I’m cherry 🍒 excited about this Cherry Gorgonzola Salad w/ Lemon Vinaigrette! Cherries are in season and I can’t get enough of them!
Preparing yourself this unique salad is a great way to cool yourself during hot summer days. Juicy cherries along with creamy gorgonzola is a match made in heaven! At first bite, this salad will surely fulfill your desire for an amazing summer salad.
Nutrition coach recommendation: This salad is great for general health and weight loss goals. Be sure to eat lean protein as well, especially for weight loss! This would be great with grilled chicken. Make sure you check out my other recommendations for incorporating this recipe into a regimen to reach your performance goals!
Ingredient Selection Tips
Look for dried cherries without added sugar. This is easier said than done! All of the brands in the aisles had sugar added. I had to go to the bulk section of my local Publix to find Bing cherries without added sugar. If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, they will surely be at your local health food store. A link to a brand I found on Amazon (but have not tried) is below. I’ve reviewed the ingredients, and it looks good.
When choosing a gorgonzola cheese, look at the ingredients and avoid artificial food colorings, saturated vegetable oils, sorbic acid (a preservative) and added salt. If your budget allows, also look for grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free cheeses. A good option is below. Don’t get too hung up on getting the perfect cheese though, especially if you are still trying to establish the basics of living a healthy lifestyle. I honestly used my local Publix brand Gorgonzola cheese. If I had the budget for it though, I would definitely go for the cheese below!
Noteworthy Health Benefits
Cherries are a great source of vitamin C, which is very important for maintaining our immune system. All varieties are very nutritious, rich in fiber, full of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, potassium, are essential to keep nerve function in good condition, blood pressure too. Cherries are also a good source of copper, manganese, vitamin K.
Cherries are best found organic since they are on The Dirty Dozen list. The product below reflects this suggestion.
Salad greens are full of vitamins that support a healthy body. Rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, these kinds of salads are associated with bone strength, prevent vision loss, support heart health. Green salad mix contains about 15% of folate and supports healthy pregnancy.
Balanced Plate for Performance Goals
While any food can fit into your menu for performance goals, some recipes can contribute to a better strategized menu than others. Below you can see how this recipe can fit into your goal. If this recipe has unique benefits, it is best cut out for the goal(s) with a star next to it.
The chart below changes dynamically based off the goal you have selected.
|LEAN PROTEIN||HEALTHY FAT||HEALTHY CARBS||VEGGIES|
|1-2 palms||1-2 thumbs||1-2 cupped handfuls||1-2 fists|
However, everyone is different! Use the Precision nutrition calculator I use with my clients to calculate suggested macros custom for you. For more information on using this hand estimation system, click here.
For more info on types of foods for proteins, fats, carbs, and veggies, read my article Formula for the Perfect Healthy Meal. This article will also help you figure out what foods to eat more and less of.
Protein: Will Need to Supplement
While there is protein in Gorgonzola cheese, there isn’t a substantial enough of an amount to count it towards the protein palm estimation for a meal. Cheese is classified as a fat unless it is low fat and high protein. To make this salad a complete meal, I suggest adding grilled chicken.
Fat: Gorgonzola Cheese, Almonds, & Olive Oil
While the almonds and olive oil are classified under healthy “eat more” fats, the Gorgonzola cheese is classified as a “eat some” fat. However, any food can fit into a healthy diet in moderation.
Carbs: Cherries & Dried Cherries
Provided you are eating about a quarter of this salad, you should be consuming about 1-2 palms of carbohydrates. Make sure you avoid dried cherries with added sugar. While there is honey in the dressing, it should be a small enough amount that you won’t need to worry about it unless you are sensitive to sugar.
Veggies: Salad Greens & Red Onions
There is an ample amount of vegetables in this recipe.
Additional Meal Tips for Weight Loss
Prioritize supplementing with a lean protein such as grilled chicken and considering adding even more vegetables for fiber and volume. This will keep you satiated until your next meal with less calories. For the ingredients classified as fats above, you should consider halving these ingredients as they are calorically dense. As long as you aren’t sensitive to sugar, the amount of carbs in this recipe shouldn’t be an issue (remember to avoid dried cherries with added sugar).
Additional Meal Tips for Endurance
While there are lots of nutrients in this salad, endurance athletes need more carbohydrates and more calorically dense foods. To make this a meal, I recommend adding quinoa & chickpeas which will provide both carbohydrates and protein.
Additional Meal Tips for Building Muscle
For building muscle, you will want to add a significant amount of protein. I recommend adding the suggested amount of protein in the form of chicken as shown above. Plant-based athletes can add chickpeas for protein instead. If you are in a bulking phase (as opposed to a cutting phase), you may want to also add carbohydrates such as quinoa (also high in protein).
Additional Meal Tips for Improving Health
This is an excellent salad for improving health as it includes a lot of color (which equals different phytonutrients). The olive oil also provides a healthy fat with omega-3 and omega-6 which wards off cardiovascular disease as well as many other benefits. Those sensitive to dairy or cutting back on saturated fats should omit or reduce the gorgonzola in this recipe.
Diet Preference Tweaks
Vegan / Fully Plant-Based
So if you want to prepare vegan plant-based salad, you can replace gorgonzola with non-dairy, plant-based cheese. Today we have great options like cheese made from almond milk.
You should also consider replacing the honey with some other sweetener like date or agave syrup.
Make sure you get sugar-free dried cherries and/or consider reducing the amount of them. Hold the honey in the dressing and replace with a little monk fruit sweetener, if desired.
Grilled Veggie Antipasta SaladYum
- 2 yellow squash
- 2 zucchini
- 2 medium tomatoes like Roma
- 3 small red peppers or 1 red bell pepper
- 1/2 Onion
- 1 cup green olives
- 1 cup artichoke hearts
- 10 pepperoncini peppers
- 15 oz chickpeas
- 8 oz dried orzo
- 8 oz mozzarella pearls
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 1 tbsp spicy mustard
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp parsley
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Preheat grill on medium high.
- Prep 8oz dried orzo.Set aside to cool.
- Prep veggies for grill.
- Turn grill down to medium. Cook prepped veggien on grill rotating frequentely, until easy to pierce with fork and has grill marks. Set aside to cool.
- Roughly chop a cup of artichoke hearts and dice 10 pepperocini peppers. Add to large bowl.
- Add a cup of green olives to bowl.
- Add a can of drained chickpeas to bowl.
- Add orzo to bowl.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients.
- Once cooled, dice grilled veggies and add to bowl.
- Add mozzarella pearls to bowl.
- Drizzle dressing over salad.
- Mix it all together.