Running out of the subway station and into the late-summer air in New York City felt magical. I was already late for meeting a friend for dinner and a movie, but as I walked through the end-of-the-day goodies at the farmer’s market in Union Square, I stopped dead. There they were: the most beautifully ripe raspberries I’ve ever seen.
This time last year, I wasn’t even a fan of raspberries. Okay, that’s not really true. I had never had a raspberry before. I was just starting to get out of my food phobia issues and had slowly asked friends to help me out.
When a friend brought over this new kind of berry for me to try, I was hesitant. Why did it look wrinkly and fuzzy? I don’t like foods that don’t look pretty. But I tried it anyway.
And I kind of hated it. At first, anyway.
Since then, the raspberry has actually become my go-to berry for breakfast. I just love combining it with Greek yogurt for a quick meal. But when I saw these beautiful, ripe and cheap ($1 per package!) raspberries at the market, I knew I had to make something different.
I brought them home, carefully flipped through some of my cookbooks and settled on making a homemade raspberry vinaigrette. I’ve never made a salad dressing before, so I thought this would be a fun experiment. Plus, I thought it would go perfectly with a Swiss chard, grilled asparagus and toasted walnut salad. Yum!
I’ve never had Swiss chard either, but was recently inspired by a coworker who raved about the green. After I washed and chopped it, it just looked so fresh.
I had a friend over for dinner (because we all know I hate cooking for just myself) and he kept calling it “earthy”. I definitely agree. The flavor was very bitter and thick but it felt like eating something that was just growing in my imaginary backyard garden.
Grilling the asparagus was a fun treat. My mom just bought me this grill skillet and I couldn’t wait to start using it. The only problem? How ridiculously large these organic asparagus stalks were!
Mmmm… toasted walnuts. They were the savior in this salad and worked PERFECTLY with the Swiss chard. They really added that something extra special to it. The sweetness (and slight burnt) from them helped to cut the bitterness in the green leaves.
Isn’t the vinaigrette pretty?! I mixed it in the blender, then added a bit more to adjust the recipe I found into how I wanted it to taste. It came out perfectly.
Let’s put it all together! But wait, something’s missing…
Ahhh… there we go…
Swiss Chard, Grilled Asparagus and Toasted Walnut Salad
with Homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette
Yield: 4 servings (salad), 8 (vinaigrette); Prep: 20 minutes
Inspired by the book Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce and fresh seasonal raspberries from the local farmer’s market, this salad is a perfect combination of earthy flavor with a dash of sweet tartness. Would also work well if topped with goat cheese.
Ingredients (for the salad):
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 lb asparagus spears, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into large pieces
Ingredients (for the raspberry vinaigrette):
- 3 containers of raspberries
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cane sugar (raspberry flavored, if you can find it)
- sprinkle of salt & pepper
1. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Spray a grill pan with olive oil and saute the asparagus for 10 minutes or until cooked.
3. Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the raspberry vinaigrette in a blender and blend well.
4. Combine the Swiss chard, grilled asparagus and toasted walnuts in a bowl.
5. Let the asparagus and walnuts cool for 5 minutes, then top with the vinaigrette.
This is what the raspberry vinaigrette looks like on it’s own. It may not be the prettiest blob on the planet, but it tasted oh so good. And there were plenty of leftovers of it! Although the salad served four, the vinaigrette could easily serve 8.
My friend was really impressed by the gorgeous color of this dressing. I know that the reason it looked so beautiful was because the raspberries were so fresh. And fresh tastes delicious.
Tell me: have you ever made your own dressing before? This is my first try and I think it came out well!