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Kalyn's Kitchen

Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad

I’d love this flavorful Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad for a special meal; it’s the dressing with pureed grapes that makes this salad so special. And this tasty salad has a lot of options if you want to reduce the carbs or make it easier.

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Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’ve been talking with my sister Val about Thanksgiving dinner plans, so I think the countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun, and this amazing Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad is something that I’m excited to add to the menu. The slightly bitter and spicy flavor of arugula is tamed in a delicious way by the grapes and the grape-infused dressing, and the Manchego adds the perfect touch of savoriness to the salad.

If you don’t have time to make the grape-infused dressing on Thanksgiving, I think this salad would still be wonderful with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  Manchego is an amazingly delicious nutty-flavored cheese from Spain, but if it’s not in the budget or you don’t want to buy cheese just for one salad, any type of dry cheese that can be shaved with a vegetable peeler could be substituted.

Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad found on KalynsKitchen.comSoak the baby arugula in very cold water for a few minutes to crisp the leaves; then spin dry in a salad spinner. (I like to pull off the stems, especially if I’m taking pictures of the salad.) Wash two cups of red grapes, then dry and cut them in half. (You can use a lot less grapes if you want to reduce the sugar in the salad.) If you’re making the grape-infused dressing, take out about 20 grape halves and cut them in half again. Use a food processor or mini-blender to chop the grapes even more; then add the red onion, vinegar, agave, and olive oil and process to make the dressing.  It will be lumpy. (If you don’t have time for this, just use a flavorful balsamic vinaigrette for the salad.) Toss the grapes with a couple of tablespoons of dressing and let them marinate a few minutes.

Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad found on KalynsKitchen.comShave 2-3 tablespoons of thin Manchego slices (or use another type of dry, nutty-flavored cheese like Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino-Romano.) Toast the sliced almonds just until they are getting fragrant. Then add the arugula to the grapes and toss with enough dressing to moisten the salad to your liking.  Serve Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad on individual plates, with some Manchego and almonds topping each salad of course.

More Holiday Salads to Enjoy:

Low-Carb Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Almonds, and Parmesan ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Dried Cranberries ~ That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Green Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad with Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Creamy Pecan Crunch Grape Salad ~ Wishes and Dishes
Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Turkey Cranberry Pasta Salad ~ Spend with Pennies

Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad


Salad Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. baby arugula, washed and spin dry (and stems removed if desired)
  • 2 cups red grapes, cut in half (reserve 10 grapes for dressing; if you’re watching your sugar you can use far less grapes and still have a good salad)
  • 2-3 T shaved Manchego cheese (or more)
  • 2-3 T sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 10 chopped grapes
  • 1 T finely diced red onion (or use a pinch of onion powder)
  • 1 T sherry or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T agave nectar or maple syrup (Use sugar-free maple syrup if you prefer.)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • (If you don’t want to make your own dressing, use 4 T of flavorful balsamic vinaigrette)


  1. Put the arugula in a salad spinner and soak in very cold water for a few minutes to crisp the leaves.  (I like to pull off the stems before I soak it, but that is definitely optional.)  Drain arugula and spin until it’s very dry.  (If you don’t have a salad spinner, soak arugula in a bowl and then drain and dry well with paper towels.)
  2. Wash the grapes, dry well, and cut in half.  If you’re making the grape-infused dressing, chop about 20 of the grape halves in half again and process in a food processor or mini-chopper.  Add the finely minced onion, vinegar, and agave and blend until it’s chunky, then add the olive oil and blend again.  (The dressing will be fairly thin.)
  3. Put the rest of the grapes in a bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients and toss with about 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
  4. Use a vegetable peeler to make thin slices of Manchego (or whatever cheese you’re using.)
  5. Toast the sliced almonds in a dry pan for a minute or two (just until the nuts start to get fragrant.)
  6. Add the arugula to the bowl with the marinating grapes and toss with enough dressing to moisten the salad to your liking.
  7. Serve on individual plates, topping each salad with some Manchego slices and toasted almonds.
  8. Much of the preparation for this salad could be done in advance and stored in the fridge until later in the day.  Crisp the arugula and store in a Ziploc bag, wash and slice grapes and store in a snap-tight container, mix the vinaigrette and store in a jar.  Allow time to let the dressing come to room temperature before you mix the salad.


This recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet/Low-Glycemic Diet/South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad probably has too much sugar for low-carb diet plans. Arugula, cheese, and almonds are good low-glycemic ingredients for the South Beach Diet, but if you’re actively trying to lose weight this salad has quite a bit of sugar, so save it for special occasions!

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
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    12 Comments on “Arugula, Red Grape, and Manchego Holiday Salad”

  1. Ooh, your salad dressing sounds terrific! I don’t know why I never think of adding grapes to a salad, they’re one of my favorite fruits!!!

  2. What a great salad!! Thanks so much for linking to my grape salad! 

  3. Kelly, so glad you like it. (And forget about the T word!)

  4. Love everything about this salad — especially the grapes which are so good in a green salad. Great flavors! And I'm going to pretend you didn't mention the "T" word. Several times. 😀

  5. I love a good salad – we usually have hot vegetables for Thanksgiving, but I'm thinking a salad would be a nice change. My kids resist when I switch up our menu, so even if they don't go for it, I'm definitely making this for myself!

  6. I'm a huge fan of arugula salad and it really is perfect with a it of sweet and salty mixed in! The perfect combination of flavors!

  7. This looks so fresh and light, mmmmmmm can't wait to try, thanks!

  8. Looks like a perfect fall salad to me. I especially love grapes on my salad!

  9. What a glorious combination of flavors and textures! I love the idea of using red grapes in the salad dressing.

  10. This salad sounds fantastic! Love the grapes. I've been looking for a great salad to balance out the rest of our Thanksgiving meal, and this one sounds like a winner.