Delicious spinach and arugula salad with tomatoes, goat cheese, crunchy toppings and homemade balsamic vinaigrette is an easy recipe that’s ready in 10 minutes. Serve it with pasta, casseroles, pizza or soup for luncheons and dinner parties.
Here’s a tomato salad that isn’t caprese! And it’s quick and easy to make when you start with a bag of spinach and arugula mixed greens that are already washed and ready to use.
There’s so much flavor from a few simple ingredients and the homemade balsamic dressing is rich and delicious.
This is great in late summer when heirloom tomatoes are at their peak of flavor. But luckily you can buy them year round at the grocery store making this one of my go-to salad recipes for lots of occasions.
Why You’ll Love It
- This gourmet salad has everything: juicy, creamy, crunchy, tangy and sweet.
- It’s make-ahead and ready in about 10 minutes.
- Completes a meal for brunch, lunch or supper.
When to Serve It
- The combination of ingredients lend themselves well for an Italian dinner party with slow cooker spaghetti sauce or baked spaghetti.
- It’s a great accompaniment for a pizza party or a soup dinner party.
- It’s also light and flavorful for a ladies luncheon along with hot chicken salad.
- Salads are great for brunch parties too as they pair well with vegetarian goat cheese & roasted red pepper quiche or easy chicken quiche.
- This salad works for a bridesmaids luncheon or a baby shower menu.
- Serve it as an appetizer salad or a starter course for dinner party menus, or as a seasonal side dish. It’s great paired with beef, pasta, seafood and salmon.
PARTY TIP: Increase or decrease the ingredients as necessary to make enough to serve a crowd, or a smaller get-together.
How to Make It
The main ingredients naturally pair well together but what makes this recipe stand out is the addition of crunchy toasted almond slices, and crispy tortilla strips. Not to mention the dressing is thick and rich, sweet and tangy! Here’s the key ingredients.
- Tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes are best to use because they can be cut in half or quarters for the perfect bite. I like the colorful trio of red, yellow, and deep burgundy heirloom tomatoes. They look so pretty. Of course, if you have fresh tomatoes from the garden, by all means use those!
- Greens. I almost always start my salad with pre-packaged greens. It’s just such a time saver and easy! Use the spinach and arugula salad blend for it’s texture and taste. Spinach is mild and tender while arugula has peppery notes. It’s a great base for salad. Substitute with all fresh baby spinach if you like.
- Goat Cheese. The creamy texture and taste of this young cheese complements the salad beautifully. Substitute tiny mozzarella balls called bocconcini, or shaved parmesan, even feta if you like.
- Sliced Almonds. Nuts are essential to a great salad! In this case, sliced almonds are lightly toasted in the oven at 375 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes just to bring out the flavor and crunch. You can also use slivered almonds.
- Crispy Tortilla Strips. Find these in the salad toppings section of the grocery store. It may be in the fresh produce section or the salad dressing aisle. They are simply delicious on this salad and add savory crispy crunch to each bite.
- Balsamic vinaigrette. A well appointed kitchen always has the ingredients on hand to make this simple dressing. Extra Virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey are the key components with garlic, salt and pepper to season.
Prepare salad and dressing separately a couple of hours ahead and store in the refrigerator until it’s time to eat.
- Just assemble the greens and other ingredients in layers on a large platter or in a salad bowl.
- Drizzle on the dressing just before serving.
- Sprinkle on the almonds and tortilla strips last to keep them crisp and crunchy.
Instead of pouring the dressing over top, you can add some to the bottom of a large serving bowl, put the salad on top and then toss it all together to coat. Save the crunchy toppings for the last minute before serving.
Put dressing in a cruet and let guests pour their own.
PRO TIP: The ratio of salad to dressing is essential with all salads. Add the vinaigrette with a light hand. You can always add more or let your guests add more, but you can’t take it away once it’s added!
Substitutions & Additions
This salad is really terrific the way it is but if you want to add even more to it, here are some ideas to try.
- Pickled red onions
- Fresh herbs like basil, Italian parsley or cilantro
- Crisp crumbled bacon
- Shortcut with bottled dressing
- Baby Spinach & Arugula mix
- Cherry tomatoes
- 3 ounces Goat Cheese
- ¼ cup Sliced Almonds, toasted
- Crispy tortilla strip salad toppers
- ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed or minced
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon each, salt & pepper
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Make salad by layering spinach & arugula mix, tomatoes and goat cheese.
- Add all the ingredients EXCEPT OLIVE OIL into a small jar with a lid and whisk them together.
- Add the olive oil, replace the lid and shake vigorously until fully emulsified.
- Drizzle over salad when ready to serve.
- Top with almonds and tortilla strips.