Thursday, April 26, 2012

Summer Salads

Crazy but true...I never ate a green salad until I was in my early twenties.  Hard to believe, I know, right? Salads were just not common in my home growing up. I was pretty much strictly a meat and potatoes girl. Oh, and cheese, lots of cheese. Vegetables...not so much. But, as I grew up so did my tastes buds. It was actually my husband who introduced me to the leafy greens when we began dating. He couldn't believe salads were not part of my regular eating habits, nor that I had omitted such an important food group from my diet. I started out with baby steps. Iceburg lettuce, croutons, ranch dressing. Yes, I know you are comparing me to an eight year old. But, in time, I did expand my horizons beyond the basics and now I enjoy a plethora of tasty green delectables. 
I do have to admit, though, that I typically don't crave many salads as a meal. For some reason they just don't seem to fill me up. I think of them as a light filler before the main course. But I have stumbled upon three divine dishes that are perfect for summer gatherings and the last one may stand alone as a meal in itself. I hope you will visit the sites where I found these scrumptious food inspirations~you will find the link below each recipe. Bon appetit!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

For the dressing:
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
2½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1½ tbsp. champagne*
1 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt

For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
Sliced almonds, for topping
Sliced fresh strawberries, for topping

*I like to buy mini bottles of champagne for cooking, rather than have to open a whole bottle for a couple tablespoons.  In a pinch I have also used white wine and the dressing still tastes great.  Another option is to skip the separate vinegar and champagne, and instead use champagne vinegar (about 3 tbsp.)

In a blender or food processor, combine the strawberries, vinegar, champagne, sugar and salt.  Process until the mixture is well combined and completely smooth.  Transfer to an airtight bottle or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
To serve, portion baby spinach leaves out on salad plates.  Drizzle with the strawberry champagne vinaigrette.  Top with sliced almonds and strawberries.  Serve immediately.

Mozzarella Tomato & Avocado Salad

       1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half
       1 carton fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, drained
       1 avocado, peeled and diced
       1/3 cup basil, julienned
       2 tablespoons fresh parsley
       1/4 cup lemon juice
       1/4 cup olive oil
       salt and pepper

        1) In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and parsley, Set aside.
        2) In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tomato
        mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
        3) Just before serving the salad, stir in the chopped avocados. Serve salad with
        slotted spoon and toasty bread.

Blue Cheese Sirloin with Peach Rocket Salad

Sirloin is seasoned with salt and pepper, cooked until pink in the center, then topped with bleu cheese and a white-peach scented balsamic vinegar. Served alongside a simple Rocket Peach & Purple Onion Salad, this meal is light, tasty, and perfectly quick to pull together on a summer night.

1 thick-cut sirloin steak
sea salt & pepper
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons white peach juice concentrate
2 ounces bleu cheese
6 cups baby arugula (rocket)
2 peaches, peeled and diced
1/4 purple onion, diced
3 tablespoons light olive oil

Salt and pepper your steak. Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add butter and cook just until melted, then place the steak in the pan. Cook until nicely browned, about 5-6 minutes.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and white peach juice concentrate. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the mixture.
Flip the steak, drizzle with remaining vinegar mixture, then top liberally with bleu cheese. Cover your pan with a lid to allow the steak to cook to a perfect, warm pink center (about an additional 4-6 minutes depending on how thick your steak is).
Gently transfer the steak to a cutting board and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing. in the meantime, toss together the ingredients for the salad. Mix together the olive oil and remaining balsamic vinegar mixture. Toss into salad, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve salad with sliced sirloin. Enjoy the heck out of it.



  1. Those look yummy! I've been making that spinach and strawberry salad for years and it's always a hit! And any salad with a steak is just fine with me!
    Blessings, Lorraine

    1. I know, the spinach and strawberry is one of my old favorites too~it's always interesting to see a new twist on it! I think the steak looks amazing...thanks for visiting! Angie

  2. the strawberry spinach salad and the steak with peach salad...look soooo good! now i'm 10 a.m.

  3. MMMMM That looks so yummyyy I wanna eat the whole post:)
    I have a Gothenburg special in my new post...have you been there, you have lived in Sweden right?

    LOVE Maria

    1. I have never lived in Sweden myself, my grandparents are from there. Most of my swedish relatives are now in Minnesota. I loved reading your post on Gothenburg! Angie

  4. It's that time of year when we think about eating more salads - thank you for some delicious new recipes!

  5. It looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing on Simple & Sweet Fridays! Love the photos...



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