Authentic Michigan Cherry Salad Recipe

Authentic Michigan Cherry Salad Recipe

The “Michigan Salad” or “Michigan Cherry Salad” can be found at restaurants all around Northern Michigan, and the Metro Detroit area is and is one salad recipe you will love to have for your summer events. The star of the show are the cherries, as Michigan is the nation’s leading producer of several types of cherries and is home to the National Cherry Festival.

While we state here that this is the “Authentic” recipe, there is no specific place of origin or birthplace of the salad. However, the recipe is a unique combination of several components that are necessary to make it an authentic representation of the dish:

  • The greens are not the star of the show, and can be very flexible. A mix of spring greens and baby spinach is our favorite, but this can be made with just either, romaine, or even butter lettuce.
  • Dried cherries are the key ingredient. This can be added to, but not substituted if you want to truly call it a Michigan Salad. Blueberries and raspberries, both also prevalent in Michigan are popular additions.
  • This salad always has one of two cheeses present: Gorgonzola or Blue Cheese, in crumbled form.
  • The counter to the fruit and cheese is the other mandatory component, the nuts. This is almost always either pecans or walnuts. These are included in a variety of ways but toasted or candied is preferred.
  • There are four ingredients that should be considered very important but not essential: sliced red onion, Granny Smith apples – matchsticked, mandarin orange slices (canned) and grape tomatoes, halved.
  • The dressing is almost always a vinaigrette, particularly the raspberry variety, but it is not required for being authentic. When making at home, it is a nice rustic touch to make this in a mason jar.
  • The addition of a protein is very common. Of course, chicken is a very common addition, as it is with many restaurant salads, but turkey, when available, takes the salad to the next level.

Our Authentic Michigan Cherry Salad Recipe Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 5 ounces spring mix
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 granny smith (other varieties work) apple, cut matchstick style
  • 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1 1/4 pounds smoked turkey breast, diced

Raspberry Vinaigrette for Michigan Cherry Salad:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2-3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Note: if you want to really do this from scratch, try this method for making Homemade Raspberry Vinegar!

Authentic Michigan Cherry Salad Preparation:

First, get yourself a very large wooden salad bowl, like theĀ Dansk Wood Classics 16-Inch Round Salad Bowl. These make great gifts, but also investing in a proper wooden bowl for salad prep will make the salad prep an event, and with a quality one, it is something you can pass down to other family members. We leave ours out, and it is sort of a pleasant reminder to make more salads! Anyway, don’t worry about restaurant style prep, this salad is meant to be mixed. Put everything in the bowl and start mixing.

For the dressing, this is the exact same method. Place everything in the blender or food processor and zap until smooth.




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