Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quick Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette over Spinach Salad

Homemade salad dressing doesn't get much easier, or tastier, than this sweet and tangy vinaigrette.  Usually, I make the dressing with raspberry preserves (and you should try doing that sometime, too!), but strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a classic combination and make for a fresh, seasonal dressing.  Shake it up in a glass jar for an instant salad topper and to keep the leftovers (if there are any).
 Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 teaspoon Dijon or brown grainy mustard
2 tablespoons seedless strawberry preserves or all fruit preserves (try raspberry or apricot for a twist)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a small jar with a lid, stir together mustard and preserves until smooth.  Pour in balsamic vinegar.  Top with olive oil.  Fit lid of jar securely and shake vigorously until vinaigrette is well-combined and is thick and smooth.  Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed, shake again to combine.  If you make the dressing ahead of time, shake the jar just before serving.  Pour over prepared salad as desired.

Suggested Salad:
Fresh baby spinach leaves
walnut pieces (toasted, optional, sliced almonds would be good too!)
fresh sliced strawberries
crumbled goat cheese (or blue or feta)
fresh ground pepper to taste
thinly sliced red onion (optional)

Toss together all salad ingredients in a large or individual bowls.  Drizzle with salad dressings. Serve immediately.

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