Do you ever feel stuck with what to bring to a dinner party? Here’s my secret. Instead of trying to come up with something creative for every single party, I bring the same thing: this salad. I usually have all the ingredients lying around my kitchen because I am making it so often! It is my go-to party dish and one that pleases a diverse set of palates.
The shallots and almonds give the salad an extra crunch, while the lemon juice, honey, and dried cranberries sweeten it up just the right amount. Of course, (in my mind that is) no salad is complete without avocado. Goat cheese is a delicious, creamy cheese that most people who cannot tolerate dairy are able to enjoy. Arugula is one of my favorite greens with is subtle spicy flavor.
I started making my own salad dressings a couple years ago. Once I started, I now never buy a pre-made bottle. What you can whip up at home in a relatively short amount of time will always be healthier than pre-made dressing on a grocery store shelf.
For the dressing, dice up the garlic and onion, placing in a small mixing bow. Add in the honey, lemon juice, and olive oil. Top with salt and pepper. Mix dressing with a fork and set aside. I like to cool it down in the fridge while I compile the rest of the salad. Or, if I am going out it’s nice have the dressing finished before I am ready to leave for the night. That way, I am not scrambling to get out the door, putting together a salad at the last second.
Assembling the rest of the salad is pretty quick. Add the arugula into a large salad bowl. Top with dried cranberries, cubed avocado, and sliced almonds. Crumble the goat cheese on top. Pour dressing over the salad and toss. If you are taking this salad to a social gathering, I would recommend waiting to dress it until you get there. The arugula will get soggy if it is left dressed and uneaten for too long.
I’ve also added grilled salmon or chicken to this salad which adds awesome flavor and protein if you’re looking to make this dish as a main course.
What is your go to dinner party dish? Share your recipe with me!
Dinner Party Salad with Avocado, Cranberry, Almonds, Goat Cheese and Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette
4 cups of organic arugula (about 1 box/bag)
1/4 cup of goat cheese crumbles
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. of honey
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 clove of garlic
Dash of salt and pepper
*For the dressing:
*Dice shallot and garlic. Place into a small bowl
*Add olive oil, salt, pepper, honey, and the juice of 1 lemon
*Place arugula, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds in a large salad bowl. Adjust proportions if necessary
*Cut avocado into small cubes and add to salad
*Top salad with clumps of goat cheese
*Pour the dressing and toss salad