Spinach salad with blueberry balsamic vinaigrette

I love salads. Mixed baby greens are generally what I go for, but I can never get enough of spinach. That tasty bitterness can go with almost anything. I also like blueberries. Fresh, tasty blueberries. And good balsamic vinegar. Check that out, I’ve pretty much just built this salad in front of you– With my mind!. I’m like some kind of mental architect… but with food. Let’s take this from the drawing board into reality.

Pay attention folks, in a couple weeks I'm going to turn this into a grilled cheese sandwich. And it will be glorious (I know, because I actually had one already!)

Spinach salad with blueberry balsamic vinaigrette

I’ve made this salad a few different ways and have come to find that less is more. If you try to drag too many things into this, the richness of the ingredients becomes diluted. Spinach, balsamic vinegar, and blueberries is really all you need. OK, so I added some pecans into it this time and I think that was a good move. But apart from that, nothing else is needed. Don’t let me stop you trying to improve upon it though. I’d love for someone to tell me that it’s better with, oh, I don’t know, sliced strawberries added. (Which could probably work really well, someone please do that and let me know:) )

As far as a salad dressings go, this one is unusual in that it has almost no oil. I know that a vinaigrette without oil is a bit odd, but it just works. I’ve made this a couple times and one time I accidentally left out the olive oil… to my surprise it made it better. It was less watered down and richer in flavor–the blueberries really had more chance to shine through.

I'm not even sure I can call this a vinaigrette, it's pretty much just balsamic vinegar and blueberries. It's delicious though.

Spinach salad with blueberry balsamic vinaigrette

Spinach salad with blueberry balsamic vinaigrette
Makes enough for two or three salads.
1/2 cup blueberries plus extra
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsps olive oil

1. Place a medium skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add a splash of olive oil (about a tsp or two) and the blueberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a few of the blueberries start to split open. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir and cook until it just begins to simmer. During the cooking, crush the blueberries using the back of a fork or a potato masher.
2. Allow it to reach a bare simmer for about 45 seconds then remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. It should have slightly thickened.
3. Put some spinach on a plate, spoon the warm vinaigrette over it. Don’t worry about removing the blueberry skins, they are fine. Sprinkle with a few extra fresh blueberries and some crushed pecans.

*Bonus addition that wasn’t pictured: grilled chicken. My roommate found some grilled chicken strips that I made earlier in the week and tossed them on his salad. It worked out really well. I even ate a piece of grilled chicken just dragged through some extra balsamic and it was fantastic. I may make this again just to serve with chicken!

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