15 February 2011

Kitchen adventures: Inspired by salad dressings

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Food

I like salads, but they’re not always my go-to meal. I’m picky about what I like on them and really, if I could make the salad at home, why would I spend $10+ on it in a nice restaurant?

But there is one holy, amazing salad that I always run to: Nordstrom’s Grilled Chicken Strawberry Salad. I LOVE it. Every time I go to Nordstrom, I order that salad and savor it.

Here’s how tasty it looks.

And on a recent trip to Nordstrom, I noticed the cafe was selling some of its salad dressings, including:

One word: YUMMY.

After an attendant confirmed that the Dark Cherry Balsamic was used in my favorite salad, I purchased it and the Champagne Vinegarette immediately and decided to make my version of the salads from Nordstrom that used both dressings. Yes, I was inspired by both salad dressings for this week’s kitchen adventures. Behold the creations.

Nordstrom-Recreated Grilled Chicken Strawberry Salad


  • Mixed greens (or spinach)
  • Grilled chicken slices (or baked, which I did -1/2 breast)
  • Chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Strawberry slices (about 1/4 – 1/2 cup)
  • Soft goat cheese (1 oz)
  • Nordstrom Cafe’s Dark Cherry Balsamic (1-2 tbsp)

Verdict: I was the most excited about this dressing and it was…okay. Not as amazing as in the store. Yes, I was missing a few of the ingredients from the main store (e.g. candied walnuts) but also, the dressing was really thick and even after tossing, it wasn’t even throughout the salad. Still good, but I’ll be going back to the Cafe for this one :)

Nordstrom-Recreated Blue Cheese and Pear Salad


  • Mixed greens (or spinach)
  • Crumbled blue cheese (1 oz.)
  • Sliced fresh pears (1 medium pear)
  • Nordstrom Cafe’s Champagne Vinegarette (1-2 tbsp)
  • Chopped walnuts (optional)

Verdict: Yeah, this was my favorite, hands down. The dressing was light and refreshing and not too sweet. Adding in the blue cheese and pears was just so summer-inspired, I loved it. I actually made another one of these salads after, that is saying something :) I may not have a salad with this dressing in the Cafe in the future (given my love of the Strawberry one) but that’s okay, I can make a good one of these at home.

So, I know these salads are super simple but it was a nice alternative to the heavier meals I’ve made the last two weeks and definitely got me thinking spring. I will be rushing back to Nordstrom for more of their dressings in the future.

Plus, it’s actually getting warm in Chicago so it’s slowly becoming time to transition to lighter foods. Looks like more of these are in my future!

What is your favorite salad?

OPRAH UPDATE: Hey everyone, as a follow up to my Oprah and Me post, I found out that my show airing is actually Thursday, Feb. 17, NOT tomorrow. Wanted to let you know in case you are DVRing.


  1. RebeccaC says:

    Next time try diluting the dressing a bit with some evoo or even a little bit of water. And lemme know if you want to try to make candied walnuts. Not too hard to do and YUM.

  2. Oh i must dvr oprah! thanks!

    I want to make that strawberry salad…yummm.

  3. Allison says:

    you better believe I’m dvring and hoping I see you in the audience

  4. yum! i love a good salad! and yay i’ll look for you on oprah tomorrow!

  5. katelin says:

    switch in apples for the pears and i am sold. oh how i love a good salad.

  6. nic says:

    I’m going to watch my first ever Ophrah episode in hopes of seeing you on the TV!

  7. Nora says:

    Champagne dressing? I’ll have to cruise by Nordstrom and get some of it :)

  8. Rachel says:

    I have always appreciated a good salad. I’ll have to try to make one of these soon. Yum!

  9. Mmm, I just picked up strawberries at the store tonight.

  10. I’m such a simple girl- hand me a taco salad! :) And really I just make those at home- iceberg lettuce, taco meat, cheese, and crushed Doritos. lol. yum!

  11. Erin says:

    Bummer that the balsamic dressing wasn’t as you’d hoped. Maybe you need to experiment and see if you can create a version that is closer to the one in the cafe??

  12. mandy says:

    The strawberry chicken salad sound amazing. I always get a version of that at one of my favorite restaurants. The champagne dressing sounds delicious.