and Roasted Strawberry Lemon Vinaigrette
Hurrah it’s spring! It doesn’t feel very spring-like here right now, but a week ago it did. The stores are tempting us with loads of springtime treasures … there are strawberries a-plenty and, although they are not exactly local strawberries (because let’s face it, it might technically be spring here, but there isn’t much of ANYTHING growing yet), they are a welcome sign of spring and I’ll totally take that! We winter-living folks need some fresh fruits and veggies sometimes in the midst of our dreary weather.
In the spring, I loves me a good strawberry salad. Something about spring just makes me think salad and berries. I decided to try roasting the strawberries for the vinaigrette this time … it’s a much softer tasting dressing and it took a little tweaking for me to get it to the point where I think it has enough flavor to put on a salad. It was the addition of the lemon juice (and the basil) that made the dressing. Strawberries and lemons and basil are just SO good together!
If you make this salad with chicken nuggets (I am seriously NOT a fan of chicken nuggets but totally love a salad with good crunchy chicken chunks on it), you’ll only need about 4 nuggets per serving or two chicken tenders. The rest of the meal is filled with greens, berries, cheese and dressing and it is very satisfying. Of course, you don’t have to use breaded chicken … you can use leftover chicken from your last meal.
I’ve found that if I listen carefully while I eat this salad, I can truly feel my body soaking up the nourishment (like a plant that is soaking up water) and my taste buds rejoicing in the burst of springtime flavors.
- 1 lb. strawberries, tops removed, cut in half/quarter
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons orange muscat champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar (I used a mix of the two)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- Juice of 1 lemon (roughly 2 Tablespoons lemon juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Several fresh basil leaves
- a pinch of cayenne
- a pinch of garlic powder
- salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Chicken nuggets or tenders, cooked, or pre-cooked chicken, chopped
- Baby spinach leaves or mixed greens
- Sweet onion, very thinly sliced
- Fresh strawberries, tops cut off, cut in slices
- Goat cheese crumbles
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. In a small mixing bowl, toss the strawberries with the olive oil until they are all lightly coated in oil. Put the berries in a well-rimmed baking pan (to catch the juices) and roast at 400 for 30 - 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a bit.
- When the berries are cooler (at least lukewarm), put them in a mini food processor along with all the juices from the pan and the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients and process until smooth.
- For the salad: cook up or warm the chicken. While the chicken is warming, fill your salad bowl or plate with lots of good greens. Sprinkle with thinly sliced sweet onion and strawberries, then the goat cheese crumbles. Right at serving time add the chicken. Add basil flowers for garnish if you have them (or wild violets or violas). Serve with the dressing for generously drizzling over top.
For a gluten free salad, use gluten free chicken.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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