Easter is coming guys. If you're anything like me, you wait until the last minute to figure out what your contribution to the big family brunch will be. If this is the case, I have the easiest fresh and seasonal salad that will definitely go over well with any crowd. It has everything a spring salad should - fresh leafy greens, seasonal fruit, salty feta, toasted almonds and a homemade dressing that leaves people asking - what was in that? I'm all about contrast with my salads and this one covers all the bases.
As a side note: somehow I developed a reputation as the resident salad-contributor to a lot of social events. Not even because I'm a dietitian but because I like coming up with different combinations! Most people think the salad is the boring part of the meal but I like to think of it as the perfect compliment. Vegetables should never be obligatory and with a salad this good, the greens can absolutely be a favorite side. Anyone else agree?
With this one I started with the traditional components of an Easter salad but made it just slightly more gourmet with toasted nuts and a dressing that really pops. Both of these are insanely easy, so you can impress without learning any complicated new techniques or having to search for out-of-the-box ingredients. And while you can certainly add the almonds without toasting, PLEASE just do me a favor and do not skip this step. It takes just a few extra minutes and seriously amplifies the flavor. Similarly, adding fresh-squeezed orange juice isn't totally necessary, but it is a special occasion so I say just go for it.
Spring Strawberry Salad with Orange Champagne Vinaigrette
Author: Leanne Ray, MS, RDN
Yield: 6-8 servings | Prep time: 20 minutes
12 oz spring mix
16 oz strawberries, halved
4 oz feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 medium orange (I like Cara Cara)
1 tsp honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat; add almonds and stir frequently toasting until fragrant and browned (watching carefully not to burn). Transfer to a plate and cool completely in a single layer.
Make the dressing: add vinegar, orange juice and honey to a 16 oz jar and mix with a fork until well combined. Then add olive oil, screw the lid on and shake vigorously. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add greens to a large salad bowl along with the chopped strawberries, feta cheese crumbles and toasted almonds. Add dressing per preference (you likely won't need it all) and toss well. Serve immediately. Store any remaining dressing in the fridge for up to 5 days.