Happy Monday, lovelies! I thought we could start off the week fresh with a bright, bold, and beautiful salad. We love to eat salads year-round, but I feel like spring and summer is when we get the best ingredients for salads like this one. This is one of my favorite salads on the planet. We had it at a family birthday gathering recently, and it seriously was all I could do to not dive into the giant bowl of greens and berries right in front of me on the table. I did have three helpings, though, but with the giant baby belly bump present, people tend to ask less questions. :)
Instead of the usual berry-spinach classic salad combo, I added in some key ingredients that make this salad really pop on the plate. Each compliment the overall flavor and texture of the salad, and each would be perfect to serve alongside whatever you're having for dinner tonight. Lots of color, lots of flavor. Let's jump right in!
I think that each salad like this should have at least two kinds of berries. You can go with raspberries or even blueberries, if you'd like. But my favorite combination of berries are those bold and bright ruby red strawberries, and the sweet & tangy blackberries. I love all the little bumps on the sides of the blackberries - it really adds such a lovely texture and visual contrast to the rest of the salad.
Next, I know there are a lot of onion-haters out there. Trust me, though, red onions, sliced as thinly as possible, make this dish even more incredible. There has to be some kind of savory crunch in there - with that soft zing of the red onion, we've definitely arrived at flavor town.
Next, candied walnuts. Almonds would be lovely here, too. I love the heartiness of the nuts with the soft, sweet berries. Candying the walnuts is super-easy, and takes less than 2 minutes to do, start to finish. You can skip this step if you'd like, but trust me - do it.
Did you see the bacon in there?! THIS is seriously another ingredient that makes this salad so gosh darned addicting. I swear every ingredient is amazing in this one, but I don't know a lot of non-bacon lovers, so I'm sure almost everyone would go crazy for this salad if they see even a smidge of bacon on the plate.
Finally, we need some cheese. Feta is soft, had a great white color over the bed of bright reds and greens, but doesn't dominate the salad with a stinky or strong cheese flavor. I've seen blue cheese on salads like this, and it makes me want to pull all my hair out. There are so many gorgeous things going on here, why ruin it with something stinky with a capital S, man?! Feta is good. Let's all say it together.
Last but not least, this dressing. OH MY HEAVENS, this dressing. It is fantastic. Strawberry and Lime with poppyseeds and a bit of honey/agave. I mean, it's sweet, but not too sweet, and doesn't have that harsh vinegar taste to it (even though I'm still calling it a vinaigrette against the rules. haha). It's soft, and just beautifully drizzles over the salad with it's ruby red serenity. I can't even handle it. We had some leftover and just drizzled it on our salad for the next couple days-worth of salads at dinner. It's definitely one of those dressings you're going to want in your back pocket to wow your guests or friends/family at any gathering.
Hope you all had a fun weekend, and are all ready to tackle this crazy week! We have some fun plans for our family this week, and I seriously can't wait to get some much-needed R&R with the sand under my feet. :) Don't worry, though, the recipes will keep coming on the blog just for you fine people. Love you all, and we'll see you back here on Wednesday with another amazing recipe! xoxo
Berry Spinach Salad with
Strawberry Lime Vinaigrette
makes 6 servings
ingredients:baby spinach and kale greens
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, crumbled
*1/4 C candied walnuts
1/2 C chopped strawberries
1/4 C lime juice
1/4 C olive oil
1 T poppy seeds
1 T agave nectar or honey
salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large bowl, toss together the salad ingredients. Make vinaigrette by placing all the dressing ingredients into a small blender or food processor (I just used our smoothie blender). Dress salad to taste.
*Saute walnuts carefully until lightly toasted. Add in 3 Tablespoons sugar and heat over medium until sugar melts. Pour onto parchment paper and let harden on parchment paper until cooled.
Recipe source: Baking with Blondie