Variety isn’t just the spice of life; it’s the one thing that will keep you from falling into a food rut. Salad lovers often tell me they get bored with the same old thing. The danger, of course, is this disenchantment can lead them away from the greens their bodies really need. Enter this salad and the idea of eating seasonally. It’s not just a catch phrase. Each season brings new foods just hitting their peak; in this case strawberries and arugula were just taking their first walks of the spring down the runway. In addition to their incredibly sweet taste, strawberries fight inflammation and tumor growth. Here you’ve got a fresh salad that feels like Pop Rocks going off in your mouth: Strawberries, mint, a lemony balsamic vinaigrette, a topping of sliced almonds. You want variety? This is the salad equivalent of Secret Santa: Lots of surprises, and every one of them a gift.
4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried
1 cup fennel bulb, cut in half, core removed and thinly sliced with a mandoline or a sharp knife.
12 organic sliced strawberries
2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
6 tablespoons lemony balsamic vinaigrette
Â¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
Place a small skillet over low flame and add almonds. Toast, stirring often, until slightly golden and nutty smelling, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Combine the arugula, fennel, strawberries and mint in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Top with the toasted almonds.
Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Â½ teaspoon lemon zest
Â½ teaspoon sea salt
Â½ teaspoon black pepper
Â¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine all of the ingredients in the order in which they are written. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
Copyright © 2012 by Rebecca Katz
Variations: Substitute toasted walnuts for almonds. Add a little goat cheese.
Prep Time: 15 minutes âÃÂ¢ Cook Time: Not applicable
Storage: If you must store the salad, don’t add the dressing. Store the greens and in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 day at most.
Per Serving: Calories: 160; Total Fat: 11.2 g (1.4 g saturated, 6.7 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 12 g; Protein: 5 g; Fiber: 5 g; Sodium: 200 mg
Equipment note: A Mandolin (no you can’t strum it) allows you to slice vegetables like fennel to a uniformed thickness. Mandolins used to be reserved for professional use, but now there are many inexpensive hand-held models available at kitchen stores and online.