Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Spinach Salad

I love salad. My husband doesn't believe this is a square meal. I don't care, he has to eat what I fix him. :)
Poor guy is so mistreated.

I need to talk to you about this salad! Every year just before spring, when the chill is starting to fade and I can't wait to lock my boots and sweaters away for a few months, I start dreaming of salad. This one is a combination of salad I adore from a certain sandwich cafe/coffee house/bakery, that we all know, and a salad my mom made every summer and still makes. Her salad has turkey or chicken and this one would be amazing with it but I wanted to go meatless with this one. I am not a vegetarian, have never professed to be one and honesty I love bacon too much to be one but I feel like my family could use a little less meat in our diet. Mom's salad also had these crunchy, caramelized pecans that have always been my favorite. This time I chose almonds because that is what my man loves. I combined my favorite two salads in the universe (other than caprese but I can't mess with perfection) and came out with this beauty and there was no need to turn on the stove. I have eaten it multiple times since. 

I actually photographed this a couple of months back and I feel that I need to finally rish and share it with you while summer produce is still in season.I mean, holy guacamole, how is it almost "back to school" time already! Sorry, back on topic, this is the perfect sweaty day supper. So, make it, quick!

The best thing about salads like this, you can change ingredients in our take them out and come up with something new each time. I have left tomato out every time I have made this since. It just wasn't my thing. My husband prefers it without avocado, but he is clearly insane!

The dressing is super easy and so delicious. Just toss everything into a blender or food processor and you're done. I love it and my husband loves it, that is no small feet let me tell you. He is not a vinegar fan normally but he loves apples, which is how I convinced him to try it. 

This dressing is super versatile, swap out the apple with another fruit and change up the vinegar or even just leave out the vinegar for citrus juice and you have something totally new. 

Summer Spinach Salad:

For the Caramelized Almonds:
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup almonds

In a heavy bottomed skillet, I prefer an iron skillet, heat the sugar over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, until the sugar hes melted and is golden brown color, then toss in your nuts. Allow them to cool on a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper until they have hardened and are cool enough to touch. Roughly chop before topping the salad.

For the Dressing:
1/2  green apple, cored and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
*1 teaspoon of honey
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Place apple, vinegar, honey and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until the apple has broken down and all the contents are smooth. Turn on low and pour oil in a thin stream through the opening in the top of the lid. Once all oil is incorporated you should have an emulsified dressing. Taste and make tweaks to the taste.

For the Salad:

2 cups baby spinach
1 mango, diced
4-5 strawberries, diced
**1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 green apple, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
caramelized almonds

Toss you lettuce in a large bowl, layer on all of your toppings and dress with dressing. Serve immediately.

*Feel free to add more or leave it out all together. I knew my guys would prefer a little more sweetness.
**Like I said before, I left the tomato out after this but I included it in the ingredients since it can been seen in pictures.

It's calling your name!

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