Thursday, May 15, 2014

Suddenly Summer Spring Salad

I'm not a huge fan of heat. I know that some folks like lots of hot, sunny weather, but I live in a fog belt for a reason. This week, which should be the best of spring time, we have had really hot weather, breaking records all over the bay area. Fortunately, the spring strawberries are sweet right now and I rediscovered a great salad dressing recipe just in time to make a strawberry-chicken-crisp spring veggie salad.

First of all, the dressing is a Whole Foods recipe and it features strawberries and balsamic vinegar, with some shallots, fresh thyme, mustard and pepper for seasonings. It is 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, low sodium and low sugar fresh wonderfulness. You do need a blender or food processor, but it goes together really fast. Hulling the strawberries, getting those tiny fresh thyme leaves off the stems, and mincing the shallots are really the only tasks beyond measuring.

For the salad I started with a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken. Why heat up the kitchen at all? Nice, crunchy iceberg lettuce was the base, steamed, cooled and cut sugar snap peas and asparagus add flavor and vitamins and fiber, as does the celery, avocado some creaminess, walnuts a bit of crunch, and the strawberries sing Spring with every bite. I layered my ingredients in a pretty, wide bowl, then drizzled the dressing on after each serving went on the plate. A few slices of purchased baguette and we had dinner!

Strawberry-Balsamic Dressing
a Whole Foods recipe
makes about 1 cup to serve 8

2/3 cup washed, hulled and sliced fresh organic strawberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and 1/4 cup water in a blender and blend until very smooth. Serve chilled.

Suddenly Summer Spring Salad
Serves 4-6

1 recipe Strawberry-Balsamic Dressing
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed, cut off the bone and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small to medium head iceberg lettuce, shredded
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 cups sugar snap peas, strings and ends removed
1/4 lb asparagus tips, washed and ends removed
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pit removed, and sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pint fresh organic strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced

Prepare the chicken and return to refrigerator to keep cold until just before serving.
In a large salad bowl, place the iceberg lettuce. Sprinkle the chopped celery on top.

Steam the sugar snap peas until bright green and barely cooked, about 1-2 minutes. Cool under running water or in an ice water bath. Drain. Cut into bite-sized pieces and return to refrigerator to cool.

Steam the asparagus tips peas until bright green and barely cooked, about 1-2 minutes. Cool under running water or in an ice water bath. Drain. Cut into bite-sized pieces and return to refrigerator to cool.

When ready to serve, put half the sliced strawberries over the celery and lettuce in the salad bowl. Add the sugar snap peas, the asparagus and the chicken. Pile the remaining strawberry slices in the center of the bowl. Arrange the avocado slices around the outer edge and sprinkle the walnuts between the avocado slices and the pile of strawberries. Serve at once with the Strawberry-Balsamic Dressing.


  1. Marian4:07 PM

    Just happened to have some strawberries I picked. I'm going to make this dressing. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. The dressing recipe is one I picked up when you and I went to the McDougall presentation at Whole Foods in Santa Rosa...found the recipe when packing up my cookbooks for the kitchen remodel & finally made that dressing. You'll love it!