If you need to bring a side or a salad to a Labor Day Weekend fête, I’ve got just the one.
This salad is quick, colorful, and delicious, with the added bonus that it could easily become dinner with the addition of sliced grilled chicken. The first time I had it, on the weekend of the eclipse, my good friend, and relative, Meera Ballal, brought all the ingredients over in a Trader Joe’s grocery sack. By the time the chicken was grilled, the salad was assembled and on the table. Everyone loved it!
Yield: Serves 10-12 as a side dish
2 7-ounce bags arugula, (have a third on standby to perk up the salad)
1 8-ounce package dried, tart Montmorency cherries
1 6-ounce package crumbled feta cheese (sometimes Meera uses 2 containers)
1 8-ounce package raw, sliced almonds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Judy’s Chickens Every Day Salad Dressing or TJ’s Balsamic Vinaigrette
Lemony Grilled Chicken Breasts (optional)
Mise en Place
Put the arugula, feta, and dried cherries in an extra-large mixing bowl that leaves plenty of room for tossing the ingredients together.
Next, toast the almonds in olive oil to enhance their nutty flavor. To do so, pour olive oil into a warmed medium-sized sauté pan. Add almonds and mix to coat. Sauté over medium-low heat for about two minutes. Meera told me to stir the nuts almost constantly because they go from toasted to burned, quickly. She said, with her infectious laugh, “This is not the time to multitask in the kitchen.” She was right about that. The nuts went from creamy white to brown, to dark brown around the edges of the pan in the blink of an eye. When they start to brown, dump them immediately into a small bowl to stop the cooking process. Keep the nuts warm in a separate bowl until dinner time.
Just before serving, add the nuts and salad dressing. I like to use my own homemade salad dressing @judyschickens Everyday Salad Dressing. I sprinkle a little white balsamic vinegar over the greens for added “bite” before tossing. The greens collapse quickly, so don’t add dressing until ready to serve.
For the grilled chicken, try my chicken marinade recipe, Lemony Thyme Grilled Chicken Breasts. The lemon and thyme in the chicken enhance the flavor of the salad.
The cost of this salad? $17.14 if you use your own salad dressing.
For a fun Labor day activity, check out Catfishing with Noodles on Lake Barkley, Kentucky!
Always check the website for the most current version of a recipe. Thanks!
© 2014-2017 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.
8 thoughts on “Meera’s Arugula, Feta, Dried Cherry (or Cranberry) Salad with Toasted Almonds”
The salad sounds perfect. And you are so right about toasting nuts. Toasting them in a skillet or in the oven, doesn’t matter. They’ll burn in a heart beat if you don’t stand still and watch. Ask me how I know.
Hahaha! I had never toasted almonds in olive oil before. Had you? It made their flavor burst. So good!
Your knitted shawls are gorgeous, by the way! Plus, I love the lakeside photos on your blog. Such a happy place– your blog and the lake!