3 Simple Steps to Prepare Strawberry Salad

 

Strawberry Salad with Pecans & Feta

In a recent post, Keys to Making Fresh Asparagus Salad with Pecans, I mentioned that one sign of spring’s arrival is the presence of fresh, tender asparagus at the grocery store. Yet another sign of spring is the arrival of fresh, fragrant, juicy red strawberries to the grocery store or produce stand. One of my favorite salads to prepare during the spring months, when strawberries are at their peak flavor, is Strawberry Salad with Pecans and Feta Cheese. Strawberry Salad is a wonderful, “company-worthy” salad, and it’s visually appealing with the beautiful contrast of the green leaves with the redness of the berries.

Strawberry Salad with Pecans and Feta Cheese has the saltiness of feta cheese contrasted with the sweetness of the strawberries and the crunchiness of the toasted pecans. What a wonderful combination of flavors! I really like homemade salad dressings, and this salad dressing  really enhances the salad.

Step One: Toast the Pecans & Cap the Berries


Toasting nuts really brings out their flavor! Nuts can be toasted in a skillet on top of the stove or placed in the oven at 350°F. for 5 minutes or so. Keep a close eye on the nuts while they are toasting because they can go from “just right” to “burnt” in just the blink of an eye!

While the pecans are toasting, cap the berries and slice them into halves or quarters, to your preference.

Step Two: Prepare the Salad Dressing

To make the salad dressing for the Strawberry Salad, place the dressing ingredients in a glass jar or bottle with a lid and shake well. The salad dressing is made of white wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper and fresh or dried dill. Honey, agave or your favorite sweetener can be substituted for the sugar in this dressing recipe.

Step Three: Combine the Salad Ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the spring mix salad greens, strawberries, crumbled feta cheese and toasted pecans. (Optional: If you like bacon, you can add it too. I tried it with bacon and I liked it!) Add the salad dressing just prior to when you want to serve the Strawberry Salad and give it a good toss to distribute the dressing evenly over the salad.

The Recipe

Strawberry Salad with Pecans & Feta Cheese
Serves 6
Sweet strawberries at their seasonal peak contrasts wonderfully with this savory and salty salad.
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Dressing
  1. 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar (or less)
  4. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  5. Salt & Pepper to taste
Salad
  1. 6 cups spring mix salad greens
  2. 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  3. 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  4. Optional: 4 slices bacon, fried, drained & crumbled
Instructions
  1. Dressing: Whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, dill, salt and pepper. (Or place the ingredients in a jar or bottle with a lid and give it a good shake!)
  2. Salad: Toss strawberries, greens, pecans, feta cheese and bacon (if using) with dressing.
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

 Tips for Preparing Strawberries

Strawberries need to remain on the plant to fully ripen because they don’t continue to ripen after being picked. When choosing strawberries choose red, ripe fruit, not the berries with patches of yellow or white on them. Strawberries maintain their nutritional value for only a few days so buy them just before you plan to eat them to maintain optimal nutrition, flavor and color.

Since they are very perishable, strawberries should not be washed until right before eating or using in a recipe. Do not remove their caps and stems until after you have gently washed the berries under cold running water and patted them dry. To remove the stems, caps and white hull, simply pinch these off with your fingers or use a paring knife.

To freeze strawberries, first gently wash them and pat them dry. You can either remove the cap and stem or leave them intact, depending upon what you will do with them once they are thawed. Arrange them in a single layer on a flat pan or cookie sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the berries to a heavy plastic bag and return them to the freezer where they will keep for up to one year. Adding a bit of lemon juice to the berries will help to preserve their color. While strawberries can be frozen whole, cut or crushed, they will retain a higher level of their vitamin C content if left whole.

Tasty Tips for Using Strawberries:

*Add sliced strawberries to mixed green salad. (See above recipe!)

*Layer sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and plain yogurt in a wine glass to make a parfait dessert.
 
*Add strawberries to breakfast shakes to give them a more vibrant taste and texture.
 
*Add strawberries to breakfast cereals.
 

Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese, and health-promoting antioxidants. Three and a half ounces of strawberries contain only 33 calories, making them a great choice for a snack.

The fragrantly sweet juiciness and deep red color of strawberries brighten up the taste and appearance of any meal! Have some strawberries soon!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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Simple and Elegant Cashew Blueberry Salad

 A Holiday-Worthy and Company-Worthy Salad

I like using the term “company-worthy” when describing a dish I think is special enough to serve to company. Today, I’ll go one step further and also add “holiday-worthy” to this wonderful Cashew Blueberry Salad.  I’ve used the term “company-worthy” in the past to describe my recipes for Chicken Paprika (Click Here for that post), Creamy Baked Chicken Breasts (Click here for that post) and Cinnamon Pumpkin Flan (Click Here for that post) because I believe these dishes are exceptional. I use the term “holiday-worthy” to describe a dish that is special enough to serve to company and to serve for the holidays!

Cashew Blueberry Salad

Cashew Blueberry Salad is a wonderful mix of colors, textures and flavors dressed with a homemade salad dressing.  I love homemade salad dressings because they are so fresh, especially compared to commercial bottled dressings. Additional flavors are in the dressing such as chopped onion, ground mustard, poppy seeds, white wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. I have a funny story (on me!) about homemade salad dressing made in a Mason jar which I’ll share a little later in this post. 

First, the salad dressing is prepared by adding all the dressing ingredients to a Mason jar or other container with a lid, covered and shaken until mixed well. My current favorite oils to use in salad dressing are grapeseed or olive oils. Next, place the salad ingredients (romaine lettuce, blueberries, cashews, and shredded Swiss cheese) in a large bowl.  

Pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss until all the salad ingredients are evenly coated with the salad dressing.  Serve and enjoy!


Cashew Blueberry Salad
Serves 6
An exceptional salad featuring romaine lettuce, blueberries, cashews and shredded Swiss cheese with a fresh, homemade dressing.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Salad
  1. 1 10-oz. package romaine salad mix or 3 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  2. 1 cup unsalted cashews
  3. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  4. 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
Dressing
  1. 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  2. 1/4 cup sugar (or less, if desired)
  3. 1 tablespoon of chopped onion
  4. 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  5. 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  8. Dash Worcestershire sauce
  9. 1 cup vegetable oil (grapeseed or olive is good)
Instructions
  1. Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid, close lid tightly and shake jar until ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and toss until all ingredients are well coated with dressing.
Notes
  1. This salad is great to serve to company or with holiday meals.
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Cashew Blueberry Salad goes well with many types of food.  I’ve served it with chicken dishes and Italian pasta dishes and it just seems to enhance any food with which it is served. For people with oral and dental problems, leave out the nuts.  

The Joke Was on Me!

When I was in college my undergraduate major was Home Economics Education.  The head of the Home Economics Department was a woman named Miss Allgood.  She was the author of Demonstration Techniques, the textbook for a class by the same name that each Home Economics major had to enroll in and pass before one could graduate.  (By the way, we were all intimidated by Miss Allgood.)  In the class, Miss Allgood performed a 30-minute food demonstration that was flawless.  We were all aghast at the thought that we had to each perform three 30-minute demonstrations during the months that we were in her class. For one of my demonstrations, I was making 3 different salads, one of which included a homemade salad dressing. I was using a glass jar to mix the salad dressing.  My demonstration was progressing well until it came time to make the salad dressing.  I did not get the lid screwed on tightly on the jar and I started shaking the salad dressing, which started spraying all over me and the demonstration table, which had a mirror over the top so those in the audience could see what your hands were doing! I recovered the best I could by saying “this is the way not to do this – always make sure you have the lid tightly screwed on the jar.”  I managed to pass the course somehow!  

We usually taste-tested the products made by our classmates in this course after their presentations were completed.  Miss Allgood could’t figure out why none of us wanted to taste a cheesecake one morning but what she didn’t know was that we had been forewarned by the presenter that her cat had put it’s paw prints on the cheesecake, which she had smoothed over to show as the finished product!  What a course that was!

By the time I graduated I had learned that Miss Allgood (who had never married) had a good sense of humor as she told us that she looked under her bed every night hoping that a man would be there! 

Well, enough reminiscing!  If you want a truly classy salad to accompany your holiday meals I don’t think you can go wrong with Cashew Blueberry Salad. Try it soon!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

Janet

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A Company Worthy Meal

When family or special friends are coming to my home to share a meal I always want to serve some of my “most favored” recipes – what I refer to as “company worthy” food!  We all have tried and trusted recipes that we fall back on when we want visitors … Continue reading →