My mother-in-law has a massive strawberry patch that she tends to every year. One year, prior to Josiah and I getting married, I spent an afternoon with her picking some strawberries and quickly came to appreciate the labor that goes into harvesting these precious gems. I gained a lot from our time together: 1. life advice and appropriate convincing to not apply to Pharmacy school (even though I actually love chemistry) 2. knowledge that store bought strawberries would never be the same and 3. insight into the work that goes into harvesting strawberries and a much stronger appreciation for them.
From this new found appreciation I've come to learn that I absolutely love to eat strawberries straight up, so that's what I tend to do. However, when I'm in need of a more substantial meal and not just a treat, I like to throw some strawberries on a salad, top it with nuts, drizzle with a little dressing and call it a day. It's become a regular rotation around here because it's as delicious as it is simple. I've come to love this salad as a quick lunch and an easy dish to take to potlucks. It's dairy-free and gluten-free if those are concerns for you, but if not, I'm certain you'll enjoy it too!
A few notes before you jump in:
Nuts toasted using the stove top method will not be uniformly browned, but more mottled in appearance. Make sure to keep watching the nuts. Take your eyes off the progress at the wrong point for 30 seconds and you'll find yourself throwing out a pan full of burnt and bitter nuts.
The dressing recipe stays the same every time I make it, but the ratio of strawberries and nuts to lettuce really just depends on what I have on hand because that's how I roll.
Spring Greens + Strawberry Salad with Toasted Cashews and Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 6 cups spring greens
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup cashews, toasted
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
For toasting the cashews, heat a skillet on medium and then add the cashews. Spread the nuts out in an even layer and heat over medium, shaking often – don't overcrowd your nuts. Keep stirring or shaking for about 5 minutes, or until nuts are fragrant and browned. Nuts toasted using the stove top method will not be uniformly browned, but more mottled in appearance.
For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a mason jar and shake. Or whisk together in a small bowl.
To assemble the salad, place the lettuce in a large bowl and top with the strawberries and cashews. Serve with the dressing on the side.