Ring in the Berry Season!

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Besides warmer weather, more sunshine and the glorious countdown to the end of the school year, May also brings us berries. Vibrant red strawberries, plump pie-ready blueberries, and blackberries bursting with gushy goodness. And oh the double dates we can conjure up:

- strawberries with rhubarb to celebrate the sweet and sour

- blackberries with peaches to create a crisp your friends and family will never forget

- blueberries in pancakes for a yummy start to a warm Sunday morning.

OMG! Mother's Day Pancakes w Personalized Strawberries

Which reminds me of Mother’s Day. My kids have started a tradition of preparing breakfast on Mother’s Day, but with my blog-writing, the stakes seem to have gone up. Boxed pancake mix just isn’t good enough anymore. So they rose early and three tries later, I was eating this plate of blueberry buckwheat pancakes without ever touching a utensil or turning on the stove. But the carved strawberries were the real star of the show, don’t you think?

Marrying Sweet Berries with a Savory Salad

You’ve just bought the six-pack of strawberries at Costco or the Farmer’s Market and you only have 2 or 3 days to polish it off before they are past their prime. How about adding them into your salad ?

Strawberry Spinach Salad tastes as beautiful as it looks!I offered to bring a salad to the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon at my daughter’s school this week. Decided to make something simple but a little different. So I put together a spinach salad with goat cheese, toasted pecans, and strawberries, dressed with a homemade strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Toasted Pecans and Goat CheeseI considered taking a shortcut and buying a bottle of salad dressing but after studying even the “healthy” versions at the grocery store, I just couldn’t buy the bottled dressings. They all started with sugar or water as a first ingredient. Why? This post is not a rant on packaged food so let’s just say I decided to create my own. But it was oh so easy.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with chicken and Strawberry balsamic vinaigretteAnd for dinner last night, same salad but with chicken on top and it became a main course.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Toasted Pecans and Goat Cheese and Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

(serves about 8 as a first course, 4 as a main course)

Dressing:

Fresh strawberries, about 1 cup sliced

1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar

3/4 cup Olive oil

Fresh thyme or basil – to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

10 oz Pre-washed spinach or wash your own

Raw pecans, toasted *

1/2 cup plain goat cheese

Strawberries, about 10 or 15 sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

*You can toast nuts by placing on a baking sheet in a toaster oven or in a regular oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them – they go from deliciously toasty to burnt rather quickly.
To prepare the dressing:

Put sliced strawberries and balsamic vinegar into a blender; liquefy briefly. Add in fresh herbs (thyme or basil) and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Then add the olive oil. Blend until the oil combines well with the other ingredients – it will change color and texture as it does. Take cover off and taste – add more salt, pepper, or fresh herbs if needed. (You can stream in the olive oil slowly, but I didn’t and it worked just fine)

To prepare the salad:

Place spinach in a bowl or on a large platter. In any order that you like, place toasted pecans, sliced strawberries, and crumbled goat cheese on top. Salt and pepper to taste then serve with the strawberry balsamic vinaigrette. If you are serving this as a main course, add chicken (store-bought rotisserie chicken on a busy weeknight will do just fine)

What is your favorite salad to celebrate the arrival of warm weather?

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9 Responses to Ring in the Berry Season!

  1. sandy corman May 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    all looks and sounds delicious.

  2. @yumivore May 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Strawberries and balsamic dressing is a match made in heaven. Wonderful ideas for spring strawberries!

  3. rsmacaalay May 15, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    I love that OMG strawberries!

  4. Tina May 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    I would love to invite you over to THIS WEEK’S CRAVINGS linky party for Summer Salads. This recipe would be perfect, we hope you stop by and link it up! Thanks a million!

    http://momscrazycooking.blogspot.com/2011/05/this-weeks-cravings-30-summer-salads.html

  5. healthyyou72 July 12, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Love love the OMG out of strawberries, so cute!!! I agree buying store bought dressing is annoying, too much high fructose corn syrup, yuck! Your salad looks gorgeous:-)
    Hugs, Terra

  6. Michael October 2, 2011 at 4:37 am #

    That looks delicious! Really starting to love strawberries in a salad. I probably had it five times this pst summer. And homemade dressing! YES!

    • omgyummy October 3, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      I bet one of your mustards could be lovely in a different riff on the dressing! Oh the nuts, strawberries, cheese, and greens are just so beautiful together, so tasty, and good for you too. What could be better!

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  1. My Feature Day on SITSGirls.com! « OMG! Yummy - March 1, 2012

    [...] Ring in the Berry Season! [...]

  2. Five Easy Recipe Ideas for Memorial Day Weekend « OMG! Yummy - May 23, 2012

    [...] Strawberry Spinach Salad: Berry lover? Try this strawberry spinach salad with balsamic dressing. Perfect side dish and so [...]

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