A Refreshing Summer Salad with Arugula, Berries, Apples, and Yes… White Chocolate

summer salad

What you who are not from the Midwest might not know is that Chicago gives us many seasons, in the same week—in the same day—anytime it wants to.

Saturday, for example, I spent the gloomy morning at the library, watching dark skies send rain onto waving maple trees and brick houses, but by early evening, the sun was bright and high, the air warm, charcoal breezes around us while we walked to dinner. Later still, the breezes turned cold again, when I pulled on my thickest coat to step onto the street and get in my car.

This has happened before, like when the air turned near-balmy in February or when we had our first snow before Halloween; it will happen again.

So when you visit, please bring a coat and t-shirts, sunscreen and an umbrella. We make no guarantees. All you can really be sure of is that we’ll be here, smiling, ready for whatever comes next, with bare trees turned to thick green clusters along the highway, spindly bushes turned to pink and red blossoms in yards, the threat of rain in the eastern horizon.

salad on the table

When you come in June, we will have salad – light and refreshing, cool and crunchy. Where winter is hearty beef stew, summer is salad, even if it’s raining or the air turns cold and there are puddles to our doorway.

This isn’t California—you can’t eat our produce year-round – but this is summer after all, and, some say, it’s smarter to eat for the weather you want than the weather you have.

making salad

Sometimes, in fact, when you eat like summer, summer comes.

After I made this salad, a combination of greens and fruit and a homemade vinaigrette, we flipped and flopped from hot to cool, but by Sunday afternoon, it just so happened that the weather was absolutely perfect, and, even with temps predicted to drop below 50 in the evenings, I’ve heard most of this week will be hot and dry, sunshine everywhere.

It’s summer, people. This is salad weather.

bowl of summer salad

This recipe has loads of things that are good for – but taste great as well: fresh greens, chopped toasted walnuts, apples, blueberries, shaved white chocolate. We’ll have it at the kitchen table, with ice water and a fresh loaf of bread, sitting next to the windows.

plated summer salad

Afterwards, I can’t say if we’ll go for a walk or watch a movie, sit beneath the stars or stay indoors; but, with good company and a salad like this to eat, does it matter?


Summer Salad

What I love about this salad is what I love about Angela’s recipes in general: it’s the kind of thing your friend, the one who’s a great cook, would make for you—simple, tested, full of flavor. By all means, feel free to improvise, but do follow her advice to freeze the blueberries and shave the white chocolate (don’t use chips), as both of those touches are important.

4 cups arugula, or mixed 50/50 with various salad greens
1/2 thinly sliced gala apple
1/2 cup blueberries (freeze for at least 20 minutes)
1/2 cup strawberries, washed peeled, cut in large slices
2 tablespoons toasted finely chopped walnuts for topping
shaved white chocolate, NOT chips (use a premium brand) enough to shave over entire salad

Sea salt

Balsamic Vinaigrett

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

For the dressing, mix 1 to 3 parts vinegar to oil, whisk together and then very gently toss into greens with your hands. If you’re using arugula, use the dressing sparingly, as this type of green does not need a lot of dressing. (You can always drizzle more vinegar over salad once it is assembled if you desire.)

Toss the greens before adding fruit or fruit will get mushy.

Add fruit on top of greens, placing apples in center and surrounding with blueberries and strawberries. Sprinkle toasted walnuts on top of apples. Shave good white chocolate all over the top, and then sprinkle a little sea salt and pepper. Drizzle a few drops of balsamic vinegar over the fruit.

*Arugula wilts faster than any green, so you’ll want to wait to add dressing until just before serving. For this reason, it might be better to mix it with some other greens to have a salad with a bit more body.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.

12 thoughts on “A Refreshing Summer Salad with Arugula, Berries, Apples, and Yes… White Chocolate”

  1. Good looking salad and great post.

    Also, not exactly sure how long you’ve had the new banner up, but I dig it 😉


  2. I am so jealous you are in Chicago! I was hoping my hubby would get a job at IIT and we could move there, but he got it right here in Kalamazoo X(~ Ah well, at least I’m not too far away… The salad looks great 🙂

  3. Thanks, Jacqui!

    Nick – It’s been just over a week, and I love getting feedback (even if it’s negative, although I am glad you like it!)

    Meeso – Thanks for reminding me I am blessed. Chicago has good things, for sure. Although Kalamazoo… well, you’re not far from blueberry picking and pumpkin patches, am I right?

  4. Today being Tuesday, our weather currently in the midst of flash-flood warnings, I am eating my words about it being warm and sunny most days. Oh, well. Time for salad nonetheless.

    Maya – Glad to know I’m not alone!

    Lainey – Thank you and I know!

    Jen – Ha! That’s usually all it takes for me, too.

  5. Thank you Shannalee. I was really enjoying your post (I love chicago) and I was thinking what a nice salad…and then “hey it’s angela of spinach tiger” Surprise. And, it’s such a compliment that you took the time to read the instructions. I can remember so clearly the day I made that salad and thought WHO puts white chocolate on salad. Why not? Salad is my favorite food. Suffice to say, so glad I found your blog.

    Are you on twitter. I’m @spinachtiger

    Cheers, Angela

  6. Angela – I loved the white chocolate on top! I’ve also read dark chocolate is a good choice with arugula, and I will have to try that. Thanks for the great recipe!

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