After I made this salad, a combination of greens, nuts, and fruit with a homemade vinaigrette, the weather flip-flopped from hot to cool. But by Sunday afternoon, our outdoor conditions were absolutely perfect.
Even with temperatures predicted to drop below 50˚F in the evenings, hot and dry weather is predicted in the extended forecast, with sunshine everywhere.
It’s summer, people. This is salad weather.
If you aren’t from the Midwest, you might not realize that Chicago gives us many seasons, sometimes in the same week, or even in the same day. And the weather does this anytime it wants to.
I recently spent a 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, the air sending warm, smoke-laden breezes from the charcoal grills being fired up all around us while we walked through the neighborhood.
Later still, the breezes turned cold again, and I pulled on my thickest coat before I stepped onto the street and got 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. And it will happen again.
So when you visit, please bring a coat and t-shirts, sunscreen and an umbrella. We make no guarantees.
If you come see us in June, we will have salad – light and refreshing, cool and crunchy.
Whereas the winter is Chicago will make you crave hearty beef stew, summer is all about fresh leafy greens and crunchy vegetables – even if it’s raining, or the air turns cold and there are puddles along the path our doorway.
This isn’t California – you can’t eat our locally-grown produce year-round – but I’ve found it can be smarter to eat for the weather you want rather than the weather you have.
Sometimes, when you eat like it’s summer, summer comes.
This recipe has loads of things that are good for you, and that taste great as well: fresh greens, chopped toasted walnuts, apples, and fresh berries. With a rich, totally decadent chocolate balsamic dressing on top, you might forget for just a moment that you aren’t eating dessert.
It’s perfect to enjoy at the dinner table while you gaze out the window, making plans for the garden or dreaming of sunnier days, or you can pack it up and bring it with you on a picnic on the next sunshine-filled, sparkling afternoon.Print
A refreshing summer salad with chocolate balsamic dressing is the combination of fruity, sweet, and savory flavors that you’re craving right now.
For the Salad:
- 4 cups arugula, or 50/50 mix with various salad greens
- 1/2 gala apple, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped toasted walnuts
For the Vinaigrette:
- 3 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Divide greens between two plates. Top evenly with apple slices, blueberries, and strawberries.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in 30-second increments, stirring in between each, until smooth. Stir in balsamic vinegar, oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Cool for 5 minutes in the refrigerator. Drizzle dressing over the salad.
- Sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.
Adapted from a recipe by Angela Roberts of Spinach Tiger.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Salads
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keywords: salad, chocolate balsamic dressing, berries, summer, lunch
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Slice Fruit, Chop Walnuts, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Slice half a gala apple, removing the core and discarding it.
Remove the tops of several strawberries and slice until you have a 1/2 cup total.
Chop enough toasted walnuts until you have 2 tablespoons total.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed in the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Plate
Divide the greens between two plates.
Divide the apple slices, blueberries, and strawberry slices evenly between the two plates.
Step 3 – Make Dressing
Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments on 30% power. Be sure to stir in between each, until smooth.
Let the dressing cool by setting the bowl in an ice bath, in a larger bowl filled halfway with ice and water. Stir until cool.
Step 4 – Finish and Serve
Drizzle cooled dressing over each plate. Sprinkle each with a tablespoon of chopped toasted walnuts.
Chocolate + Greens + Fruit = So Good
Arugula truly is the best base for this salad because it lends itself to the sweet and bright pops of flavor that come through in every single bite. Plus you get that little hint of peppery flavor in every mouthful.
You can also try out a 50/50 combo of arugula and mixed spring greens if you like. The light freshness of the other greens with the peppery arugula offers an added punch of vibrant taste.
Do you need more salad ideas that incorporate fruit for this week?
- Triple Berry Salad with Sauteed Shallots and Walnuts
- Apple and Radicchio Salad with Goat Cheese
- Honey-Glazed Peach Spinach Salad
- Peach Caprese
- Summer Fruit Salad
- Peach and Corn
- Arugula Dijon Salad with Figs and Pistachios
What’s your favorite leafy green to eat in salads? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe once you’ve tried it at home.
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 15, 2009. Last updated: December 14, 2021 at 4:52 am. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.