Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Strawberry Feta Salad

Good Morning,

I do feel like this would have been a more appropriate post for the summer as we tend to eat more salads in the summer and I will say that this has been on my list of things to post about weekly and sadly I just never did it. I planned to take pictures of this salad as I was constructing it, but you know what I am not a food blogger and have never managed to do that. But I cant not share this with you guys any longer so here it is!

I am incredibly fussy and if you would have asked me 3 months ago I would have told you I don't like feta cheese, even though I had never tried it. I'm known for deciding I don't like things before I try it but I am trying to be better about it. I would have also told you that I dislike fruit in salad (can we not discuss the whole tomato is technically a fruit) unless its a fruit salad. I'm incredibly fussy.

Anyways when we arrived in New Jersey and everyone else did we started having Friday night barbecues together because we all live in the same place, convenient right? Well we decided that we would all bring our own meat and then bring a salad to share with everyone. This is always a little tricky for Jason and I because sadly we are both fussy, Jason more so than me when it comes to salads, or anything healthy.. he's kind of a meat and potatoes guy. But the nice thing is that I always plan ahead for Jason but I feel a little more obligated to try new things when someone else made it and a lot of times I end up liking it.

One night while having dinner Mel made a strawberry feta salad and let me tell you I was really skeptical, two things I didn't like right off the bat but I felt it was necessary to try it and at least be polite. Mel had said if I didn't like it she wouldn't be offended, thankfully and that made me all the more inclined to give it a whirl. Turns out I thought it was FANTASTIC and a really nice change from the usual salads!

So when I love something and have actually made it a staple in our weekly meals I couldn't wait to share it with you guys, except I could be I haven't until now.. but none the less you get what I'm saying.

I start off with a package of organic baby romaine lettuce. You don't have to use organic or baby romaine if you prefer a different kind of lettuce, this is just our preference.

I generally just prepare the salad before we are going to eat but if you are planning to take it somewhere and would like to make it ahead of time I think you could make it before and it would be just fine. 

I put the lettuce in a large bowl (generally one container as pictured above is good for both Jason and I for dinner), then grab a container for strawberries. 

The amount of strawberries is really to your preference, I generally wash the whole container, cut the tops off of half and then half them down the middle before adding them. If you would prefer them smaller feel free to make it to your liking. 

After adding the strawberries into the lettuce I add a hand full of almond slivers. Again its to your preference, you can toast them first if you wanted in a skillet to enhance the flavor. I like the thin sliced ones as they appear in the picture below, almonds are really good for you and truly a great addition to this salad. 

At this point I would give the salad a little toss to equally distribute all the ingredients around. You could really use whatever kind of vinaigrette dressing you would like, I am sure a strawberry vinaigrette would be great but when I tried the salad for the first time when Mel made it I really felt the dressing she used was key. She made the dressing herself and was gracious enough to share the recipe with me and I now always have some made in my fridge and if you would like to try it I am going to share it with you. 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. 

Easy right? You can also substitute balsamic vinegar for apple cider to get a different flavor. Play around with it, if you like it a little more tart don't use as much honey or if you would prefer it a little sweeter just increase the amount of honey you use. 

If you are not planning on serving the salad immediately after making it I would leave the dressing until the end so the salad doesn't get soggy. If you are feel free to continue right away with these next two steps. 

Once I have the salad put together I will add some feta cheese.

Once you have all the ingredients in the bowl feel free to add the dressing, or leave it on the side for people to put on to their own taste. I generally don't mix the dressing in and let everyone do it themselves but if you are making it for your family at night and know what they like go ahead and mix it in. 

You can leave it at that and let me tell you the salad is FANTASTIC! If you are looking to make it less or a side and more of your entire meal Jason likes to add roasted chicken to make it a little more substantial and that too is wonderful. 

The great thing about salad is you really can make it whatever you want, sometimes instead of strawberries I will substitute the strawberries for tomatoes and cucumber, mushrooms.. whatever I have in the house. The vinaigrette is really versatile and tastes great on everything. Sometimes Jason isn't feeling the almond slivers and will instead top his salad with crispy onion strings (a less healthy option, he can be such a rebel). Make it your own! We love salad bars at our house, I cut up veggies or fruits and put them in small serving bowls, bring out all the topping options and dressing and make your own! Eating healthy doesn't mean it cant be good!

I hope you guys enjoy this salad, let me know what you think! My advice is if you are going to have this dressing as a staple in your house invest in condiment bottle as pictured below. I grabbed one at Target super cheap and its a lot easier to grab and shake before using rather than having to dig out a whisk (I'm not lazy I just hate dishes). 

I really love posting recipes, I wish I did it more! Let me know if this is something you would like to see more of on the blog and I can make it happen. I do plan to blog about new foods I have tried this summer and was surprised how much I like it. Stay tuned!!

As always thanks for popping by, have a great day!!

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  1. I make a similar salad, but use mandarin orange slices (from a can - that way they don't have the excess peel or seeds). I actually sometimes just eat a bowl of those oranges if I crave something sweet. They are surprisingly low in fat & sodium, things I'm trying to watch. In the salad, I sometimes add small cubes of cheese, I've never tried feta, but think I'd like it and use a raspberry vinaigrette for the dressing. Recipes are always welcome!

  2. Oh Mandarin oranges would also be a great option Cathy, I think you can really put anything in the salad and make it your own. The vinaigrette for me really makes the salad, the feta cheese balances it because its a little salty and the fruit is sweet. Its a really good combo! I will definitely share more recipes, I like to try new things and if they are good I will definitely share! Hope all is well with you!!