Grape and Walnut Side Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Side DishQuick and EasyVegetarianSalad

This quick and easy mixed green salad with grapes, walnuts, and blue cheese dressing is a flavor explosion without any fuss. Mix and match colors and textures for a salad that looks as good as it tastes!

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

This easy side salad is a study in contrasts of tastes and textures: crisp greens, sweet and juicy grapes, and toasty, crunchy walnuts, all topped off with a salty, chunky blue cheese dressing. I could eat this every single day!

THE BEST GREENS FOR THIS SALAD

I like to use at least two different greens for this recipe, but three or four are even better. I often bring home an assortment of lettuces from the market to use all week. I like the contrast of colors and textures.

I may have a small head of kale and radicchio as my starting point. Then, I add to that according to what I have in the fridge.

Mixed Green Salad -- colorful salad in a bowl with blue cheese dressing

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO WASH LETTUCE?

A salad spinner is the best way to wash lettuce, especially if it is slightly gritty. Follow this step-by-step method below.

  • Remove the basket from the salad spinner.
  • Set the bowl of the salad spinner in the sink and fill with cool water.
  • Add the torn leaves to the bowl of water, and swish them around for a few seconds. Let them sit for another 30 seconds or so, just long enough to allow the dirt to settle on the bottom.
  • Lift the greens out with your hands, trying not to disturb the dirt on the bottom, and transfer them to the basket.
  • Dump the water out of the bowl.
  • Return the basket with the leaves to the bowl, and spin until dry.

This method ensures that unwanted grit sinks to the bottom, instead of getting caught in the holes of the basket.

If you don’t have a salad spinner, add the torn leaves to a large bowl of cool water, and swish them around so the grit sinks to the bottom. Lift them out and place them in a colander. Shake the colander to release excess water.

Transfer the leaves to a large, clean tea towel or paper towel, and roll the towel gently, then lightly pat the leaves as dry as you can.

Simple Side Salad - - colorful salad in a bowl with blue cheese dressing

HOW TO STORE PRE-WASHED GREENS

You can prep most greens at least one day in advance. Soft greens wilt fairly quickly in the fridge and may only last a day, but sturdy greens, like those in this recipe, will keep for two to three days.

To store them after spinning them dry, line a bowl or container with a layer of paper towels, place the greens in the container, and top with another paper towel. Top with a lid.

I love making a salad mix that lasts a few days, so all I have to do is add the trimmings. I am definitely inclined to eat more salad if I have a bowl of greens ready and waiting! Just make sure you don’t add the dressing until you are ready to serve.

TRY ALL THE SALADS!

Grape and Walnut Side Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup walnut halves and pieces
  • 10 cups mixed greens such as endive, radicchio, baby kale, romaine or lettuces of your choice
  • 1 cup halved red grapes
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup blue cheese dressing or (to taste)

Method

1 Toast the walnuts: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. On a baking sheet, spread the walnuts. Toast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and toasty. Remove and let cool while you assemble the salad.

2 Assemble and toss the salad: Tear the greens into bite-size pieces. Wash and spin them dry (if not already washed), and place them in a salad bowl with the grapes. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Sprinkle the walnuts on top and serve.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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Side Salad Recipes - - colorful salad in a bowl with blue cheese dressingGrape and Walnut Side Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing