This beautiful Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad is super healthy and probably the freshest, most delicious salad that you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting... or eating! It's perfect for a crowd, great for parties, potlucks and picnics!
This past weekend was delightful as our niece and nephew, Hilary and Steve visited us here in the North Carolina mountains. Both of them are great chefs and, we found out recently, are interested in starting a food blog. It was a wonderful time to reconnect as well as teach them a bit about photography and the ins and outs of this crazy blogging world. On Saturday, Steve created a fabulous herb salad for a photoshoot lesson from Scott. We enjoyed his beautiful salad for dinner that evening, but there was a lot of leftover produce and fresh herbs. The result is this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad, unique from Steve's salad creation, but definitely "Steve-inspired"!
I love to have a signature, "go-to" salad for each season and I've already decided that this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad will be my Spring/Summer 2021 salad. It feeds a crowd, so it will be great for get-togethers with family and friends, potlucks, picnics, parties... (All those events we sadly missed last year!)
If you don't have a crowd to serve, this recipe can be easily halved for a smaller group. And it makes great leftovers! We shot this salad early in the day, then popped it in the fridge (without dressing) and enjoyed it for dinner that evening. Fabulous!
What kind of herbs should I use?
This Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad calls for 2½ cups of fresh herbs. I used basil, cilantro, dill, mint, Italian parsley and tarragon (only because I had all those herbs leftover from Steve's salad). Feel free to use as many or as few varieties as you'd like. Pick one or a few of your favorite herbs or the herbs you have on hand.
This would also be an amazing salad to make in the summer when the herb garden is overflowing and you're not sure what to do with the abundance of culinary loot. We're a little limited when it comes to an herb garden as we live in the middle of a mountain forest, so there's not a lot of sunshine. Scott solved that problem for me though with a Veg Trug.
We grow an abundance of herbs in the trug as it's placed in the one sunny area of our yard. And there's a cold frame available to keep the herbs growing in the cooler months.
Another solution for keeping fresh herbs on hand is as simple as a sunny window inside your home. I have basil growing in my sunny dining room window all year long. I just buy a pretty plant at the grocery store, then pop it in a decorative pot and keep it well watered. Every couple of weeks, Scott gives the basil a dose of fertilizer and then it really goes crazy. I like that many of the leaves stay fairly small so they're perfect for garnishing or for salads like this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad.
The tiny purple pansies (also called violas or Johnny-jump-ups) in this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad are totally optional, but add a really pretty accent. They're also edible! Yes, all varieties of pansies are edible. Here in North Carolina, pansies can be planted in the fall and they'll bloom for much of the winter and then go crazy in spring. They're fun to use as a garnish for cakes, desserts, soups, salads appetizers, even cookies!
The Honey Mustard Lemon Dressing for this salad is fresh, sweet and tangy and is super easy to put together. Simply combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, whole grain dijon mustard, a splash of lemon juice and salt/pepper in a mason jar and shake, shake, shake. That's it! I like this dressing so much that I make a double batch as it's delicious on all sorts of other salads too.
Easy Candied Pecans, the crowning glory!
If you haven't tried our Easy Candied Pecans, you're missing out on something incredibly delicious and, as the name implies, SO easy to make. Just in case you don't believe that these fabulous pecans could really be that easy, we've created a video to demonstrate just that:
These candied pecans add a delicious crunch and gourmet touch to this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad and are also great for gifting (there's a pretty free label available), snacking and can be served as a cocktail nibble.
Need a delicious break from the ordinary in your salad repertoire? Gather up some blueberries, arugula, herbs, cucumbers and any other ingredients you might be missing and put this amazing Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad together asap! It may very well become your "go-to" salad too!
Cafe Tips for making this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad
- Do take the time to use the "quick pickle" technique for the red onions given in the recipe. You'll need to plan ahead a bit as it will take at least 30-45 minutes for the onions to transform from ordinary to a beautiful magenta hue. It looks fancy, but it simply involves slicing the onions then placing them in a jar with vinegar, water and a bit of sugar. Shake well and then let the vinegar do the magic!
- The pickled red onions can be made up to 24 hours in advance. The longer they sit in the vinegar solution, the more vibrant the color becomes!
- As mentioned above, feel free to use any herb or combination of herbs in this salad. If your herb garden is in full swing, go crazy! But it will also be delicious with just basil, just cilantro, etc.
- The dressing recipe will probably make more than you need for this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad, but it's great for just about any salad with greens and is also delicious drizzled over grilled chicken, shrimp, pork...
- The Honey Mustard Lemon Dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated. If it looks cloudy when you remove it from the fridge, it just means that the olive oil has gotten cold and solidified a bit. Just let the dressing sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes and it will clear up.
- This salad is delicious with crumbled goat cheese, but not every loves goat cheese so I like to serve it on the side with the dressing so guests can help themselves, as desired.
- This salad calls for seedless cucumbers. These are also called European, hothouse or seedless cucumbers. You'll usually fine them wrapped in plastic wrap in the produce section.
- For a decorative presentation, run a fork down the sides of the cucumber before slicing. It makes them look really pretty, almost like flowers.
- I used a small amount of torn radicchio in my salad as I love the flavor and pretty color it adds. Radicchio is commonly used in Italian cuisine and has a slightly bitter, delicately spicy flavor. It can be difficult to find, so feel free to omit it. If you enjoy radicchio, however, it is a delightful and beautiful addition, so take the time to seek it out.
- Feel free to omit the pansies or use another type of edible flower. Common edible flowers are chives, leek and garlic flowers, Nasturtiums, Marigolds, Honeysuckle, Chamomile, Day Lily and squash blossoms.
Thought for the day:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
- 1 small red onion halved and sliced into thin slivers
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2½ tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 5 ounces baby arugula
- 2½ cups fresh herb leaves
- ½ small head radicchio torn in bite-size pieces (optional)
- ½ medium seedless cucumber usually plastic-wrapped
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup Easy Candied Pecans or to taste
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese optional
- pansies or other edible flowers for garnish optional
Combine all ingredients in a medium-size glass jar and shake well. Let the jar sit at room temperature, giving the jar a shake every now and then, for at least 30 minutes. The onions can also be made 24 hours in advance and refrigerated. The longer they sit in the vinegar solution, the more vibrant the color becomes. Drain the onion slivers well before adding to the salad.
Combine all ingredients in a medium-size glass jar and shake, shake, shake! That’s it. Dressing can be kept at room temperature for several hours then refrigerate for longer storage. Shake again before serving.
Combine all ingredients except for the blueberries, candied pecans, goat cheese and pansies (if using) in a large bowl and gently toss. Top with blueberries, candied pecans, goat cheese and pansies (if using). Serve the dressing on the side.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips.
Nutritional information does include the goat cheese, but not the Candied Pecans. See that post for its nutrition.