I don't know about you, but during the summer I tend to not eat as much. Then when I do eat, all I want is something refreshing and bright. Salads have always been one of my favorite foods. Even as a 4 year old, I would just munch on lettuce. I must be part rabbit, I am pretty bouncy after all...
My husband is a simple guy, and especially so when it comes to salads. I am always looking for different options to mix it up! This one is a happy winner in our house. Especially when strawberries are on super sale! It is such a refreshing salad that is full of flavor.
This salad is by no means "structured".
So just play around with it! Everyone's taste buds are different. Below is my recipe that works for us!
Salad Recipe: (feeds approximately 2 people)
- fresh spinach, about 2 cups
- crisp romaine lettuce, about 1/2 a head
- strawberries, 5-7
- diced white onion, 1/2 cup
- dried cranberries, 1/3 cup
- roasted salted almonds (you can use pre-sliced, or toss them in your food processor and lightly crumble)
- avocado, 1/2 of one large
- handful of fresh mint leaves
- salt and fresh black pepper
*optional - crumbled feta cheese (I am dairy free, so I forgo it)
*optional - baked Italian chicken
Start by lightly chopping your fresh romaine. *I always use a salad spinner to make sure it is clean and drained. This keeps it crispy and ensures it is completely free of little buggies and anything it may have been sprayed with.* Combine spinach and romaine in a large bowl, lightly salt and pepper. Wash and slice your strawberries, cutting off the green. Add strawberries to your salad. Evenly spread diced onion, cranberries and almonds over the top. Lightly salt and pepper. Slice & dice avocado, use your hands to place avocado evenly around the salt. Top with fresh mint leaves.
* If using chicken: I like to use chicken tenderloins for salads. They cook quickly and usually come in a big pack. Make sure any fat or veins are trimmed off. You can do a quick marinade with olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and mint. Even as little as 30 minutes of marinating can add immense flavor and helps keep your meet juicy while cooking.
Line an oven safe dish with foil, (easy cleanup) and lightly spray with a nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken on foil and add fresh mint leaves. Bake at 425 for 25-30 mins. Let chicken cool before adding to salad!
*Personal tip: I pack hubby's lunch for him everyday. Chicken tenderloin packs are perfect because they cook super quick. I'll usually utilize some for dinner one night. Then I'll separate the remaining chicken in sandwich size ziplock bags withdifferent marinades, (such as BBQ, or Asian style). This way, I have good protein options readily available and hubs doesn't end up in a boring lunch rut. They really cool on the stovetop super quick! Baking in the oven takes a little longer, but helps keep all the moisture! Our house truly will smell like chicken at 8am occasionally. Be forewarned!*
2 tsp minced garlic (or garlic powder if you are out of fresh)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 hot water (Microwave water for 1 min, or boil water and let cool a bit)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp EVOO or Avocado oil (I prefer to use avocado, so light!)
Salt & Pepper
In a small bowl or food processor combine garlic and mustard until well blended. Stir or whisk in balsamic vinegar, hot water and sugar. Slowly add in oil until completely emulsified. Salt and pepper to taste.
This salad makes the perfect side dish for any summer meal. Add chicken to make it a wholesome lunch or a light dinner. If using feta cheese, simply crumble over the top! Keep the dressing separate, that way any leftovers can be saved. It will keep for approximately 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
We love food. Who doesnt? Ash loves to cook, and Lex loves to bake. Perfect duo right? Dinner. Desert. Wine. DONE.