This salad was an absolute surprise. I neither expected nor imagined the intense flavor combination that could arise from these very few ingredients. Initially, I didn't have the highest hopes for this salad. Not that it was going to be awful, just that it wasn't going to be anything special. Not blog worthy. This past week, my friend had made a delicious salad with spinach, pears, onions, cranberries, feta, and hazelnuts. Inspired by her creation, I wanted to come up with something of my own, while still incorporating spinach as a base and her dressing recipe. My kitchen lacked anything substantial, besides a healthy serving of pumpkin seeds, a couple of blood oranges, and a pack of goat cheese. It was an eat-out type of week.
Me, lacking any real motivation to step outside into the brisk cold temperatures, decided to use the very few ingredients I owned and come up with something that was half-way decent for lunch. I completely surprised myself when I came up with a meal fit for a salad king.
The combination of flavors works remarkably well together. The pairing of goat cheese, olive oil, grain mustard, and spinach gives to a rich, savory, creamy mouthfeel. The bitterness of the blood orange pierces through the creaminess of the cheese, and the pumpkin seeds add to a wonderful crunch and a deliciously earthy flavor. What a perfect way to add brightness to a bitter cold Monday afternoon.
BLOOD ORANGE AND GOAT CHEESE SPINACH SALAD RECIPE (print)
makes 4 entree salads
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 blood oranges, peeled, segmented and halved
6 cups baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled
In a small jar with a lid, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt. Put the lid on the jar and shake. Set to the side.
Peel and segment the oranges. Cut the segments in half.
In a large bowl, add the spinach. Top with the orange pieces, pumpkin seeds, and then crumble the goat cheese on top. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.