A refreshing Blueberry Salad complete with freshly picked blueberries, sweet and spicy pecans, avocado and gorgonzola tossed in a balsamic dressing. This salad is light, satisfying, full of summer flavor and comes together in less than 15 minutes.
It’s not summer until we’ve picked blueberries at my mom’s home on Table Rock Lake near Branson, MO. This year Mark and I came back with a 10-pound bag! That’s a lot of blueberries for two people!
A Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Cake, blueberry coffee cake and a batch of homemade blueberry jam later, we were craving a fresh summer salad. Enter this blueberry salad.
What’s in this blueberry salad?
Mark and I are always looking for side dish recipes that are easy to make and versatile, and this blueberry salad with sweet and spicy pecans is both. It goes with grilled or oven-roasted Spatchcock chicken with ease.
In fact, there’s not much that it wouldn’t go with! It’s pretty quick to make: all you’ll need to do is whip up the balsamic dressing and slice the avocado and onion. If you are up to it you can make your own toasted sweet and spicy pecans.
Here’s what’s in this blueberry salad:
- Ripe blueberries (local, if possible!)
- Mixed baby greens (or any lettuce mix)
- Green onion or thinly sliced red onion
- Toasted pecans (or try making your own sweet and spicy pecans found in the recipe card). I have found that Trader Joe’s has a nice selection of toasted pecans and other nuts.
- Gorgonzola crumbles
- Balsamic vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Find the measurements in the recipe card and helpful tips for making balsamic vinaigrette below.
A clever tip to roasting pecans
Toasted Sweet and spicy pecans are a perfect addition to any salad – adding the right amount of crunch, sweet and spice. Courtesy of First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and President Joe Biden, this is my go-to recipe when I want to make my own sweet and spicy pecans. When I don’t have time to make my own, I keep on hand a package of Trader Joe’s Sweet and Spicy Pecans.
Have you ever roasted nuts with spices and been disappointed that the spices stay at the bottom of the bowl (instead of on the nuts)?
Recently I was inspired to try out a new method I’d read about from a recipe I found on the internet by our first lady Dr. Jill Biden.
Basically the secret is to use egg white to bind the spices onto the nuts.
And even better, it gives a fine crunchy coating, instead of the oily vibe you normally get from oil roasted nuts. So delish!
How to make balsamic vinaigrette dressing
The balsamic dressing is what carries this blueberry salad with mixed greens. The flavor is zesty and bright, tangy from the balsamic vinegar and balanced with a touch of maple syrup. Making balsamic dressing is easy, but it can be a challenge to get the perfect emulsion: that’s when the oil and vinegar combine into a creamy texture instead of separating.
Over the years, I’ve found a few tips for making a perfect emulsion:
- Use a medium-sized bowl to allow for enough movement of the whisk. Trust me on this one, I’ve done it in small bowls or jars and it’s almost impossible to get the oil and vinegar to meld and not separate.
- Whisk the ingredients by hand or use a hand blender. Start with the balsamic, Dijon mustard, and maple syrup.
- Add the olive oil slowly and gradually: I typically add it tablespoon by tablespoon and whisk in between until the oil fully incorporates. If using a hand blender you can add slowly a steady stream of oil.
Blueberry Salad Recipe Inspiration
Picking your own blueberries is a fun way to create your own farm to kitchen dish. Each July, when my family and my brother’s family gather at my mom’s place on Table Rock Lake in Southwest Missouri we make sure a Persimmon Hill Farm visit is on the group activity list.
The farm began several decades ago when Martha and Earnie fulfilled their dream of starting a berry farm that would also be a destination, where families could come for a farm experience as well as great berries and fruits.
The blueberries hang like clusters of grapes from six-foot tall bushes. Our reward after picking blueberries is to dine on the farm’s famous hot Thunder Muffins and cinnamon rolls – all bursting with ripe blueberries baked right in.
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Blueberry Salad with Sweet & Spicy Pecans
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Blueberry Salad Ingredients
- ½ cup ripe blueberries local, if possible!
- 2.5 ounces mixed baby greens or any lettuce mix
- ½ avocado sliced
- 3 green onions or thinly sliced red onion
- 2 ounces Gorgonzola crumbles
- Toasted pecans store bought or use the recipe below
Sweet and Spicy Pecans (optional)
- 1 large egg white
- 2 cups unsalted pecan halves
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Make the Balsamic Vinaigrette. See the section above: How To Make Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (For the nutrition analysis, I’ve calculated 1 tablespoon dressing per serving. I recommend making the entire dressing recipe and saving leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature prior to serving.)
Sweet and Spicy Pecans (or purchase at your neighborhood grocery store).
- Preheat the oven to 250° F. Separate the egg yolk from the egg white. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl until foamy. Add the nuts, sugar, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon salt and toss together until nuts are coated. Spread the nut mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the nuts are mostly dry but still slightly sticky, this will take about 40 minutes.
- With hot pads, remove the nuts from the oven. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula stir the nuts. We want to make sure all sides will get nice and crispy. Reduce the temperature to 200° F. Return the nuts to the oven and bake until crisp,about 30 more minutes. Using a wooden spoon or spatula loosen the nuts from the baking sheet; cool completely on the sheet. You can store the nuts in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to a month. A reminder to bring the nuts to room temperature before serving.
Assemble the salad
- Wash the blueberries. Thinly slice red onion or green onions.
- Place the greens on plates, then top with blueberries, onion, avocado, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, and pecans. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.
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Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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