I wanted to create a refreshing summer salad that incorporates all of the local fruits, vegetables, and herbs that I could get from the farmer’s market. The local produce became the foundation for my salad, then I let the natural flavors dictate the vinaigrette and additional toppings.

I find fruit in a salad gives a nice, fresh kick and makes it perfect for a summer afternoon picnic or an evening with friends.

I chose to do a coffee cacao balsamic vinaigrette, which has loads of flavor and brings out the diverse tastes throughout eat bite. I added in hazelnuts and shredded aged gouda cheese to bring out the nutty cocoa and coffee flavors of the balsamic vinaigrette. I am partial to making vinaigrettes a few hours in advance so all of the flavors can have the chance to develop, so if you have the time to make this a day or even just a few hours ahead you should totally do so.

Moving on to the herbs, I picked some fresh mint and lemon basil, which pairs well with the sweet and citrus flavors of the fruit.

I added in spelt as a source of hearty whole grains, for your palate and health :). I found the chewy texture of the spelt paired well with the entire salad.

Make sure to wash all fruits and veggies before consumption! Oh, and try to buy as much local produce as you can.




Try to use as much local produce as you can :)

Serves 2-4


  • 1 cup strawberries, halved
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 5-6 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked spelt
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, cut into segments
  • 2-3 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts
  • 2-3 ounces aged gouda, grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Coffee Cacao Balsamic Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4-1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons stone ground mustard
  • 1 inch chunk of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs
  • 1 teaspoon ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw cacao powder
  • .5-1 tsp teaspoons ground red pepper (optional)



1. Make vinaigrette first, so that flavors have a chance to meld and develop. Add all ingredients into a mason jar or container and mix well. If using a mason jar, simply seal the lid and shake to combine all ingredients! Set aside in fridge. NOTE: This makes extra dressing, only use as you need for your salad. The rest will store in the fridge in an air-tight container.

2. For the salad, add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.

3. Top with more grated gouda and vinaigrette, then serve!

4. Store salad in fridge if there are any leftovers