This delicious, healthy Arugula Roasted Grape Salad makes a wonderful side or a fabulous main dish served with chicken, shrimp, salmon.
This Arugula Roasted Grape Salad is an attempt to redeem myself. Or at least to step up my act a bit.
One day last week after lunch Scott asked me a question that made me laugh. It's actually a little embarrassing, but we're friends, right? He didn't say it in an angry or critical tone of voice, just a casual question; "I wonder what your readers would think if they knew how many times a week we ate hot dogs".
Yikes! The very next morning this food blogger got busy in the kitchen and when lunch came around, I served him this delicious Arugula Roasted Grape Salad.
To my defense, they're not really "hot dogs", but rather various varieties of chicken sausage. I particularly like the ones that Costco and Trader Joes carries. With 110 calories and 12-14 grams of protein, they're very satisfying and keep us from snacking a lot between meals. I serve them with eggs for breakfast and wrapped in crispy tortillas for lunch. With a little side of fresh fruit, we've got a quick, tasty, low calorie, sustaining meal. After all, we have to save calories for all the taste-testing we do, right? I'm still laughing about his "hot dog"statement, but I have been trying to change things up for him.
I've made this Arugula Roasted Grape Salad several times now and it's evolved a bit each time. The first version didn't include apples, but I decided a nice crisp, red-skinned apple adds a delicious crunch and makes the presentation so pretty. I wanted an autumn-inspired dressing and after a few tweaks, this Maple Poppyseed Dressing won the taste-tests. It's a simple blender dressing with just a few ingredients: garlic, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, white balsamic vinegar and oil.
Candied pumpkin seeds make a crazy delicious topping for this Arugula Roasted Grape Salad. The recipe is a sweet and spicy adaptation from my Easy Candied Pecans with a pinch of cayenne pepper for just a touch of heat. You can view the pecan video here to see how easy these pumpkin seeds are to make. The pumpkin seeds (or pecans) will last for weeks in an airtight storage container, so make plenty. You can enjoy them now and all though the upcoming season on salads, yogurt, oatmeal and as a simply delicious little snack.
Yes! If you've never tried roasted grapes, you're going to flip over what a wonderful touch they add. I love a salad that's a bit out of the ordinary and the roasted grapes definitely take this one into the extraordinary realm! They're easy to do; just toss a cup or two of seedless grapes with a splash of both olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small pan. Add a pinch of sugar and pop them in a hot oven. It only takes about 10 minutes for the grapes to roast and become sweetly caramelized. I like to serve them warm in my salad, but they're also delicious at room temperature.
Nutritional benefits of pomegranates
When pomegranates are in season, I almost always include them in my salads. They make a gorgeous presentation and are just loaded with great nutrition. Pomegranates are low in calories and a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. They also have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which protect your cardiovascular system and help fight cancer. Studies have also been done which show that the juice of pomegranates can help lower blood pressure. Go poms!
How do you get the seeds out of the seeds?
You don't! I've been asked numerous times how you extract the little seeds from the arils. Some people eat them like you would a cherry, spitting out the seeds. But these seeds are so tiny, that would be a major pain. Think of pomegranate arils like blackberries which have lots of little seeds. You just eat blackberries right? Same with pom seeds. They actually add a nice little crunch to salads, kind of like a tiny nut or other type of edible seed. If you absolutely can't stand the texture of whole pomegranate arils, just skip them. You can get the same wonderful nutritional pomegranate benefits with the delicious ruby red juice.
Intimidated by pomegranates?
I used to be intimated by pomegranates. Getting those beautiful jeweled seeds out seemed to be such a messy pain. If I wanted to include them in a salad or some other dish, I'd usually go to the grocery and purchase the seeds themselves in a little plastic carton. But "ouch"! It's ridiculously expensive to purchase them that way when the whole fruit can be purchased for a fraction of the price.
Then one day, a number of years ago, I discovered a super-easy, non-messy way to de-seed a pomegranate. I've showed this technique to tons of people over the years and most everyone is shocked when they see it done. So I did a little tutorial; The Easy Way to Remove Pomegranate Seeds. Check it out! You'll be shocked too!
Café Tips for making and serving this Arugula Roasted Grape Salad.
- Feel free to vary the components of this salad. Don't like arugula? Use spinach, baby kale or field greens instead. If you don't have pomegranate seeds or grapes, the salad is also delicious with just apples or with just pom seeds and grapes or with whatever combination suits your fancy.
- Both the dressing and the candied pumpkin seeds can be made several days in advance, making this salad easy to throw together at the last minute.
- The dressing recipe will make more than you need for this Arugula Roasted Grape Salad; but it's delicious on any kind of green or fruit salad. You could also drizzle it over grilled or pan-seared chicken.
- Although the candied pumpkin seeds recipe includes a bit of cayenne, they aren't very spicy. If you like more heat, add more cayenne. If you don't like any heat, just skip it.
- The Candied Pumpkin Seeds recipe will make more than you need. Extras are delicious on oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream and they're great to nibble on as a snack.
- Grapes of any color can be roasted, but the color tends to fade a bit in the oven so the black (really a deep purple color) look prettier after roasting.
- I like to look for smaller black grapes, but if only large ones are available, just cut them in half.
- The roasted grapes can be made a couple hours ahead and warmed again just before serving.
- A fun way to serve this salad is to bring it to the table with all of the components separated in the bowl.
- Then drizzle the Roasted Grape Salad lightly with the dressing and toss!
So there you have it. My delicious answer to Scott's observation. I just hope he doesn't say "I wonder what your readers would think if they knew how many times a week we ate this Roasted Grape Arugula Salad". It's my signature salad for the season and I plan to serve it fairly frequently in the months to come!
A delicious, beautiful fall salad that's also loaded with great nutrition. Serve it with chicken, shrimp, salmon for a fabulous complete meal!
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 cups black grapes
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 1 large red crisp apple cored and cut in bite-size slices
- ⅓ cup pomegranate arils or seeds
- roasted grapes (above)
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- Maple Poppyseed Dressing see recipe below
- ½ cup Candied Pumpkin Seeds see recipe below
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a sheet pan with foil. Set aside.
Combine dried cranberries and water in a microwave-safe bowl or cup. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and set aside.
For the roasted grapes, combine grapes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sugar on prepared sheet pan. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until shiny and glazed.
Arrange arugula on a large platter or salad bowl. Top with the apples, craisins, pomegranate arils, roasted grapes and goat cheese. Drizzle lightly with Maple Poppyseed Dressing. Scatter with the Candied Pumpkin Seeds.
Nutritional information for the salad does not include dressing or candied pumpkin seeds. See those values below in the individual recipes.
A delicious salad dressing that's perfect with any type of greens or fruit. It's also wonderful drizzled over chicken, shrimp or salmon!
- 2 medium cloves garlic finely minced
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Place all ingredients except oils and poppy seeds in a blender container and blend till smooth.
With blender on low speed, slow add the two oils.
Transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid. Add poppyseeds and shake well. Shake again before serving.
This dressing can also be made without a blender. Just combine everything in a jar and shake well. It won't be as creamy but the flavor will still be delicious!
These Easy Candied Pumpkin Seeds are delicious on salads, yogurt, oatmeal and make a great cocktail nibble and delicious snack.
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and place on a work surface. Spray two spoons (regular table size spoons) with cooking spray. Set aside
Combine sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and water in a small bowl. Stir well.
Combine sugar mixture and pumpkin seeds in a small sauté pan and stir with a heat resistant spatula to coat the nuts. Stir continuously for another 8-10 minutes or until deep golden brown and shiny. (When you see the pumpkin seeds get a grainy coating of sugar, keep going. The sugar will then begin to melt and coat the seeds and then will darken in color.) Watch the pan carefully near the end, you want the seeds a nice deep golden brown but not burned.
Turn out onto prepared foil. With the two oiled spoons, spread nuts apart and separate into small clumps. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.