April 5, 2013

A Sweet Little Summer Salad: Mixed Greens with Strawberries, Sugared Almonds, Feta and Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing

Okay, so I know it's not Summer yet...hell, it's just barely beginning to look like Spring around here...but this is such a tasty little salad that I had to share so you can enjoy it all Spring and Summer long.

Here's the thing with salads, for me: I love a great salad when I'm out at a restaurant, but most of the salads I make at home are just "fine." I think I've finally figured out why. Store-bought salad dressing generally sucks. And every salad should have some sort of toasted or candied nut on it. I think that might be it.

Here's something else I just learned: making incredibly yummy homemade salad dressing is ridiculously easy! I don't think I'm stretching the truth when I say I do not plan to buy bottled salad dressing ever again. I have had three different homemade dressings in the last month and all were both easy and DELICIOUS.

So this little ditty I'm sharing with you today is a fabulous mix of flavors...strawberries + sugared almonds + feta = flavor party in your mouth. Seriously. And it's so simple...though you will have to bust-out the food processor or blender for the dressing. Most dressings you can do with just a bowl and a whisk, but this one has actual pureed strawberries in it. Trust me, it's worth the effort. So, here you go...you can thank me later.

Strawberry Salad with Sugared Almonds (adapted from simplebites.net)
Salad greens (Your choice. I used romaine hearts, but you could do mixed greens or baby spinach)
1 c. sliced strawberries
1/2 c. sliced almonds
2-3 tbsp sugar
Crumbled feta (I used low-fat feta)
Strawberry poppyseed dressing (see below)

To prepare the sugared almonds, heat small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sugar and almonds. Cook and stir until nuts are golden and coated with the melted sugar. Spread on foil to cool. (Note: When I served the almonds on the salads, they had "set" in little clumps, so I crumbled the clumps a bit as I sprinkled them on the salads.) Fill bowls with salad greens and top with strawberries, sugared almonds and feta, then drizzle with dressing.

Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. sliced strawberries
3/4 tsp poppyseeds

Place vinegar, sugar, salt and ground mustard in blender and pulse to mix. Slowly drizzle in oil while mixing. Then add sliced strawberries and mix until combined and creamy. Finally, add poppyseeds and mix again to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Enjoy! And, until next time, happy cooking!

(Note: Thanks to simplebites.net for the food photo, since I forgot to take one.)

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