Friday, June 1, 2012

spring spinach salad

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summer has arrived a bit early here in new england - with a pleasantly warmer than normal spring all of our early summer crops are showing up sooner than expected at local farm stands. during one of my weekly visits to picnic rock farms last week, just before closing time Ginny handed me the last pint of native strawberries - the very first of the season! awesome. the spinach had just been planted in the fields, her husband, Lauchie - the biggest sweetheart ever kindly cut me a bag full of spinach greens. i of course couldn't leave without a bunch of their asparagus also grown on the farm. i left with the makings of the best spring salad ever. a salad inspired by my fried Caitlin over at the vegan chickpea.
simple is the theme during summers.
easy. local flavor. filling.
as long as my meals hit on those three things during the summer i am one happy girl.
native strawberries are hulled and quartered, asparagus is trimmed and the baby spinach is washed.
add a little  lemon, salt, balsamic and olive oil for a truly satisfying summer salad.
summer = heat which equals a sometimes cranky Justin who has to work long days outside- he likes to come home to an ice box house. which i completely understand. so that means being creative on the grille - everyone loves to grille in the summer right?
the asparagus. drizzled with balsamic, olive oil & sprinkled with maldon salt is grilled until crisp tender.
a simple vinaigrette of lemon, olive oil, balsamic, muddled strawberries & poppy seeds dress the salad

this past weekend - memorial day weekend was packed full of family events.
it was the perfect opportunity to share my love of local goodness with my family. along with the maple chipotle sweet potato burgers, this salad accompanied me to my grams memorial day BBQ on Monday.


leftovers came home with me and were enjoyed the following day for dinner. taking Caitlin's cue, i topped my leftover salad with a healthy serving of avocado. OMG - amazing, i was speechless. the avocado was so good and added a nice serving of healthy fats.

my sister, who also shares a love of  fresh locally grown foods gave this two thumbs up.
this salad would also be delicious topped with pecans or slivered raw almonds.
tell me, whats your favorite summer salad?
Spring Spinach Salad
6 small servings or 3 large servings

you will need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maldon salt
12 asparagus spears - trimmed of woody ends
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
4 cups baby/young spinach thoroughly washed

3 parts olive oil
1 part balsamic
(i did 3 counts of oo & 1 count balsamic)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp poppy seeds
pinch of salt
4 hulled and muddled strawberries
pinch of sugar or 1/4 tsp agave


place a piece of tin foil large enough to comfortably fit asparagus on the grille
place trimmed asparagus spears on the tinfoil & drizzle with olive oil, balsamic & salt - turning spears to coat
over medium heat ( about 350* -400*) cook asparagus for 10 minutes, turning frequently until done to your liking - i personally like crisp tender with bits of grill mark/caramelized
remove asparagus to from grille, cut each spear into 1 - inch pieces

on a serving platter, arrange spinach. top with quartered & hulled strawberries and asparagus pieces.

to make the dressing
in a small bowl muddle the strawberries. add remaining ingredients and whisk until well combined. taste and adjust salt/sugar to your liking. you will want the dressing to be a bit on the acidic side which will compliment the already naturally sweetened salad.

drizzle salad with dressing.

additional serving options: sliced or cubed avocado, almonds or pecans




  1. You are very fortunate to be close enough to a farm for weekly trips, for freshly picked produce!

    Your salad looks very tasty. I have had strawberries with spinach, but haven't thought to add asparagus. I will try that the next time!

    1. I am absolutely fortunate - the couple that runs the farm are two of the most amazing people I have ever met, they truly love what they do!

  2. Oooh, this salad sounds perfect! And what good timing - I'm starting off a salad-a-day challenge for the month of June. :D

    Also, I nominated you for an award! For once I'm nominating you, not the other way around. ;) Check out my most recent post to find it.

    1. Um perfect timing is right!

      Willow, you are amazing- THANK YOU for the nomination :)xoxo

  3. this sounds (and looks) so scrumptious! i love the way the colors just jump off of that white table! beautiful photography! thanks for sharing!

  4. I love your spring salad! So good and healthy!

  5. love that pop of strawberries! no farms close by here. but there are tons about 20 miles away, if it doesnt rain this weekend, then we might just go visit some! if we dont accidentally end up in the molten chocoalte cakery which is just 5 miles away that is;)
    oh my strawberry plant in the balcony now has 2 strawberries! maybe i can make a tiny salad with balcony farm to table(10 steps to kitchen) spinach, strawberry and mint salad:) Theres a lot of mint and spinach filling up the pots.

    1. We are incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful farms and farmer markets all within 10-20 minutes from each other!

      I love that you have a balcony garden - so neat! the addition of mint would be so so good :)

  6. Ooh you're lucky - I haven't seen any local strawberries yet. I love using strawberries in salads, although there always seems to be such a limited period when I can use fresh local ones. My mom makes her strawberry salad with candied almonds, and I love your other suggestion of adding avocado too!

    1. We have about a 4-6 week window for local strawberries...with the eeception of a grower that grows hydroponic strawberries throughout the summer a few twons over!

      Candied almonds sound amazing :)

  7. That's so lovely that you were able to make this salad out of such fresh, local ingredients! I'm jealous to say the least!

    Gorgeous, and clearly I love it having made something similar myself recently. Love the addition of strawberries into the dressing! Totally have to try that :)

    1. It is always an exciting time of year for me once the local fruits and veggies start appearing - the taste is just so phenomenal!

  8. The colours in your photos are gorgeous! Looks so summery! Fantastic looking salad. I'm trying to eat a salad a day (after Willow told me about the salad-a-day challenge for June). This is going on my list :)

    1. Right, don't you LOVE the salad a day challenge - I am totally on board with that challenge :)

  9. Strawberries, spinach, asparagus - is there any other ingredient which screams out spring to join the party - I love it :D


    1. You are so right Uru, this totally sings spring!

  10. Such a pretty salad! I love the spinach and strawberry combo with balsamic vinegar, but I love that you added asparagus! Perfect spring salad :D

    1. Thank you Heidi! The balsamic roasted asparagus was incredible with the strawberries and spinach :)

  11. Delicious dish and delicious pictures! Asparagus, spinach and strawberries... what else? :) I love it.

    1. Awww thank you Tuonela - I had so much fun photographing this salad. Everything about spring makes me smile, this salad was pure happiness!

  12. wow, i feel so honored that i inspired this GORGEOUS salad!! it looks amazing, girl and i will probably make your version tonight for dinner!

    1. You inspire me everyday Miss Lady! The avocado was SO. FREAKIN. AMAZING!

  13. this dish looks so pretty-pity that asparagus season is almost over here...

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    1. I know - the season is way too short, I just picked up the last of the asparagus harvest from my farmer; so I better savor it!


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