Basic and simple was my mantra this week. I had a blast in San Diego over Memorial Day weekend which also means I ate a ton of crap. I believe I had something like 3 burritos in 2 days lol. After all that, I knew I needed something healthy to get me back on track. Salad is a dish I associate with summer. They are fresh and simple to make, and I think they can be quite tasty if you know just what to put in them.
The start of summer always gets me super excited as I love love love summer fruits. Strawberries are one of my favorite summer fruits. I always look forward to the start of summer just to get my hands on these red beauties. I had never used them in a salad before so I wanted to think up a salad recipe that incorporates this fruit. The resulting dish was a strawberry salad that included strawberries, quinoa, candied valnuts, feta cheese, argula, spinach, and baby lettuce. This was far yummier than I had imagined, and it’s vegetarian! Being a huge meat lover, I always get excited when I find vegetarian dishes that give meat dishes a run for their money.
I had initially wanted to add some pan seared chicken to this dish, but it didn’t work out quite as well as I hoped. I seem to always have trouble with chicken. It’s my kryptonite. Chicken is actually harder to cook than it looks. Most of the time, I overcook the outside and undercook the inside. I still haven’t quite figured it out yet. Maybe cooking it at a lower temperature for a longer period of time? The chicken I made ended up overcooked on the outside, undercooked on the inside, and just dry in general. I didn’t like how it looked so I just tossed it instead of eating it. Thankfully, this dish tastes just as good without meat.
A few notes about the ingredients I used for this salad. I used a mango balsamic vinegar instead of normal balsamic. The one I have is from The Olive Press which I picked up on one of my visits to Sonoma. I love this balsamic vinegar. The mango flavor adds that little something extra and it works well in so many different dishes. The greens that I used for this dish are from the Sorrento salad mix from Trader Joe’s. I got a little lazy and didn’t want to peel or cut any veggies this time around which is why I got a salad mix. Anything to save time right?
Strawberry Salad with Candied Walnuts and Feta Cheese
Dressing: Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pepper, salt, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Cut the strawberries into thin pieces and set aside.
Add the quinoa, strawberries, arugula, spinach, lettuce, walnuts, and cherry tomatoes to a large salad bowl. Add in 3 tablespoons of the dressing to the bowl. You won't use all of the dressing. Toss the salad until the dressing is well incorporated.
Fork the mixture into a plate. Add feta cheese to taste and enjoy!