April’s over after today, and that means National Grilled Cheese Month ends as well. Even though I love a good grilled cheese sandwich, I didn’t make anything special to celebrate. I tend to keep my grilled cheese simple, maybe adding in some ham or bacon on occasion when I want to really get wild. So while I drooled over everyone else’s amazing grilled cheese variations, I also kept in mind that tomorrow is May, and that means National Salad Month. Unlike Lane who did not eat salad until he was thirty-eight years old, I love salad. I could honestly eat salad at least twice a day and never get bored. Not sure what to do with that leftover chicken? Toss it in a salad. Have leftover bacon from breakfast (okay, that might never happen in this house)? Throw it on top of a salad. Tired of packing sandwiches for lunch? Salad is your friend. Need to feed the kids a vegetable so you don’t feel like you’re serving them things devoid of any nutritional value for dinner? Side salad, here we come.
Of course, I have to be early for something like National Salad Month. The people at Dole have designated tomorrow, May first, as National Salad Day so it seemed fitting to celebrate my love of all things salad sooner rather than later. While my absolute favorite salad is a simple tossed version with whatever veggies I happen to have hanging around, salad is something I have turning into an experiment. Even though it’s a little early around here for strawberries, I couldn’t stop myself when they were on sale and I always have lettuce of some variety hanging around. Strawberries and lettuce might not seem like the most obvious combination, but when you toss in almonds and top it all with some strawberry balsamic vinaigrette, it’s a party. The vinaigrette gets a little tang from Dijon mustard, and while I like it a little tart you can add a teaspoon or so of sugar or honey to sweeten it up if your berries aren’t quite sweet enough yet. Four ingredients in the blender and ten seconds are all you need to make the dressing. The smoked almonds add the right amount of saltiness and crunch. This was a great quick lunch, and it’s going to be a summer staple in this house.
Strawberry Almond Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
for the dressing:
- 1 C. strawberries, stems removed (about 8 large-ish berries)
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
for the salad:
- 4 C. Romaine lettuce or your favorite lettuce blend (I used Dole European blend, 10 oz. bag)
- 1 C. strawberries, stems removed, quartered
- 1/2 C. smoked almonds
To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender jar.
Blend on high speed (“liquefy” on my blender) for 10-20 seconds until smooth and completely combined.
To make the salad, arrange the lettuce on 4 plates (for individual servings) or in a large salad bowl (to serve family style).
Evenly sprinkle the strawberry quarters over each plate or over the lettuce in the salad bowl.
Evenly sprinkle the almonds over each plate or over the mixture in the salad bowl.
To serve, top each salad with 2-3 Tbsp. of the dressing, or toss the dressing with the salad to serve family style.
Makes 4 servings.
Source: dressing adapted from Tasty Kitchen