Sweet grapes, candied walnuts, crisp greens, and nutty cheese are combined to make this tempting salad. (yes, I just called a salad tempting and I stand by that!) I like this salad so much, I will happily eat it twice a day whenever I have the ingredients in the house.
I made this Grape and Candied Walnut Salad for the first time over 4 years ago and was hooked from the first bite. The sweet fruit and nuts are balanced perfectly by the greens, the cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette. Within a few months, this was easily the most popular salad I could take to any event and it was frequently requested.
Despite the fact that September is almost soup weather for most of the country, we are still happily eating salads and light meals most days. I am beside myself with happiness because cooler weather is slowly creeping into my corner of the desert. Last night, the temperature actually dropped below 100°F. That’s a BIG deal in Phoenix. I won’t be putting away my shorts and t-shirts any time soon, but at least I’ll be able to open the windows for a breeze in the near future!
Out of all the salads we make, this is the all-time favorite for my boys and when given a choice, they will choose this salad every time. I just choose to ignore the obvious fact that they love the salad because it is basically made out of grapes and candy. What’s not to love?
- SALAD INGREDIENTS:
- 8 cups baby spinach or spring mix greens
- 2 cups red grapes sliced in half
- 1/2 cup candied walnuts see below
- 1-2 ounces pecorino romano cheese shaved into slivers
- 1/4 cup Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- CANDIED WALNUT INGREDIENTS:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups walnuts roughly broken into small-ish pieces
- TO MAKE THE SALAD:
- Combine the greens, grapes, walnuts, and cheese in a large bowl. Drizzle lightly with dressing, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
- TO MAKE CANDIED WALNUTS:
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan (not a non-stick variety), heat the water and sugar to boiling. When the sugar dissolves and the syrup reaches a boil, add the walnuts. Stir to coat and continue cooking over high heat until syrup is dissolved into a light brown liquid and coats the walnuts.
- Once the syrup is dissolved, pour out the candied nuts onto a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Work quickly to separate the nuts, using a couple of forks. They will be VERY hot. (Try not to burn your fingertips!) Let them cool completely before storing. Enjoy!
This recipe is hugely adaptable. Feel free to change it up however works best for your tastes. Depending on my mood, I may add slivers of red onion, or swap the grapes for fresh berries. Feta and gorgonzola cheese also work well with this salad. While it works great with both baby spinach and spring mix greens, I tend to use baby spinach most of the time. The above recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups of candied walnuts. You'll only need a small handful for this salad. Happy snacking!
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