Triple Berry Salad with Sauteéd Shallots and Walnuts in a Cayenne-Honey Vinaigrette

This year’s CSA started Monday with a first week loaded with lettuce (baskets and baskets of lettuce!)… there was so much lettuce, in fact, that our farmers were giving it away, as much as you could take, whether or not you have the larger, family-sized share (we don’t). It was hard for my frugal heart to take only two heads (even in addition to the kale, pokeweed, catnip, etc.), but it was easier when I unpacked our bags at home and tried to figure out how two of us would eat so many greens before they wilt. It almost goes without saying that we’ve been eating salads ever since. Salads with goat cheese and pesto, salads with a hodge podge of vegetables or fresh strawberries (from our other farmer!) and salads like this triple berry one we had tonight. At its heart, this is a simple combination, but the shallots and walnuts add a more complex, savory note that reminds me of Thanksgiving, and then the whole thing gets kicked up even further with the cayenne-honey oil/vinegar on top.

Triple Berry Salad with Sauteéd Shallots and Walnuts in a Cayenne-Honey Vinaigrette
Triple Berry Salad with Sauteéd Shallots and Walnuts in a Cayenne-Honey Vinaigrette
triple berry salad

It’s not hard to like pictures of plates piled high with lettuce and berries, but between you and me it’s that last one that I like best, just above, because it’s got Tim in it, and I’m so thankful for every bit of life I have with him in it, from our late nights in the kitchen with YouTube music videos playing to our early nights at the table with salads we’ve just prepped side by side. He’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, and being married to each other means rubbing up against each other’s imperfections all the time, but, man, the rewards of love outweigh the risks. I was thinking tonight how he is probably the only person I’ve ever known in my entire life who lets me challenge him, and I don’t mean with soft questions, about everything from nutrition to sanctification to how to manage stocks, and he doesn’t run away or go anywhere when I’m pushing something I want to understand; he doesn’t hold it against me or get mad; instead, he keeps talking and stays to work it out. It still surprises me I’m married to him. It surprises me I know him. I can’t think of any explanation for it but the loving hand of Providence giving a good gift.

Triple Berry Salad with Sauteéd Shallots and Walnuts in a Cayenne-Honey Vinaigrette


Serving Size: 2

Triple Berry Salad with Sauteéd Shallots and Walnuts in a Cayenne-Honey Vinaigrette

In this weeknight salad for two, the fresh crunch of leaf lettuce pairs beautifully with sweet berries, a savory blend of sauteéd shallots and walnuts, and the sweet and spicy dressing.


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 cups chopped leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • for the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 to 3 dashes cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


In a large skillet, melt coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add sliced shallots and cook about 5 to 10 minutes, until they are just beginning to brown. Add walnuts and continue cooking to toast the nuts, about 5 minutes more. remove from heat.

In a large bowl or split onto two plates, combine lettuce, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Meanwhile, while shallots and walnuts cool slightly, make dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients, taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Drizzle dressing on top of salad (you will likely have some leftover to use for later).

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Lan | morestomach

    our csa doesn’t start until next weekend, i’m so jealous that yours has started already. but still, we manage to grab greens and baby kales for our salads at night, because anything that requires turning on the oven or stove is shot down.

    PS. i was just thinking last night that dw & i have been married just 9 months (!!!) and it’s been such a wondrous journey. so wonderful in fact, we just booked our one year anniversary trip, even though only just got back from our honeymoon in april….

  2. Joanna

    I love when you talk about marriage because it reminds me to give more credit to the good work that’s done in our imperfections rubbing against one another. Lately, it seems so many of my imperfections have surfaced. They’re not just rubbing, they’re shooting out like darts. But without the closeness of Brad and marriage, they would never be so obvious and never be vulnerable to letting them go.

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  4. Nicole

    Free lettuce!? I would have had a hard time passing that up, too. My CSA starts tomorrow and I can’t wait for the inspiration it will bring. I most enjoy that it forces me to try new things and increase my vegetable/salad intake. Your salad is beautiful!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Right? And it was beautiful, giant lettuce, too. The kind that looks like a big, green bouquet. Oy! Hooray for your CSA starting soon! It’s just the best, all the pressure I put upon myself to use everything notwithstanding, hahaha. : )

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