There isn’t a lot that is better than strawberry season. It means the weather is probably getting consistently warmer, school is almost done for the summer and , of course, strawberries suddenly taste AWESOME.
My Mom use to take my sisters and me down to Granville Island where we would buy a big container of strawberries, eat them all for lunch while we fed the birds our donuts and then go back to buy more to take home with us.
It would always take a few weeks before the strawberries made it out of the colander into actual meal integration because we would eat them all day, just as they were. Once they did, a classic spinach and strawberry salad was one of the first places we found them.
My Mom’s version of this salad is not too far off the recipe I’m sharing with you today. I have added a few nutrition superstars that are subtle enough not to clutter up the simple goodness of the original.
The spinach is still there as the green, but I’ve also added dandelion greens for extra liver love and for their bitterness that balances out the sweet strawberries. The dressing resembles a balsamic dressing except the sweetness comes from fermented black garlic (it’s very mellow) and a single date, and the tart comes from the lemon juice. This way we get the major antioxidants and digestive benefits from the garlic, and the vitamin c from the lemon helps us absorb the iron from the greens. Buttery hemp hearts are added at the end as an homage to the toasted pine nuts we used to see, except with a ton more protein and un-oxidized, healthy fats.
For some reason the strawberries taste really good with the big emerald chunks of avocado, and the red onion with its known anti-cancer powers, nudge everything onto the decisively savory side of the fence (otherwise, pre-dressing, it looks a lot like the contents of a green smoothie, don’t you think?)
This salad will work well with virtually any greens so feel free to mix it up. If you are trying to eat more kale, this salad would be amazing with kale, or fresh arugula, mustard greens, you name it, go for what looks freshest at the farmers market (and in the interest of nutritional variety, try to use different greens than were in your smoothie that morning).
I feel like strawberries as one of the first summer fruits makes a lot of sense (unlike this sentence…I think). If they were last, we would be much sadder as the summer came to an end at the same time as strawberry season, (and tomato season!) it would be too much to take. As it is, once their season ends, we still have so much exciting produce to look forward to, we hardly look back at all.
The good news is you don’t have to stop making this salad once strawberry season is over. It will also work well with most seasonal summer fruits, including peaches, plums, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and eventually apples and pears. Thank goodness.
- 1 bunch of Spinach (or arugula, kale, mustard greens etc.), chopped, washed and dried
- 1 bunch of Dandelion Greens, chopped, washed and dried
- 1 pint of fresh, local Strawberries, sliced
- ½ Red Onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ c Basil, torn up
- 1 Avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced or diced
- 3 Tbsp Hemp Hearts
- 6-8 Black Garlic Cloves (or 1 garlic clove if you can't find black garlic)
- 1 Date, Pitted
- ¼ c Lemon Juice
- ¼ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Water
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Toss all of the ingredients together with the dressing
- In a blender (or with an immersion blender) blend all ingredients together until smooth.
- Toss with the salad