most ingenious way to remove these wonderfully tart & crunchy little seeds)

Basil – leaves laid out on top of one another, rolled tight like a cigar and sliced thinly

Slivered Almonds, toasted brown

Shallot, sliced thinly and sauteed to a toasty brown in a bit of oil

Soft, mild goat cheese – Optional

Vinaigrette (see below)


Thinly slice the shallot and drop it into a small medium-hot skillet to which you’ve added a small amount of oil. Stir occasionally until browned. Remove to a paper towel.

Toast the almonds – in a 350° oven for perhaps 15 minutes. Check frequently. (The last bit of browning goes very quickly.) About the last 5 minutes you might (might!) want to place the shallots in the oven along with the almonds to dry and crisp them a bit more. 

Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. (See previous post link above. You’ll also find another delicious salad there.)

Toss all ingredients into a bowl (reserving a little of the seeds, nuts and shallots for sprinkling on top.) Toss with a little vinaigrette. Taste to see if amply dressed. Drizzle more as desired. Sprinkle bits of brilliance on top.

Would you like me to taste it for you and tell you why it’s so good?

Even this time of year, most markets will still have fresh crisp baby spinach leaves. These leaves taste mild and green and like Health itself. (Arugula, a little or a lot, but only for those who like the mildly bitter. I do!) Crisp sweet-tart apple, toasted almonds tasting of the hearth, threads of fresh basil winding throughout (these you nearly taste in your nose), crunchy smoky bittersweet bits of shallot, bursting tart seeds full of juice…and then…if you like this sort of thing…mild and creamy, exquisite white cheese of goat.

I . love .  this .  salad !


The Vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon Balsamic or 1½ Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar (see NOTE below)

3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

(optional – a small drizzle maple syrup or honey – a sprinkling of fresh thyme)

Sea Salt & Pepper to taste


Shake or whisk all ingredients well.

NOTE on Vinegars: If you are so lucky as to have pomegranate balsamic vinegar, oh do use it here! If you haven’t, any good balsamic will work, though you might want to dilute it with just a bit of sherry vinegar or use all sherry vinegar instead.


To print the recipe, click here.

33 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow, this is perfect for me! I love all that freshness!

    November 12, 2012
  2. Your salad looks beautiful. I, however, hate to eat salads in cold weather — partly because I want warm food to stay warm and partly because I hate having to wash greens in cold water.

    November 12, 2012
  3. Yes, please, pretty please. What a perfect salad. Can’t think of one better. And the idea of a slightly crunched oven roasted shallot in there, too…yum! To me, even though it’s cold, it looks like a perfectly inviting fall salad — in flavors and color. And, too, what a good way to celebrate all the bounty of home!

    November 12, 2012
    • Thank you Ashley…it does indeed feel (taste) like a celebratory salad! Welcome home, us! 🙂

      November 13, 2012
  4. Mari Anna #

    Plus, I love your photos!

    November 12, 2012
  5. I love everything about this salad, Spree, well, except that thing about the cheese. Goat cheese in a salad so grand is never optional. For my tastes, this is a Fall classic and would be perfect on Thanksgiving. And, as always, Spree, your photography is incredible. I can only hope that when I make this salad, it will look half as good as your photos. 🙂

    November 12, 2012
    • I know, that thing about the cheese… of course you’re right. I can count the people I know who don’t like goat cheese on one hand – but I CAN count them, so the option applies ONLY to them. Everyone else, consider it mandatory. (And if you don’t believe me, you can’t possibly doubt the authority on cheese!) And thank you so much for the kind compliment John!:)

      November 13, 2012
  6. spree.. how did you know I’ve been longing for a new salad recipe.. one with pretty colors and lovely flavors, just like this one! I can’t wait to try it.. if it’s your favorite, it will soon be a favorite of mine!! xx

    November 12, 2012
    • If you can possibly come across some Pomegranate balsamic vinegar, it is so gently perfect in this salad. But even without it, half balsamic and half sherry vinegar is great. I know how you love pretty Smidge, and this salad does fit neatly there. (I know you’ll like it!) xx

      November 13, 2012
  7. Ali #

    This is right up my “Ali” 🙂
    Have I had this before? So many of my favorite things together! This has got to be on the thanksgiving menu.

    November 12, 2012
    • Nope, this is a new one Ali…and yes, I know, it really IS right up your Ali! 🙂

      November 13, 2012
  8. A very good salad and a beautiful picture. It illustrates that restrained, cool daylight that illuminates pictures at this time of year.

    November 12, 2012
    • Thanks Roger. Yes, this low light of near-winter has its own beauty.

      November 13, 2012
  9. A beautiful salad for this time of the year. I find that I am using sherry vinegar more and more as the flavor is not as strong or overpowering as some other vinegars.

    November 13, 2012
    • Thank you Karen. I’ll not infrequently cut some of the sweet power of balsamic with the addition of sherry vinegar, but like you, I think it’s often quite great on its own.

      November 13, 2012
  10. Isn’t it funny what we miss when away from home, and with fresh salads like this I totally understand! and stranegly enough we have some pomegranates ripening in the kitchen waiting for the perfect recipe! I’m off to read about getting the gems out in the open 🙂

    November 13, 2012
    • You’re going to love spanking that pretty little pomegranate Claire! 😉

      November 14, 2012
  11. This looks great and I love the photos!

    November 13, 2012
    • Thank you! That’s what some “brilliant” color will do! 😉

      November 14, 2012
  12. So beautiful, and I love that you brown the shallot! I wish that my kitchen were lined with your photos, are they available for purchase?

    November 13, 2012
    • Emmy – such a nice thing for you to say, such a nice thing for me to hear! 🙂 To know that you’d like to adorn your walls with “food from my kitchen” is the highest sort of compliment to me! I’ve been mulling that thought in my mind…thinking likely it will be an option in the not-too-distant future. All those “funny little details” to work out, you know. 😉 I’ll be sure and make an announcement here though if and when I decide to go forward with that. Again Emmy, thanks so much!

      November 14, 2012
  13. Absolutely gorgeous salad!! I love the pomegranates and apples and basil and goat cheese and vinaigrette and…What is there not to like about this salad and the photo is sooo beautiful. Perfection on a plate.

    November 14, 2012
  14. carolyn #

    Oh, man, I LOVE a fresh and startling salad! it must have been a bit of torture to be in a sea of fresh produce, and have nowhere to prepare a meal. No wonder you came home and devised this masterpiece! I can’t wait to serve it for Thanksgiving. May I borrow your lovely bowl? :-}

    November 14, 2012
    • The bowl dear girl is taken, but you can borrow the salad! 🙂 (Next time we go, we’ll be fitting ourselves up with a little kitchen!)

      November 15, 2012
  15. Such a lovely salad, to look at and, I’m sure, to eat! Art in a bowl.

    November 15, 2012
  16. Looks delicious!!
    Your photos are always amazing; I really love all the colors that you capture in the food and the textures as well!
    Great job!

    November 17, 2012
    • THank you Pablo. I l.o.v.e. this salad. Oh, wait I already said that. 🙂 You’re so sweet…thank you very much for the nice words! Have you decided what path your blog will take now that you’re no longer doing the 365? I definitely want to see more of you! 🙂

      November 18, 2012
  17. I always love to find a new interesting salad. This is a perfect winter salad. And I do love your photos too.

    November 21, 2012
  18. deb #

    Thank you for this 🙂 I, too, love salad and look forward to trying yet another beautiful one.

    November 26, 2012

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