Strawberry Fields… For Mealtime
Y’all. It’s been a hot minute since we have had serious food related posts. Over the past serveral weeks/months we have gone back and forth about whether or not to include recipes and other food things. We ultimately decided that food is definitely something that at least Ashleigh and I geek out about and should therefore be included until such a time that good food no longer becomes an obsession… so basically forever.
In my quest to be a healthier me, with the aid of ridiculously cheap and delicious produce at my local grocery store, I have been experimenting a LOT with salads and other fruit and veggie methods and recipes. I’m not sure why, but the idea of fruit in a green salad always squicked my out when I was younger. Seriously, I have no explanation for this, other than I thought that vegetables (with the exception of a tomato) went in green salads and fruit belonged specifically in fruit salads. Oh, how naive I was. Over the course of the past 7-10 years I have learned to love a fruity green salad.
Strawberries in salad was the first successful introduction of fruit and leafy greens for me. I remember my parents had gone to a fancy dinner at a steak house in Dallas and came home raving about this amazing salad with strawberries and spring mix topped with caramelized pecans, bleu cheese, and a strawberry (or was it raspberry?) vinaigrette. A week or so later they bought all the fixins for it and tested it on my sister and me. It took me a little while to warm up to it, but I didn’t hate it, which was a win for me.
For the past few months I have been experimenting with green salads. Back in the winter months I played around with a kale and roasted beet salad… it was good, but I think I’ve decided that kale and I aren’t very good friends. It’s a good addition to other things, but I don’t like it as the star. The various culinary experiments brings us to my go-to salad of the summer which I’m calling Strawberry Fields. This combination of quinoa, feta, almonds and strawberries tossed with baby spinach is definitely one you will want to keep on hand. It’s great for a healthy and filling lunch or a refreshing dinner when the heat of the summer has you bogged down. You know what it’s also excellent for? Potlucks. In fact, this is exactly what I brought to my office potluck today. Our theme was “Summer Picnic” and I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate than this tasty salad. And as far as I can tell, it was a major hit!
It’s hard to say exactly how much of these ingredients you will need. Really, it depends on if you are making just a small salad for you, or if you are making a larger salad for a crowd. Basically you will want the most spinach, then strawberries, then quinoa, then almonds, and finally a sprinkling of feta. I like a strong balsamic flavor, but a lot of people don’t. The oil and vinegar is to your preference.
Fresh baby spinach
Fresh, ripe strawberries
Sliced or slivered almonds
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook quinoa according to package and allow to cool so you don’t wilt the spinach. Remember to rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before cooking!
Slice strawberries. I prefer slices, however if you prefer, they could also my quartered.
Once the qunioa is cooled, toss the spinach, strawberries, quinoa, almonds, and feta together. Trickle some balsamic and extra virgin olive oil over the top and enjoy!
Let me know what you think! Also, share your favorite summery salads in the comments below!