Did you all have a good weekend?  Mine was full to the brim with good things.  Lots of fun time with the kids, nice weather for playing outside, a beautiful wedding of a friend of many years, and time cooking with some other great friends.  Oh, and there was lots of great food, including this salad.  It was definitely a highlight, even amongst all that goodness.  So much so that I couldn’t wait even a few days to share it with you.

A few weeks ago I attended a dinner for work and ordered a starter salad similar to this.  Rarely if ever is the salad the highlight of my meal, but that evening it was.  I have been wanting to recreate it at home ever since, so this weekend I finally made it happen.  As much as I loved the restaurant version, this was way better.  In fact, this is the new reigning favorite salad in my world – kind of a big deal.  The fresh blackberries, blackberry vinaigrette, creamy goat cheese and spiced nuts are each fairly simple elements but they combine to make a pretty extraordinary salad.  If you can find honey goat cheese in your store, I highly recommend using it.  It’s kind of amazing.  I predict more future recipes highlighting this fabulous cheese…oh yes, I do.


For the dressing: 

  • 6 oz. fresh blackberries, rinsed
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1½ tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the spiced nuts: 

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

To assemble: 

  • Mixed salad greens
  • 2 oz. honey goat cheese
  • About 6 oz. fresh blackberries
  • Thinly sliced vidalia onion


  • 01

    To make the dressing, place the berries in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.  Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out as much fruit puree as possible while removing the seeds.  In a liquid measuring cup or jar, combine the blackberry puree with the vinegar, honey, and olive oil.  Whisk vigorously until the mixture is well blended and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Chill until ready to use.

  • 02

    To make the spiced nuts, melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste.  Allow the mixture to heat for about 1 minute, then stir in the chopped nuts.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly toasted, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

  • 03

    To serve, plate portions of salad greens on salad plates.  Top with crumbled goat cheese, fresh blackberries, vidalia onion and the spiced nuts as desired.  Drizzle lightly with the blackberry vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.

  • sahira

    This looks so good! I just wish I could find blackberries in Paris

  • Tasha Fontenot

    Sounds good. And very similar to one I make…..mixed lettuce, blackberries, Feta cheese, purple onion and walnuts with a poppy seed dressing.
    We love salads and will be trying yours.

  • HalfBakedHarvest

    So pretty. I am loving this salad! Blackberries are some of my favorites berries!

  • So simple and lovely!! Yum!

  • bwinkler

    Looks so delicious! I tried honey goat cheese once and loved it–what a great combination with the blackberries. Can’t wait to try it!

  • sweet phi

    Oh this looks absolutely amazing! I love adding fruit and berries to salads. I will definitely need to try this asap!

  • Caroline L.

    I’m hunting down all sorts of salad “recipes” for the summer – I can’t handle eating anything else in the heat! This looks perfect!

  • What a perfect summer salad. I’m so glad it shared it right away!

  • Ann

    Would frozen blackberries work with this recipe?

  • Just so happen to have leftover blackberry puree and berries from a drink I made this weekend. Gonna pick up some goat cheese this afternoon- and this is totally happening for lunch this week!

  • This looks amazing. Also, major kudos for posting while studying for boards. Good luck!

  • annieseats

    It’s best with fresh, so while they would technically work, I wouldn’t recommend them.

  • disqus_VmC2D9oBAk

    Delicious! My perfect meal!

  • tigerlille

    OMG!!! This looks fabulous, like an upscale dinner served at Flopsy, Mopsy & Cottontail’s house! (Remember, Peter, who was naughty, was sent to bed without dinner, but Flopsy, Mopsy, & Cottontail, who were good little rabbits, feasted on blackberries and cream? This is storybook food! Can’t wait to recreate it.)

  • Too good to be true- a definite addition to my make-this-summer list :) I love how everything – like the dressing and spiced nuts – are made from scratch… Thanks for the recipe!!

  • I love salads like this. Your blackberry dressing sounds fantastic, perfect for using any type of fruit. My favorite salads always consist of goat cheese and candied pecans. I make my pecans a bit different but I think I’ll try your version next time – they sound tasty!

  • Loved this salad! Couldn’t find the honey goat cheese, but still delicious with the regular. Had some leftover prime rib, so added some, thinly sliced, for a main dish. Strawberry orange muffins rounded out a perfect meal.

  • Denise Wesely

    The first thing to greet me when I went to my local Kroger store this afternoon was fresh blackberries…..ON SALE. And I even found the honey goat cheese and it was not expensive at all like I expected. Guess what we’re having tonight with our scalloped chicken and noodles. Cannot wait!

  • nessa

    This looks delish and healthy too! Could I omit the nuts if I’m allergic?

  • Lauren Ochoa

    Oh wow that looks amazing. I made dark chocolate layer cake with salted caramel buttercream cake for my husband’s birthday a few days ago and I’m in the process of making lemon layer cake with vanilla buttercream and mac and cheese bites for my daughter’s 5th birthday tomorrow. Needless to say, I’m ready for some of your lighter fare for the next few weeks!

  • Tori

    Hi Annie!

    I’m having trouble subscribing to your website. Can you help?

  • annieseats

    Click the RSS icon at the top of the page (next to the Facebook, Pinterest, etc. buttons). Then just go from there. Hope that helps!

  • annieseats

    Sure. Enjoy :)

  • This was amazing! I actually found some honey goat cheese at Aldi which was pleasantly surprising. I served this with your Island Chicken; we grilled it because we were running low on time and that worked out great! I wish I had a fancy dinner to serve this at, but I will be happy to eat it for lunch for the next few days :)

  • annieseats

    Ha! That is awesome. Upscale Peter Rabbit :)

  • Jacki C.

    Made this last night for dinner. We loved it! I used balsamic vinegar in the dressing to eliminate the need for honey and regular goat cheese instead of the honeyed variety. Will definitely make again–this is a great summer salad!

  • marcie @ flavor the moments

    This salad looks so incredible and very special! I can’t get enough blackberries lately, so this salad would really help me out there. The dressing and spiced nuts just put this over the top!

  • ullatrulla

    This sounds so yummi!! I really like your blog, Anni. A fan from Germany, ullatrulla ;-)

  • Sonja / A Couple Cooks

    I have been meaning to mention, this salad is to die for! The combination of the honey goat cheese and spiced nuts is just perfect. Thanks for making it for us :)

  • Sue

    I shared the pic of this recipe with my 21 year old daughter & she was psyched for the day I was going to make it! It became the first recipe in my light summer recipe series (light as in more veggies, less fat, & no oven heat).

    I was intent on using blackberries as the recipe calls for, but since blueberries were on sale…..I took a risk & made it with them. It turned out fabulous! So far I have made 4 light summer recipes & this is the hands down favorite. What is even more surprising is that my hamburger & pizza loving 17 year old son really enjoyed it!

    Thanks for a fantastic recipe Annie!

    & blog for that matter…so many of the “new” recipes I try for my family come from you!

  • annieseats

    Glad to hear it was such a hit! I also made it with blueberries when I ran out of blackberries and loved it that way too. I still prefer the blackberries but at least it’s nice to have the flexibility!

  • Mary Hoback

    This was one of the best salads I have ever made! My husband declared it the prettiest, as well as the most delicious salad he had ever tasted. Used regular goat cheese, otherwise made as written. Absolutely wonderful!

  • Just made this salad this evening with my daughter who is an lover of what she calls fancy salads. We used regular goat cheese, added diced nectarines, along with the blackberries, to the plate and simply toasted our pecans. Still awesome! That dressing is the best!

  • Meg

    Made this salad last night after being reminded of it in your Best of 2013 post. It is delicious! I love the dressing. I can’t eat nuts, so I omitted those, which made this an even faster salad to throw together. I paired this salad with 4-way Cincinnati-style chili for all the boys in my house watching the football game last night. Odd pairing but it worked for us. And my seconds were definitely of this salad. Thanks for another great recipe!