Fresh strawberries are in season at farms all around our home, and after out strawberry picking adventure, I’ve been using strawberries in as many meals as possible. One of my favorite ways to use fruit, especially strawberries, is in salads. My husband likes his salads loaded with veggies, bacon, cheese, egg, croutons… the list goes on with no fruit in sight. I, on the other hand, like a simpler salad, and this strawberry spinach salad is one of the best.
First, spinach is such a powerhouse of nutrition, full of iron, vitamin C, calcium (for all of you dairy-free folks out there), and vitamin K. And strawberries aren’t exactly a slouch when it comes to the nutritional value either, they’re a great source of vitamin C and manganese. There’s also fiber to be found in both of these tasty ingredients, so eat up and rest assured you’re doing your body a favor.
Now, everyone has preferences for what they like on salads, but the combination of juicy strawberries, leafy spinach, crisp and crunchy cucumbers, creamy goat cheese, and sweet spiced pecans in this salad are a winner, winner, chicken dinner. In fact, we had this salad along with our chicken for dinner last night, so the rhyme is not all fluff. The spiced pecans are my Granny’s recipe, and if you can wait until they cool to start eating them then I’ll give you a medal. It’s worth a little burn on the tongue to eat these fresh out of the oven. So, let’s get started on how to impress your friends and family by whipping this up to go with dinner.
- Start with the pecans. Beat one egg white with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
2. Add 4 cups of pecans to the egg whites and fold to coat the nuts. 3. Combine 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and a few dashes of cayenne pepper in a bowl and pour over nuts. Mix until all nuts are coated and there is no sugar mix at the bottom of the bowl.
4. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Let cool on sheet, while you snack on them and assemble your salad. (Store extra nuts in an airtight container.)
5. For the salad, wash and spin dry your spinach leaves, place in large bowl or platter. Peel a seedless cucumber, halve and then slice. Top strawberries, cut in half and slice. Spread cucumber and strawberry slices on top of spinach leaves.
6. Using a fork or your fingers, break off small dollops of goat cheese and place over the salad. It’s a messy job but someone has to do it… Finally, break pecans in half and spread over the salad. Voila!
I usually serve this salad with a poppyseed dressing that adds a nice sweetness to compliment the pecans and strawberries. Now, I have my full of oil and sugar recipe, but I’ve recently stumbled upon a lighter version from Love Grows Wild, made with greek yogurt and honey, and I just couldn’t NOT share it. Do yourself a favor and check out her recipe here. We used this dressing on our salad last night and it was delicious!
I’ll have more strawberry recipes coming this week, but I’d love for you to leave a comment and tell me how you like to use fresh strawberries in your cooking!