Summer Arugula Salad with Balsamic Reduction

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Trying to come up with a family dinner for four can be hard. Especially when one of us is a celiac (me), the other is a vegetarian, one is non dairy or egg and no red meat, and the other, my poor mama, is the only one who has free range to eat whatever she likes! Lucky lady, sheesh! Needless to say, it’s a tad bit difficult to throw together dinner on a whim at my house. Solution: salad bar. It’s easy, everyone can put on what they’d like, meat, no meat, cheese, no cheese, whatever. But sometimes salads need a little sprucing up, let’s be honest. Lettuce, tomato, and cucumber gets old preeettyyyy darn quick if you ask me. This salad is far from boring and the best part is, you can customize it however you’d like!

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I got the inspiration for this salad from a restaurant in Manhattan Beach called Petros. It was a special they were serving one night and I ordered it up immediately! The plate had been drizzled with the sweetest honey I had ever tasted, and the salad was plated on top of it. It had slices of peach and big chunks of Greek feta cheese, all drizzled with a balsamic dressing. It was incredible, but I literally cannot justify paying 20 dollars for a salad that I know I can make better at home. I wanted to amp up my version by adding roasted cherry tomatoes for a little extra sweetness and it was definitely the right decision. I mean, look at them! A little chewy and oh so sweet, they’re the perfect addition to this summery salad.

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I also added herbed chèvre for a little tang, and I tossed my salad with some leftover tri tip because hello, I’m a carnivore. After writing and photographing this recipe I had an afterthought- sunflower seeds. Yep, throw some of those babies on top, too! You won’t be disappointed I promise. This salad is super refreshing, tangy and sweet, and so incredibly fresh and light. It makes the perfect summer lunch or dinner!

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Summer Arugula Salad with Balsamic Reduction

serves 4

1 bag baby arugula (about 6 cups)

2 ripe peaches, sliced

4 oz herbed chèvre, crumbled. I get mine at Trader Joes

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup balsamic vinegar

fleur de sal, for topping

fresh cracked black pepper, for topping

optional toppings:

chicken or steak, even shrimp would be delicious!

sunflower seeds

avocado

thinly sliced red onion

feel free to use feta instead of goat cheese

raw honey (omit if vegan)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil and spread in an even layer onto the baking sheet. Roast for 50-60 minutes.

2. In a medium saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until it has thickened into a syrup consistency. When done, pour into an airtight container and let cool until serving.

3. In a large serving bowl, add arugula, sliced peaches, chèvre, and any additional toppings you desire. Once tomatoes are done, let cool and add to the salad.

4. To serve, drizzle a little bit of honey onto the plate. Top with salad and drizzle on balsamic reduction. Finish with a little sprinkling of fleur de sal and cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

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