Blueberry Salad w/Homemade Balsamic Dressing

After a few weeks of heavy holiday eating (we loved every minute of it!) it’s time to lighten the menu.  This salad recipe elevates mixed greens with the sweetness of blueberries, bite of red onions and saltiness of feta cheese.  Now, on their own these are a wonderful combination, but they’re even better when drizzled lightly with this perfectly balanced balsamic dressing!  Great at any time of the year, it’s a bright crisp addition to any meal, especially with winter soups and stews.

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BLUEBERRY SALAD

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Mixed Greens
  • 1 Cup Blueberries
  • 1/4 Red Onion, Sliced Thinly
  • 1/2 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

HOMEMADE BALSAMIC DRESSING

Ingredients

  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs. Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. Black Pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or mason jar with lid, place all dressing ingredients.
  • Whisk together or close lid and shake well until thoroughly mixed and sugar is dissolved.
  • Refrigerate until used or up to 1 week.
  • Y0u can use any fruited balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar for a lighter, more neutral flavor.
  • Arrange salad ingredients on 2-4 plates, depending on portion size.  Drizzle lightly with dressing.

This is a basic recipe that can be updated with all kinds of variations.  Try substituting dried cranberries and orange segments for the blueberries and goat cheese for the feta.  As long as you keep the balance of sweet, tart and salty.  I also like adding the crunch of candied pecans, toasted pine nuts or salty pistachios.  Give a few of them a try and let me know your favorite combination.  I’m sure you’ll get a lot of use our of the recipe from weekday suppers to weekend dinner parties.  Dig in!

Blueberry Buttermilk Mega Muffins

You’ll feel like you’re having a “vacation brunch” when you bake my favorite blueberry muffins!  Chock-full of sweet blueberries these dense tangy muffins are best when made in huge muffin tins.  This recipe yields just 6 muffins, but it’s tough to eat a whole one yourself.  Make them for your next weekend guests or for a lazy weekend morning on the patio with your iced coffee!

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BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK MEGA MUFFINS

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Stick Melted Butter
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 1 1/4 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Large Crystal Sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Stem and rinse blueberries and dry thoroughly on paper towels.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the first 4 dry ingredients.
  • Add beaten eggs and buttermilk to dry ingredients and mix just enough to combine.
  • Stir in melted butter until mixture is smooth.  It will be a thick batter vs. loose like cake batter.
  • Reserve 20-25 blueberries.  Gently fold remaining blue berries into batter until just evenly combined.
  • Spoon batter into large muffin tins (6 to a tray) that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Use remaining blueberries to top muffins and then sprinkle evenly with crystal sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow finished muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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My mom made these muffins for me years ago and they are some of my favorites!  I’ve tweaked the recipe since to get just the right density and amount of fruit to hold them together.  I love them with blueberries, but they are excellent with mixed berries as well.  Try some variations and let me know what you think!