Today for lunch I made a Strawberry Balsamic Salad recipe. It was SO good!!! I live in California and right now we are surrounded by local, fresh strawberries. There are several strawberry stands close to my home and it is my favorite time of year to get fresh strawberries. I have never had their equal! So fresh, such an intense flavor, and just crying out to be put into a healthy salad. I made a balsamic poppy seed vinaigrette dressing using raw unfiltered orange blossom honey – another specialty in California. The orange blossoms are overwhelmingly strong and sweet and make the most delectable honey with a hint of an orange flavor. I topped this salad with some lemon pepper chicken, cucumbers, green onions, and roasted almonds for a complete meal! This Strawberry Balsamic Salad has a delightful combination of flavors that are sure to please. I it completely satisfying and delicious. Goodbye boring salads, hello Strawberry Balsamic Salad!!!
Making this Strawberry Balsamic Salad is easy.
To make the Strawberry Balsamic Salad, I started by cooking my chicken. I thinly sliced it (fajita syle) and put it in a skillet with 1 tsp. of olive oil. I then added 1 T of freshly squeezed lemon juice and sprinkled on some salt and pepper. I sauteed the chicken until it was no longer pink. It is also delicious grilled, but if you are in a hurry, this is a quick way to do it and adds a really nice lemon flavor which complements the strawberries really well.
The next thing I did was to roast my almonds. I put them on a baking sheet and roasted them at 300 degrees F for about 5 minutes. You need to watch them closely so that they don’t burn. I bought my almonds already sliced to make it easy, but you can also use raw almonds and chop them by hand. I LOVE oven roasted almonds. They give a healthy crunch to your salad and are a nice addition.
The key to a good Strawberry Balsamic Salad is fresh local strawberries!
While not everyone is lucky enough to live close to a strawberry stand, if you are, it makes SUCH a difference to buy fresh, local strawberries. They taste best if used that same day or the very next day. I can’t tell you how amazing they are! We get ours from the local Hmong farmers. I love seeing where my food comes from and watching it grow, anticipating the harvest season. Simply amazing:) They can be used on top of your cereal, with cottage cheese and pears, or in a layered fruit parfait with homemade honey walnut granola. If you can’t buy local, buy the freshest strawberries you can find.
The next step is to prepare your strawberries. I wash them, cut the stems off (you can use the stems in a green smoothie if you want, just toss them in a bag in the freezer for later use or feed them to your chickens if you are lucky enough to have them), and then thinly slice them into bite-sized pieces. I set them aside in a bowl and then make my dressing.
The thing that really makes the Strawberry Balsamic Salad stand out is the orange honey poppy seed balsamic dressing. So simple, but SO good!
The balsamic poppy seed dressing is very simple. I like to put all the ingredients into a cruet, put a lid on, and then shake them to mix them together. The dressing uses 3 T olive oil, 2 T balsamic vinegar, 1 T orange honey (you can use plain if you want, it will just be a slightly different flavor), 1/4 tsp. salt, dash of pepper, and 1/4 tsp. poppy seeds. The balsamic vinegar gives the dressing an intense flavor. You can also experiment with white vinegar or raspberry vinegar. Each time the flavor will be slightly different. Shake the dressing and set it aside while you finish your chopping.
For the salad, I bought a box of baby spinach and baby spring salad greens. I also got some cucumber and scored the outside peel with a zester. I then cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scooped out the seeds with a small spoon. Then I chopped it into bite-sized pieces. I also got two green onions and chopped them (greens and all) to sprinkle on top of my Strawberry Balsamic Salad.
The last step is to layer the ingredients on your plate and drizzle with the orange honey balsamic poppy seed dressing. You can also put everything into a large salad bowl and toss with all the dressing just before serving. Only do this right before serving and if you think you will eat it all the same day as it wilts over night. It makes a great salad for a pot luck dinner. I have never had leftovers when I’ve brought it to a function.
That’s it! You are now one step closer to making an amazing salad. Why not try today?
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 c strawberries, washed and sliced
- 2 green onions, sliced
- ½ cucumber
- ⅓ c oven roasted almonds
- 8 c spring salad mix and baby spinach
- 3 T olive oil
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T orange blossom honey
- ¼ tsp. salt
- dash of pepper
- ¼ tsp. poppy seeds
- Thinly slice chicken breast.
- Place chicken into a hot skillet and add olive oil and lemon juice.
- Salt and pepper and saute until no longer pink. Set aside chicken.
- To mix together the dressing, put all the ingredients into a cruet and shake vigorously until mixed. Shake again just before using. Set aside.
- Roast the sliced almonds in a 300 degree F oven for about 5 minutes or until golden.
- Slice strawberries and green onions.
- Use a zester to score the outside peel of a cucumber. Cut in half and scoop seeds out with a small spoon. Slice into bite-sized pieces.
- Wash baby spinach and spring salad.
- Layer ingredients into a salad bowl and toss with dressing just before serving. OR layer onto individual plates and drizzle with dressing just before serving.