Home » Recipes » Salads & Dressings » Summer Berry Salad With Candied Almonds & Goat Cheese

Summer Berry Salad With Candied Almonds & Goat Cheese

posted July 5, 2022
by Cassandra Morris
This perfect, mouthwatering summer berry salad is loaded with fresh fruit and toppings. This salad is light, refreshing and always a crowd-pleaser!

Call me obsessed, but anytime I get to add berries to a dish, I’ll do it. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re juicy, bite-sized and rich in antioxidants! Plus, they bring back all of those happy childhood memories of snacking on blackberries by the pool with my family.

This summer berry salad is loaded with blueberries, blackberries, arugula, cucumbers, avocados, goat cheese and sugared almonds. Sweet, refreshing and just a hint of balsamic vinegar to top it off! It is the perfect side dish to go with a seafood or red meat dish. 

Recipe Ingredients

Let me preface this by saying that this berry salad is extremely flexible when it comes to ingredients. So if you can’t find a specific berry or cheese, it’s okay! I’m going to share some variations in another section (see Variations and Mix-ins). 

  • Blueberries and blackberries: It’s not every day you see a salad with a dark blue or black hue. These berries are sweet and slightly sour, and are so yummy with goat cheese. 
  • Arugula: Also known as rocket leaves, these leafy greens have a nutty and slightly bitter taste, complimenting the sugared almonds and earthy flavor of goat cheese. 
  • Avocado: A healthy dose of good fats! 
  • Baby cucumber: Crispy and succulent, bursting into water with every bite. 
  • Candied almonds: One of the things that makes this berry salad so darn addictive! These crunchy almonds are coated with caramelized sugar over heat, and I’ll share exactly how to do this. 
Summer Berry Salad Ingredients | cookingwithcassandra.com

The dressing for this salad recipe is a creamy balsamic vinaigrette. It’s equal parts sweet, tangy, and savory! 

You will need: 

  • Balsamic vinegar: This light acidic dressing lifts up the ingredients it is paired with, and in this case we’re making it creamy! 
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Regular oil also works, but the idea is to add oil to the vinegar.
  • Garlic: Delicious and slightly spicy, garlic gives that tangy kick when eaten raw! 
  • Mayonnaise: I recommend going for the best quality, something like Hellmann’s Real Mayo
  • Dijon mustard: This is what gets the vinaigrette to a lush creamy consistency. I always have a bottle of Maille dijon mustard stocked in my pantry! 
  • Honey: To sweeten the vinaigrette. 
  • Pinch of salt and pepper: To your taste. 
Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrettel Ingredients | cookingwithcassandra.com

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make the dressing:

    In a bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until well mixed. You should get a creamy consistency. Season to taste with pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to use. Whisk together again right before pouring over the salad.

    Gravy - Sauce | cookingwithcassandra.com

  2. Make the candied almonds:
    Scatter the almonds in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in the sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar melts and is caramelized, coating the almonds. Keep a careful watch as they can burn quickly! Transfer the almonds to a piece of parchment paper to let them cool. Break them into pieces if they are clumped.
    Candied almonds on a nonstick skillet
  3. Make the salad:
    In a large bowl, toss the arugula with a pinch of salt. Sprinkle on the blackberries, blueberries, cucumbers and avocado.
    Gravy - Sauce | cookingwithcassandra.com
  4. Put them all together!
    Whisk the balsamic dressing again before drizzling it onto the berry salad. Start by drizzling some of the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Top with candied almonds and goat cheese.Salad - Leaf vegetable | cookingwithcassandra.com
  5. Bon appetit! 
Summer Berry Salad | cookingwithcassandra.com

Expert Tips & Tricks

Salad is an undemanding dish, but follow these fool-proof expert tips that you can apply whenever to all your veggie-licious endeavors! 

  1. When it comes to salad dressing, always remember the golden rule: You can always add more, but you can’t save it if there’s too much. Drizzle a little bit of dressing and add more if necessary. Nobody likes a soggy salad! 
  2. How can you tell when an avocado is ripe? The skin should be brown in color, and when you press it with your fingers, it should feel soft, but not mushy. 
  3. Wash your vegetables and fruits thoroughly, especially if eaten raw. Unless you’re purchasing from the organics section, normal produce is usually treated with artificial fertilizers and nasty pesticides. Soak your produce in baking soda and water (1 teaspoon baking soda to 2 cups of water) and rinse it a couple of times – see how much dirt is left behind in the water! 
  4. If you are swapping the berries in my recipe for another type of berry, please make sure to check that they are safe to be eaten raw! The elderberry has toxic substances that can cause nausea and vomiting if consumed raw.  

Variations & Mix-Ins

Keep your salads interesting and berry colorful (pun intended) by choosing to combine different fresh berries with a complementing nut/seed! Some berries taste sweet, others may taste sour or bitter, even. To achieve a palatable balance, match it with a nut or seed! 


Try these interesting combinations: 

  • Strawberries with candied pecans
  • Raspberries with toasted walnuts and sunflower seeds
  • Mulberries with pine nuts and honey coated cashew nuts
  • Cranberries with honey coated cashew nuts
  • Goji berry with salted macadamia nuts
  • Ripe Blackcurrants with candied pecans 
  • Acai berry with pine nuts 
  • Raisins with toasted pistachio 

What other mix-ins have you tried? Please leave a comment and share it with me, I’d love to try it one day! 

Berry Salad on Platter | cookingwithcassandra.com

Berry Salad Recipe

This perfect, mouthwatering summer berry salad is loaded with fresh fruit and toppings. This salad is light, refreshing and always a crowd-pleaser!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 5 ounce box of arugula
  • 3 baby seedless cucumbers thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 cup goat cheese, chilled crumbled
  • 3/4 cup  sliced almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

CREAMY BALSAMIC DRESSING

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise (best quality such as Hellmann's Real) 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dijon mustard (I prefer Maille brand)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
  • pinch of salt + pepper

Instructions

  • Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until well blended. Season to taste with pepper. Place in the fridge until ready to use. Whisk together again right before pouring over the salad.
  • Place the almonds in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and cook, stirring often, until the sugar melts and is caramelized, coating all of the almonds – about 6 to 8 minutes. Don’t take your eyes off of this as they can burn quickly!
  • Transfer the almonds to a piece of parchment paper to let them cool. Break them into pieces if they are clumped.
  • In a large bowl, toss the arugula with a pinch of salt.
  • Sprinkle on the blackberries, blueberries, cucumbers and avocado.
  • Remove Balsamic dressing from the refrigerator and whisk the dressing again before adding to the salad. Start by drizzling some of dressing all over the salad and toss gently to combine. Pro Tip: Always remember the golden rule- You can always add more! Start with a little bit of dressing and add more if necessary. You don't want a soggy salad!
  • Top with candied almonds and goat cheese.

Hi, I’m Cassandra!

I’m a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin’ Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up for free recipes straight to your inbox:

Free E-Cookbook!

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Subscribe & receive my favourite 10 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes in an easy e-cookbook format!

You Might Also Like

How to Make French Toast

French toast with Syrup and Strawberries  | cookingwithcassandra.com

French toast is a breakfast staple, though I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying it throughout the entire day. It’s yummy even at teatime or as an after-dinner sweet treat. This easy French toast recipe has soft Brioche bread soaked in an egg mixture that is milky and sweet which is then pan-fried with butter.  Whether you are making French toast for two or twelve, this recipe is so quick and easy that it won’t feel like cooking at all. Read on for a no-nonsense guide on how to make french toast.  What is the Best Bread to use for French Toast?  This French toast recipe...

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Chicken Noodle Soup | cookingwithcassandra.com

I don’t remember the last time I was able to say the words ‘chicken noodle soup’ without triggering a catchy song in the back of my mind. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go listen to the Korean Pop song, Chicken Noodle Soup by BTS and Becky G, which pretty much took over the world in 2019.  Real talk now, I’ve got a no-frills, easy chicken noodle soup recipe that will melt in your mouth. Every spoonful has tender cooked veggies, soft shredded chicken, and a heartwarming chicken broth. Oh, and noodles, of course, but more on that later. This one-pot chicken soup is healthy...

Easy Turkey Cranberry Sliders

Holiday Dinner Leftover cranberry sliders | cookingwithcassandra.com

So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, and much to nobody’s surprise – you have leftover turkey. Happens to us all the time! Especially, when there’s a spread of other yummy,  tantalizing dishes on the table.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for good reasons: incredible food, family, and friends!  What I don’t like, though, is the food wastage. To overcome this, we have now gotten into the habit of pre-planning our Thanksgiving leftovers. Nope, I do not mean pre-planning the meals (though it is such a good habit – read about it here).  We plan what to do with the...

Easy Cranberry Rosemary Chicken

Cranberry Rosemary Chicken | cookingwithcassandra.com

Especially at Christmas time, there’s nothing like decorating the house with stockings and wrapping gifts for the Christmas tree. The cherry on the top has got to be the food on the table, though. Here’s one dish I’m making for Christmas this year: cranberry rosemary chicken with a maple glaze.  It is no secret that cranberry and rosemary go hand in hand as one of the most unique and sophisticated holiday flavors. From rosemary-infused cranberry vodka to cranberry rosemary bread pudding, this is a combination that will always guarantee satisfaction. I love how the tart cranberries...

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @cookingwithcassandra on Instagram and hashtag it #cookingwithcassandra

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




Hi, I'm Cassandra!

I'm a proud wife, dog mom, food lovin' Canadian girl, former TV reality show personality, wine lover and on a mission to make living a healthy + balanced lifestyle easy for everyone.

More about me

Never miss a recipe!

Sign up for free recipes straight to your inbox:

Free E-Cookbook!

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Subscribe & receive my favourite 10 Quick & Easy Dinner Recipes in an easy e-cookbook format!

Jujeh kabab - Eating | cookingwithcassandra.com

Get the Inside

Scoop

Be the first to receive free e-books, recipes, inspiration, and exclusive extras you won’t want to miss!

FREE E-COOKBOOK10 Quick & Easy Dinners Recipes

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Get our newest recipes, exclusive content PLUS our 10 Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes to get you started!

FREE E-COOKBOOK10 Quick & Easy Dinners Recipes

Cooking dinner doesn’t have to take all night. Get our newest recipes, exclusive content PLUS our 10 Quick and Easy Dinner Recipes to get you started!