Cherry Pistachio Arugula Salad With Whipped Feta & Pomegranate Vinaigrette
This Cherry Pistachio Arugula Salad is one of my favorite new arugula salad recipes to make. Piles of fresh greens and cucumbers are punctuated by the sassy burst of fresh cherries, the salty crunch of pistachios, and a generous smear of rich and tangy whipped feta. All drizzled in a sweet pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette.
While this salad is slightly higher on the net carbs, I consider it a splurge-worthy keto salad. It’s a treat to have the sweet tart cherries when they are in season. But what about when they are not in season? See my tip below.
Though this is in large part an arugula salad, the inspiration for it is the cherries. When fresh cherries are available I find myself looking at them wistfully, envisioning ways I can enjoy them while still maintaining a keto diet.
Are cherries keto-friendly?
Cherries, similar to arugula, are very high in calcium and vitamins C, K, and A. As with most fruits, they do also contain a good amount of carbs and sugar. A cup of cherries contains about 20 grams of net carbs. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy them when you are eating a low carb, keto diet. In moderation, like added to this salad, you can enjoy their sassy sweetness, without eating a whole bowl of them.
What if cherries are out of season?
Fresh cherries are available for a window of time during the summer. Depending on the variety, this ranges from June to September. First, let me make sure that I stress, fresh is best here. But if fresh cherries are not available, you can make this using frozen cherries. It’s rare for me to suggest using frozen fruits and vegetables, which I think is more about my love of fresh, than about the state of frozen. Tip: Put a half cup of frozen cherries in a bowl to thaw. Once thawed, drain off any excess liquid and add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and toss. Let this absorb and mingle. This version will have a little more tartness than fresh cherries, but will go well with the feta.
The Salad Ingredients
This arugula salad definitely celebrates it’s main ingredient, arugula. Arugula is a distinct, peppery green which originated in the Mediterranean. It is part of the Brassica family, making it related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. It is very nutritious, high in fiber and phytochemicals, and boasts high amounts of calcium, potassium, folate, and vitamins C, K, and A.
You may notice some other greens in the picture. I added in some sorrel that I had growing in the garden, because it is so pretty, and some microgreens because they add such a nice texture. But arugula is the star of the show. The salad is then accented with fresh cucumber, scallions, pistachios, and fresh cherries.
I topped this salad with a Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette, which mixes with the cherry juice, and develops into a beautiful, sweet, deep red dressing . The pomegranate molasses seems to make the flavor of cherries go farther. To offset the sweetness, I added a salty, creamy whipped feta, which plays wonderfully with the peppery arugula and pistachios
How to make the salad:
This is a quick and easy salad to prepare. I have made this as a layered salad and plated this before adding the dressing.
- Start by making the Whipped Feta and Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette (directions below).
- Next, wash and prepare your ingredients. Wash and dry the arugula and slice the cucumber and scallions.
- Pit the cherries and slice in half (watch out, that juice is messy).
- On individual salad plates, add a generous smear of whipped feta to the side of the plates.
- Add arugula to the plate, avoiding the whipped feta.
- Layer on the cucumber, scallions, and any additional greens or micro greens.
- Dot with the cherries and sprinkle on a generous layer of chopped pistachios.
- Drizzle with the dressing and finish with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
How to make Whipped Feta:
For this salad I make a version of whipped feta which is different than my Whipped Feta Dip. For this version, it is more about making a feta cheese which is more spreadable than dippable, think soft cream cheese consistency (this whipped feta) versus sour cream (the dip). You can make this either by hand in a bowl or in a mini food processor – my Cuisinart Mini Prep Chopper/Grinder is one of my most used kitchen tools and it is perfect for tasks like this.
- Add the feta to a bowl (if mixing by hand) or food processor.
- Mix briefly to soften.
- Drizzle in some of the heavy cream and pulse (or mix by hand).
- Add in the parmesan cheese and mix well.
- Drizzle in more heavy cream as needed and mix until a soft, spreadable consistency is achieved.
How to make Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Combine all of the salad dressing ingredients in a bowl or jug and mix well to incorporate. The consistency should be syrupy but still runny.
Salad Styling Tips: To Toss Or Not To Toss?
When serving a salad I often pause when making the decision of how to serve the salad. Some salads are just made to be tossed with the dressing before serving, while others are more of a plate and then drizzle. Some salads can go either way.
Plating the salad first enables you to style a beautiful, presentable salad which will look amazing. Tossing the salad will incorporate the dressing and any additional flavors and liquids from the salad ingredients creating a delicious experience in every bite.
For the Cherry Pistachio Arugula Salad… Plate & Drizzle
This Cherry Pistachio Arugula Salad with Whipped Feta and Pomegranate Vinaigrette is such a treat when cherries are in season. They play so well with the feta. That burst of sweetness against the salty, creamy cheese is divine. And as decadent as that sounds, this is really a nutritious salad… high in fiber and phytochemicals, as well as significant amounts of vitamin K, B6, and B12 .
If you make this Cherry Pistachio Arugula Salad be sure to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see!
How To Make: Cherry Pistachio Arugula Salad With Whipped Feta & Pomegranate Vinaigrette
|4 Cups Arugula
|4 Persian Cucumbers Or 1/2 European Cucumber
|1/2 Cup Fresh Dark Cherries, Pitted, Save Juice If not watching carbs, add more cherries!
|1/2 Cup Pistachios, Coarsely Chopped, Leaving Some Whole
|8 Ounces Feta (1 Block)
|1/4 - 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
|1 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
For The Dressing
|1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
|2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
|2 Tsp. Pomegranate Molasses
|1 Clove Fresh Garlic, Minced
|1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard