This sweet and savory balsamic microgreens salad is a quick and healthy meal that can be served fresh or prepped the night before. It’s the PERFECT salad for spring or summer! Bring this salad to your next summer cookout to enjoy a dish packed full of bright and fresh flavors.
Keep reading to learn how to make this salad with micorgreens ahead of time for grab-and-go meals, discover substitutions to keep the flavors exciting, find resources for growing microgreens at home and tips to use this salad dressing as a meat marinade!
Why this is the perfect salad?
Sometimes a salad is more about the toppings than the lettuce! Don’t get me wrong, the salad greens are definitely an important component of this dish, but the microgreens, apples, onions, feta, avocado and radishes are definitely what makes this bowl shine!
One of my favorite things about this salad is that it can be prepped ahead of time. I can slice the veggies, minus the avocado, and have the salad fully ready to go the day before. While the recipe is really tasty as written, it is very versatile and can be tweaked to many different taste preferences or available seasonal produce.
How to serve this microgreens salad
My favorite way to serve this salad is in a great big bowl with a side of fresh fruit and a slice of crusty sourdough bread. When I want to eat a little extra protein with my salad, I will grill or air fry shrimp or chicken breasts that are marinated in the same balsamic dressing. After letting the meat rest for a few minutes, I thinly slice the chicken and layer it on top.
The tartness of the balsamic salad dressing pairs well with a sauvignon blanc wine. It seems odd to pair two tart flavors, but the tangy dressing actually brings out the fruity and sweeter notes in the sauvignon blanc.
Helpful kitchen tools for making this salad
It doesn’t take any fancy equipment or kitchen tools to make this salad with microgreens! You will need a way to wash and dry the salad greens, like a salad spinner or a strainer. Greens that have been washed and fully dried will last days longer in the refrigerator. Save the wilted greens for a hot spinach salad, not these fresh microgreens!
This salad requires minimal prep, which includes slicing the apple and vegetables. Use a chef's knife and cutting board to slice the veggies and wait to chop the avocado until just before serving. Place the salad greens and all ingredients but the dressing in a large serving bowl. Toss with salad tongs to combine, then set aside while you make the dressing.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is how the dressing is mixed together in a mason jar! There’s hardly any cleanup at all! Measure the ingredients and pour all of the dressing ingredients into a mason jar and tighten the lid. Give it a good shake and serve! I store any leftover salad dressing in the refrigerator in the same mason jar I mixed it in.
Ingredients for balsamic dressing
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (good quality and not reduced)
Honey (or substitute maple syrup or agave)
Stone ground mustard, or substitute dijon
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
Ingredients for salad
A generous helping of microgreens (I used broccoli)
Chopped salad greens (frisée, butter crunch, romaine and red leaf all work!)
Apples (any apple you like: gala, honey crisp, granny smith…)
Avocado (this adds an element of creaminess to the salad, but can be omitted if not seasonally available)
Onion (yellow, white or red)
How to make balsamic salad dressing
Get ready to be amazed, this could not be easier! I love whipping up a jar of this balsamic salad dressing to keep on hand for quick salads, sandwiches or even a meat marinade!
Mince the garlic and grind it against the cutting board with a little salt. The grittiness of the salt will help to mash the garlic into a juicy paste. Transfer the garlic to a mason jar by scraping it onto the chef’s knife.
Add the remaining ingredients to the jar and season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste. Fasten the lid tightly and give it a good shake! The dressing will fully incorporate and have a golden brown color when it is mixed. If it is being stored in the refrigerator for later, be sure to shake it again before serving.
Tousethissalad dressing as a marinade for chicken or shrimp, go ahead and mix it together just as instructed. In a medium glass bowl, add the meat and toss it in the dressing. Cover the bowl and let it marinate in the refrigerator for up to thirty minutes before cooking. Slice the cooked meat into strips and serve it on top of the salad.
How to assemble the microgreens salad
Wash and dry the microgreens and salad greens. Tear the salad greens into bite size pieces. Place the microgreens, salad greens, apple slices, radish slices, avocado and red onion slices in a large salad bowl and toss to combine. Top with feta cheese, roasted pecans and dried cranberries.
What can I add to this sweet & savory microgreens salad?
Consider substituting ingredients to create your own unique salad with microgreens! This delicious microgreens salad is incredibly versatile and can be customized to almost any diet or taste.
Shop farmers markets or local grocery stores to find seasonal produce that sounds good to you! Thinly sliced cucumbers, red bell peppers, shredded carrots and cherry tomatoes would be excellent additions to this salad.
Can this balsamic microgreens salad be made the night before?
To make this salad ahead of time, prep all of the greens and vegetables, except the avocado, the day before. Make the dressing and refrigerate it in an airtight container. Just before serving, toss all ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Top with the feta, cranberries and pecans.
For an easy weekday lunch prep, assemble the salad in wide mouth mason jars! Select four quart-size jars and layer the salad ingredients in the following order: balsamic dressing on the bottom, followed by the chopped apples, radishes, onions, feta, pecans and cranberries.
Placing the lettuce and microgreens on top keeps the greens from wilting! Secure the lid and keep it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator until it’s time to eat. This make ahead salad is best when eaten within two days.
Helpful resources for growing microgreens for a salad
Learning a new skill, such as growing microgreens, can feel intimidating at first. Here is a list of resources that will help you successfully grow and harvest microgreens in your own home!
The Ultimate Microgreen Cheat Sheet | Bookmark this guide and refer back to it when starting new varieties of microgreens! This comprehensive guide will walk you through exactly how to grow over thirty popular varieties of microgreens.
For reference, the microgreens used in this salad were Waltham 29 broccoli seeds. One ounce of seeds was sown in a 1020 microgreens tray using a potting soil medium. The blackout time was four days and they were harvested on day twelve.
Notes: Feel free to substitute ingredients. Find seasonal produce that sounds good to you! Thinly sliced cucumbers, red bell peppers, shredded carrots and halved cherry tomatoes would all be delicious!
**Broccoli microgreens have a slightly spicy and full flavor profile. Radish microgreens have a similar texture and flavor and would be an easy substitution for the broccoli microgreens in this recipe.
**This salad dressing can also be used as a marinade for chicken or shrimp to grill or air fry and serve with the salad. In a medium glass bowl, add the meat and toss it in the dressing. Cover the bowl and let it marinate in the refrigerator for up to thirty minutes before cooking. Slice the cooked meat into strips and serve it on top of the salad.
I love making salad dressing from scratch, but when I’m in a hurry I will definitely buy one from the store! This microgreens salad would be delicious with a premade bottle of salad dressing such as poppyseed, lemon vinaigrette or strawberry balsamic.