Autumn Salads: Spinach with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto

Spinach, Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, Walnuts, Cranberries, Orange Vinaigrette

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we can’t have a salad. In fact, when the temperature drops, it’s even more important to eat vitamin and nutrient-rich vegetables. We might be craving stews and braises in the warmth of the kitchen, yet there is still a place for a salad on the menu. Fall salads are more robust than their summer counterparts. What they might lack for in heat, they make up in substance. Sturdy earthy greens, such as spinach, chicories, kale or radicchio, move into the salad bowl. Nuts and seeds add nutrients and heft. Dried fruit or seasonal pears, apples, persimmons and pomegranates add sweetness and color. Dressings become more rich and intense, with mustard, aged balsamic vinegar and garlic. Cheese and salume crown the salad, bringing a satisfying umami quality, as well as salt and extra protein. The variations are numerous, but you can be sure the results will be delicious and perfectly in season.

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries, Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto

Serves 2 to 4.

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 small garlic clove,  minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salad:
2 ounces prosciutto
8 ounces baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup walnut halves, lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Make the vinaigrette:
Whisk all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl. Add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until emulsified. Taste for seasoning.

Prepare the salad:
Heat oven to 350 F. Arrange the prosciutto in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool. Break in to shards.
Place the spinach, walnuts and cranberries in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing. Toss to combine. Add more dressing to desired taste and toss again. Arrange on serving plates. Crumble the goat cheese over the spinach, then scatter the prosciutto shards over the salad. Sprinkle with orange zest.

If you like this, you might enjoy these hearty salads:
Roasted Beets with Feta, Mint and Pistachios
Kale and Quinoa Salad
Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets, Wheat Berries and Goat Cheese

15 responses to “Autumn Salads: Spinach with Goat Cheese, Cranberries, Walnuts and Crispy Prosciutto

  1. You are so right about the salad and cold weather – I am guilty of this mistake, for some reason… I tend to reserve soup for winter and salad for summer.
    Not wise….

    beautiful salad, perfect flavors for the cooler weather….

  2. What a beautiful ode to fall salads, and I completely agree. These are some of my favorite salads.

  3. Gorgeous photography here. I have a hard time photographing salads and you’ve made this one look irresistable!

  4. A beautiful salad! This is one mouthwatering combination.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. Wonderful salad and a very royal setting and picture, in my opinion your best ever. Think I will paint it to hang up in the kitchen in France. Thank you. :)

  6. Fresh spinach is a perfect green for fall, with a touch more texture it has more heft than the carefree salads of summer. An enticing idea for dinner, especially with goat cheese and crispy prosciutto!

  7. Oh, dear.. if I’d eaten more of these sorts of salads, I might not be sick:) Lovely ingredients, especially the addition of orange! xx

  8. gorgeous gorgeous.. this is my favourite food.. and your photo is just perfect! enticing.. c

  9. I make the same old salad night after night, I need to shake things up a bit with a beauty like this one.

  10. Delicious combination of flavours! Mmm goat’s cheese.

  11. Pingback: Fall Dinner Party Ideas | Brownie Bites | Tales, Trips, Tastes, and Tinkers

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