Today we’re talking about oil and vinegar.
And how it can take your salad from blah to extraordinary!
So last weekend I had lunch with one of my best friends, Erin. We’ve known each other since high school. She’s actually getting married this June, so whenever we get together our conversations are mostly about super exciting wedding things! I offered to throw her a bridal shower, which is next month. I’ve been Pinteresting away and I will definitely do a post about her bridal shower food and decor!
Anyway, we ate at this little restaurant called Cafe Express– where I had a large coffee plus an out of this world chicken spinach salad with walnuts and goat cheese. I knew I wanted to recreate this salad for my work lunch. After we ate, we walked around the shops and stopped at one of my favorite stores, Oil & Vinegar. Let me tell you– this is a store for a foodie. I could spend hours in there. (Note: this is not a sponsored post, I just love the store!)
The store is FULL of flavor-infused oils– garlic, lemon, orange, Italian spice, chili infused olive oil, grapeseed, avocado, truffle, and walnut oil. There is also a full selection of flavor infused vinegars, which are my personal fav. Raspberry, strawberry, champagne, peach, blackberry, lavender, elderflower, hibiscus, mango, pomegranate, it’s seriously endless.
One of the ladies who was working that day shared with me the secret for a perfect salad dressing: two parts vinegar, one part oil, plus salt and pepper. Some of their flavored vinegars are so tasty that you barely need any S&P. I bought a big bottle of walnut oil, and a small one of raspberry vinegar.
Walnut oil has a rich, nutty flavor that is perfect for salad dressings. You can also use it to flavor fish, steaks, or toss with pasta. It’s best used uncooked or in cold sauces, because when it’s heated, it becomes slightly bitter. Of all the varieties of nuts, walnuts have the highest concentration of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid.
Walnuts and walnut oil are also rich in antioxidants, and can have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. The best thing about omega-3’s are that they significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer!
I chose raspberry vinegar to go with my walnut oil, because raspberries and walnuts go so well together for some reason. You could also use strawberry vinegar, peach, champagne. The nuttiness of the walnut oil just tastes great with any type of fruity vinegar.
For one big bowl of salad, I used 2 teaspoons of raspberry vinegar + 1 teaspoon of walnut oil + a few cranks of sea salt and fresh black pepper.
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 cup unsalted walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup chickpeas
- 2 teaspoons raspberry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon walnut oil
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Combine all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and mix well.