Roasted grape and arugula salad. Yep, I said roasted grapes. Sounds different, I know, but stay with me. It is amazing, I promise.
The idea for this salad was born by a recent dinner outing with my husband.
Last week was my husband’s birthday, and being the good wife that I am, I took him out for a birthday dinner in Chicago to celebrate.
As I tend to do, I checked out the menu for the restaurant beforehand to peruse my options. The first thing that caught my eye was a delicious, decadent burger – I knew what I was getting! We were going to an upscale English style pub (my hubby loves fried fish and beer) that was known for its burger. I was pumped to try this burger and thought about it all day long. As we walked in the restaurant, a waiter immediately passed us carrying two burgers on his tray; a sign I needed to try this dish!
But then my ordering dilemma occurred. When we sat down, I decided to open the menu and scan it one more time just to solidify my choice. Big mistake. The menu included additional items that weren’t on the online menu, and one of them sounded soo sooo good. A roasted grape salad. How delicious and unique? I never thought to roast grapes before, and even better, add it to a salad. I was now dying to try it. But the burger….should I neglect the burger, my original choice? I stewed about it for some time, but after telling the waiter I needed more time, three separate times, and getting the death stare from my husband, I knew I had to make a choice. I decided to try the roasted grape salad.
Maybe it was because my mind was originally set on the burger and I was regretting my decision. Maybe my expectations were too high. But I was just not that impressed with the roasted grape salad. The thing was the roasted grapes were delicious….still a genius idea. But the salad as a whole just did not come together for me. It was a bit soggy and the ingredients accompanying the grapes didn’t mesh. And guys, I dwelled on it. I think I told my husband 20 times how I wish I had just gotten the burger. I may have even dreamed about the burger and what could have been that night. Obsessive. Sad. I know. But I was upset! The salad sounded sooo good. It should have been soooo good. My solution to coming to piece with my salad/burger debacle: recreate the roasted grape salad so it would live up to my expectations.
Behold my version: Arugula and roasted grape salad with crispy prosciutto, roasted pearl onions, toasted walnuts, sliced honey crisp apples, and shaved parmesan with champagne Dijon vinaigrette.
After the first bite, the remorse from the birthday dinner washed away. It was everything I wanted the roasted grape salad to be and MORE.
First, let’s talk about these roasted grapes. Sweet, salty, jammy, and juicy. They burst in your mouth with flavor. It takes the humble grape to a new level of sophistication. A MUST try. They are even good on their own as a snack. I’ve been munching on the extras all week.
They are little beauties. And you can easily roast the grapes with the pearl onions.
The other ingredients are welcome guests to this salad party. They all work together beautifully. The prosciutto adds a salty bite. The apples provide some raw, freshness. The shaved parm and onions give the salad a nice savory note, which is needed to counterbalance the sweet fruit. Finally, the walnuts provide texture and crunch.
And the champagne vinaigrette. Wow.
The salad I ordered at the birthday dinner had a buttermilk dressing, which is part of the reason I did not like the salad. The buttermilk dressing didn’t work with roasted grapes. A champagne vinaigrette, on the hand, is a match made in heaven with the roasted grapes. Trust me. You want to make this dressing to go with this salad combo.
For some reason, I always struggle to find champagne vinegar in most grocery stores. I checked out 3 different ones before I finally found it at Whole Foods. But it is worth the efforts to find it. Champagne vinegar is the QUEEN of vinegars. The key ingredients in producing the vinegar are Pinot Noir or Chardonnay grapes, and it creates this light, crisp and acidic tasting vinegar with vanilla undertone from the oak barrels in which the wine was aged. It is amazing! The vinegar paired with Dijon mustard and honey creates this beautiful light, acidic, slightly sweet, and bright dressing that perfectly rounds out the salad.
Oh, and this this salad pairs perfectly with a delicious glass of pinot noir….yes!
If you do not know what to make for dinner tonight, give this salad a try. It will rock your world! Trust me, I am not thinking about that burger any longer. I am now obsessing over this SALAD!
Roasted Grape and Arugula Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
- 1 bag arugula
- 1 cup grapes
- ½ cup pearl onions
- 4 slices prosciutto
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup shaved parmesan
- Small honey crisp apple, sliced thinly
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss grapes and pearl onions with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and grapes start to wrinkle. Add the prosciutto for the last 6 minutes or until it gets crispy.
- Build the salad by putting arugula in a big salad bowl and topping with roasted grapes and pearl onions, walnuts, shaved parmesan, apples, and crispy prosciutto pieces.
- Toss with champagne vinaigrette.
- Serve and enjoy!
- 2 T champagne vinaigrette
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 T Dijon
- ½ tsp. fresh garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. If they not, the dressing will not emulsify (aka come together).
- To a small bowl or dressing container, combine champagne vinegar, mustard, honey, Dijon, and garlic until well incorporated.
- Slowly add in the olive oil, continuously whisking until the dressing is set.
- Store in airtight container in fridge. It will last up to a week in the fridge.