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Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Fruit and Warm Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Source: Main Dish Salads
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Active Time:  15 Minutes
Total Time:  25 Minutes
  Serves 6
This hearty salad explodes with wonderfully heady aromas and flavors: the tangy richness of the bubbling-hot goat cheese, the intense fruitiness of dried cherries and apricots soaked in balsamic vinegar, and the sweet-spicy taste of the warm dressing.
For Dressing:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dried cherries
8 dried apricots, cut into 1/8-inch-wide slivers
1 teaspoon creamy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For Salad:
12 cups baby spinach leaves, thoroughly washed
1 pound fresh, creamy goat cheese, divided into 8 equal rounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
White pepper
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad with Dried Fruit and Warm Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe at
FOR DRESSING: Put the vinegar in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat until bubbles begin to appear around its edges. Remove the pan from the heat, add the dried cherries and apricots, cover, and let them steep 10 minutes.

Remove the fruits with a slotted spoon and set them aside. With a small fork or wire whisk, stir the mustard and honey into the pan of vinegar until blended. Stirring continuously over medium-low heat, pour in the oil in a thin, steady stream. Turn off the heat, return the dried fruit to the dressing and cover the pan.

Preheat the broiler.

FOR SALAD: Arrange the spinach leaves in beds on large individual serving plates.

Line a shallow baking dish large enough to hold all the cheese rounds with aluminum foil. Lightly coat each goat cheese round all over with some olive oil and place it on the foil. Sprinkle the cheese rounds lightly with salt and white pepper.

Put the cheese rounds under the broiler, keeping a close eye on them and removing them as soon as they begin to show signs of bubbling and melting, 1 to 2 minutes.

With a spatula, transfer 2 cheese rounds to each bed of spinach. With a large spoon, drizzle the warm dressing and dried fruit evenly over the cheese and spinach. Garnish with pecans and chives. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Reader's Digest. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 6
Calories: 571
Fat. Total: 51g
Fiber: 3g
Carbohydrates, Total: 13g
Sodium: 353mg
% Cal. from Fat: 80%
Cholesterol: 35mg
Protein: 17g
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