Salad with greens, cheddar, pecans, and roasted organic grapes
It’s the peak of the season for grape production, and while grapes are really delicious raw, their flavor can be enhanced by a light roasting. Once lightly shriveled, the sugar becomes more concentrated, making them a perfect addition to a fresh green salad, a roasted veggie side, or mixed with a rice pilaf. In this salad, the sweetness perfectly balances the salty sharpness of the cheddar cheese and the nuttiness of the roasted pecans. You’ll be sure to have seconds of this first course! While you can find the organic version of all of these ingredients, be sure to pick up organic grapes, which have more antioxidants than those grown conventionally.
A recent study in the International Journal of Fruit Science compared the nutritional qualities of white seedless grapes managed with organic or conventional fertilizers. The researchers found that while crop yield was greater in the conventional fertilizer system, the grapes produced with the organic fertilizer system had more antioxidants (more phenolics and flavonoids), making them more nutritious than the conventional grapes.
For the salad: Quantities depend entirely on your preference of proportions
- Baby salad greens (washed and spun dry)
- Extra sharp cheddar cheese grated
- Organic seedless grapes (washed)
- Olive oil for roasting
- Salt to taste
For the dressing:
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)
- ½ tsp. dijon mustard or whole grain mustard
- ½ tsp Salt
- Ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F
Roasting Pecans and grapes:
Place the pecans on an unlined cookie sheet, put in preheated oven and roast until they turn slightly darker and you can smell them toasting (watch carefully, stir frequently and/or check often). Roasting time varies but may take as little as 5 minutes. Chop or crumble by hand.
Place the grapes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment (baking) paper. Coat the grapes with 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil, mixing by hand and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast in preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until slightly shriveled and blistered. Stir often while roasting.
To make the salad dressing:
Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined. Adjust vinegar and salt to taste.
Assembling the salad:
In a large mixing bowl add the desired amount of baby greens and roasted grapes. Toss with a few Tbsp. of dressing until lightly coated. Add a pinch of salt and lightly toss some more. Add more dressing to taste if preferred. Serve in bowls and top with roasted pecans and grated cheddar cheese. Enjoy!
Banner Photo Credit: MSPhotographic; istockphoto.com