Today, I’ve got an all-time favorite for you. Strawberry Spinach Salad, a classic in my household! And, once you try it, should soon be in yours.
As the sun beats down harder, our plates tend to lighten up, don’t they? Our palates call out for something bright, bursting, and brimming with health. A salad, you might think. And you’d be spot on.
Funny enough, my household has a tough crowd. My better half and our two sprightly lads, well, let’s just say greens aren’t usually their first pick. But this salad? They can’t get enough of it.
You have to taste it to believe it! Juicy strawberries, spinach strong enough to hold its own, and the contrasting bite of blue cheese. It’s a symphony, a harmony of flavors that’ll have even the fussiest eaters asking for seconds.
All right, brace yourself for this culinary adventure. You see, we’re set to delve into a comprehensive guide, like a roadmap to gourmet greatness. Picking strawberries, you ask? Step one, right there. A delicate task, but we’ll handle it, a little at a time.
Choosing the Perfect Strawberries
Strawberries are the shining stars of our salad, and choosing the right ones can make all the difference. Whether you’re shopping at a grocery store or your local farmer’s market, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- First, take a good look at the strawberries. They should be bright red, with no white or green patches. The size doesn’t necessarily determine the sweetness, so don’t be swayed by the biggest berries on the stand.
- Next, give them a gentle squeeze. They should be firm, but not hard. Overly soft strawberries are usually overripe, which can make your salad mushy.
- Sniff the strawberries. Yes, you read that right! Strawberries should have a noticeably sweet, fragrant aroma. If they don’t smell like anything, chances are good that they won’t taste like much either.
- Finally, check the leaves. They should be vibrant green and fresh-looking. Wilted or brown leaves are a sign that the strawberries are past their prime.
Now, if you’re lucky enough to live near a pick-your-own farm, I highly recommend making a family trip out of it.
My pair of young explorers love the thrill of scouting out the juiciest, ripest berries. Truth be told, sinking your teeth into strawberries plucked straight off the vine, now that’s a flavor that’s hard to match!
It’s also an entertaining, hands-on method to show youngsters how our meals start from nature.
Now, picking out the best strawberries might feel like just a tiny piece of the puzzle. But, hold up, let me tell you, it flips the script on your Strawberry Spinach Salad. Suddenly, it’s a different game altogether.
Exciting Variations to Try
The flexibility of cooking at home is a huge advantage. This Strawberry Spinach Salad is another one of my recipes that I love to change up and personalize. Let’s explore some exciting variations that can make this salad uniquely yours.
If you’re looking to mix up the leafy greens, maybe try some spinach if you prefer. Mixed greens can provide a different flavor profile and add a variety of textures to your salad.
Cheese contributes to the overall taste of this salad and is a critical ingredient. While I use blue cheese crumbles in my original recipe, feel free to substitute it with Feta, Gorgonzola, or your favorite cheese. Each cheese will offer a distinct flavor, transforming your salad in unexpected ways.
Craving a hearty crunch in your leafy greens? Think about swapping those sweet, honey-kissed pecans for walnuts, maybe almonds, or dare we suggest, pumpkin seeds?
Ever crave a flavor that packs a punch? Picture thinly sliced rings of red onions adding their unique piquancy. Imagine their sharp taste dancing on your tongue, mingling with the sweet notes of strawberry, sparking a symphony of sensations.
But remember, in the salad world, balance is king. It’s all about striking a harmony between your chosen additions, ensuring none overshadow the gentle sweetness of strawberries or the spinach’s humble earthiness.
Dabble, test, have fun. Seek out the blend that hits the spot for you. Isn’t that the beauty of cooking? Crafting a dish that’s uniquely, unapologetically, you.
Can You Make This Strawberry Spinach Salad Ahead?
We’ve all been there, rushing to finish dinner because it’s been a busy day. Or maybe an up-and-coming party, and you want to complete as much as you can in advance.
The question is, can you prepare this Strawberry Spinach Salad in advance? The answer is yes, with a few considerations.
The components of this salad can certainly be prepared ahead of time.
- You can wash and dry your spinach or mixed greens. Then store them in a salad spinner or a bag with a paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.
- The strawberries can be hulled and sliced, and the cheese can be crumbled. If you’re adding chicken, this can also be cooked and stored separately.
Where timing really matters is in assembling the salad. The greens and strawberries, once dressed, can wilt and become soggy if left for too long. Therefore, I recommend tossing everything together just before serving.
Taking a salad to a gathering, like a picnic or a potluck? Here’s a trick. Keep the dressing packed away, apart from the rest of the salad. Only when it’s munch time, mix in the dressing. This way, your greens stay snappy, and your strawberries remain, well, strawberry-ish.
Does this require a bit of thought? Sure, it does. But hey, it also makes your salad a prepare-in-advance kind of deal. And that means a yummy, worry-free meal is just waiting for you, whenever you want it. Isn’t that a great way of finding sanity?
Looking for great ways to store your greens? Wash, dry, and stick them in a salad spinner or a bag. Pop in a paper towel and it’ll catch up any lingering moisture.
And those lovely strawberries? When they’re all hulled and sliced, find an airtight container that will fit them well. Nestle the slices in there. They’ll keep in your fridge for a day or two.
What about the cheese? Oh, and the nuts? Well, they’ll need their own airtight containers. Stash them in the fridge as well. Remember, your nuts will go bad quicker than you’d think if not kept cool.
Got your dressing ready? Great, you’ll need yet another airtight container. Stick it in the fridge and it’ll wait patiently for you.
Combined your salad already? Hold tight on adding the dressing, if you can. If you’ve gone ahead and already mixed it all up, try to finish it in a day or two. Your salad doesn’t want to get soggy any more than you would prefer it to!
Frequently Asked Questions
Strawberries aren’t in season. What can I use instead?
Great question! Peaches, blackberries, raspberries… take your pick. Just make sure it’s something sweet and juicy. You want to keep the balance of your salad, right?
Not a fan of blue cheese. Can I use something else?
Absolutely. The world is your cheesy oyster. Try Feta. Or Gorgonzola. Or even your favorite cheese. Each one will give your salad a whole new taste. Go wild. Experiment.
I want more protein. What can I do?
Chicken’s your answer. Grilled, preferably. Or boiled eggs. Chickpeas, too. Any of these will add an extra protein punch to your satisfying salad. And give it a little extra oomph.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
- 1 Large bunch of fresh spinach
- 1 Cup Sliced strawberries
- 1/4 Cup Blue cheese crumbles
- 1/2 Cup Honey roasted or candied pecans
- Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing
- In a large bowl, toss the spinach, blue cheese crumbles, and pecans.
- Mix strawberries into the spinach salad mixture.
- Top with the salad dressing of your choice and serve.