This healthy salad bursts with flavor. It features delicious ingredients Washington is well known for including: lettuce, kale, dried cherries, almond slices, red onion and Gorgonzola cheese. It’s all married together with a zesty sesame ginger vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar.
Combine the salad with some grilled chicken or shrimp and it makes a full meal. This recipe is enough salad for four side dishes or two large salads. Washington state is home to the beautiful Cascade mountain range. We’re fortunate that within about an hour and a half drive, we can be in a mountain playground offering skiing, hiking, camping and biking activities (just to name a few). Washington is also well known for it’s cherries and pears. Dried cherries are great in salads. They are slightly sweet-tart. I’d describe them as a little sweeter in flavor than Craisins, but similar. I used a Bosch pear, but Anjou would be great too.
I recently had a similar salad at a local ski resort. I loved the balsamic dressing I had on my mixed green salad that day. It had a hint of sesame flavor and gave the salad a slight Asian flair. I decided to come home and try to make something similar to it. This was the result and hence the name cascade salad.
Have you tried Gorgonzola cheese before? It’s a veined Italian blue cheese from the area near Milan. It’s made from cow’s milk and has a strong “bite” to it, but also a buttery, slightly salty flavor. It’s a great addition to any cheese plate. It tastes great with this salad. If you are pursuing a more plant-based lifestyle, simply leave the cheese off.
You can store the sesame ginger vinaigrette in a jar and keep it in the fridge up to four – five days. Bring the dressing to room temperature before using and shake it up. I hope you enjoy this salad. Let me know if you try it in the comments below.
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Useful kitchen tools for this recipe:
Sunrise Fresh Dried Fruit Company No Sugar Added Dried Dark Sweet Cherries, 16 oz. Bag
SUNBEST Sliced Almonds, Sliced Raw Almonds, Unsalted 1 Lb in Resealable Bag, Kosher Certified
Gorgonzola Dolce – 1 Pound
Tamari Soy Sauce, Wheat Free, Organic, 10 oz
Cascade salad with sesame ginger vinaigrette
A zesty sesame ginger vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar goes great with this mixed greens and kale salad topped with dried cherries, almond slices, red onion and Gorgonzola cheese.
- 5 oz baby spring mix lettuce
- 3 oz kale
- 1 pear (peel and cut into bite sized pieces)
- 4 tbsp red onion (diced)
- 1 medium-large carrot (shredded)
- 1/2 cup almond slices
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese (crumbles)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp Tamari or soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp juice from a navel orange
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger (peeled and minced)
- 1 tsp dried thyme (3 tsp if fresh thyme)
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse, dry and prep all the ingredients except the cheese, and set aside in a large salad bowl. Prepare the vinaigrette as below. Toss the salad in desired amount of dressing. It should be well coated but not too wet. Top the salad with the cheese and serve.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well blended. Store any left-over salad dressing in a jar in the fridge up to 4-5 days. Allow the salad dressing to come to room temperature, and then re-emulsify.
Tamari is gluten-free soy sauce.
I recommend using a ripe bosch or anjou pear.
Serve with grilled chicken or shrimp for a hearty meal.