Strawberry Spinach Salad
- 7 cups baby spinach (loosely packed)
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into rings
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- candied walnuts (see below)
- roasted strawberry balsamic vinaigrette (see below)
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- fresh mint and basil (optional)
- 1 1/4 cup walnut pieces
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- scant amount of cayenne pepper
- flaky sea salt
Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 cup strawberries (tops removed; halved)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp vegan dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- Prep: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Walnuts: In a medium-sized bowl, combine walnuts, maple syrup, vanilla extract and a scant amount of cayenne pepper. Mix gently to combine.
- Walnuts: Spread the walnuts in an even layer on one of the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes (checking the walnuts at 10 minutes and giving them a gentle stir to prevent burning; baking for another 5 minutes.) Remove the candied walnuts from the oven and sprinkle flaky sea on top as desired (while they are still warm). Set the walnuts aside to cool.
- Vinaigrette: Roast the strawberries. Add the strawberries to the other parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. (Roast the strawberries in tandem with the walnuts – albeit slight variances in timing.) Remove the strawberries from the oven. Strawberries will be soft and a little juicy. Allow the strawberries to cool to room temperature.
- Vinaigrette: Add roasted strawberries, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, orange juice and garlic to a high-speed food processor with an S blade. Whirl away until vinaigrette is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Assembly: In a large bowl combine the baby spinach, strawberries, red onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes and candied walnuts. Top with freshly ground pepper, mint, and basil as desired.
- Serve: Serve the salad alongside the roasted strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.
- In a hurry? The roasted strawberry balsamic vinaigrette and the candied walnuts can be made in advance. Store the candied walnuts in an airtight container for up to 1 week. (I doubt they’ll last that long!) Keep the vinaigrette refrigerated and covered in a container for up to 1 week. Let the vinaigrette warm to room temperature when you wish to use it!