Are you looking for a refreshing and delicious salad that’s easy to prepare? Look no further than the Strawberry Arugula Salad. This delightful combination of fresh strawberries, peppery arugula, and a zesty Herb Dressing is sure to tickle your taste buds. Whether you’re new to the world of salads or a seasoned pro, this beginner’s guide will walk you through every step of creating this delectable dish.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Strawberry Arugula Salad, from the essential ingredients to detailed directions, storing tips, and even a special Herb Dressing recipe. So, let’s dive right in!
Before you start assembling your Strawberry Arugula Salad, let’s take a closer look at the key ingredients you’ll need:
- Fresh Strawberries: Choose ripe strawberries for the best flavor and sweetness. Wash, hull, and slice them into bite-sized pieces.
- Arugula: This leafy green adds a peppery kick to your salad. Ensure it’s fresh and crisp.
- Red Onion: Thinly slice a quarter of a red onion to add a mild, tangy flavor.
- Goat Cheese: Crumbled goat cheese adds creaminess and a slightly tangy element to the salad.
- Candied Pecans: These provide a delightful crunch and a touch of sweetness. You can buy them pre-made or make your own.
- Balsamic Vinegar: A good quality balsamic vinegar adds a tangy and slightly sweet element to the dressing.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil forms the base of the dressing, lending a smooth texture and richness.
- Honey: A drizzle of honey balances the flavors with its natural sweetness.
- Dijon Mustard: Just a teaspoon of Dijon mustard adds a zesty kick to the dressing.
- Fresh Herbs (Basil, Mint, or Cilantro): Choose your favorite herb to infuse the dressing with a burst of fresh flavor.
Now that we have our ingredients ready, let’s put together this mouthwatering Strawberry Arugula Salad:
- Prepare Your Strawberries: Wash, hull, and slice the fresh strawberries into bite-sized pieces. Set them aside.
- Toss the Arugula: In a large salad bowl, place the arugula. It serves as the bed for your salad.
- Add the Red Onion: Thinly slice a quarter of a red onion and scatter it over the arugula.
- Sprinkle with Goat Cheese: Crumble the goat cheese evenly over the arugula and red onion. The creamy texture complements the peppery arugula perfectly.
- Top with Candied Pecans: Sprinkle the candied pecans over the salad. They add a delightful crunch and sweetness.
- Prepare the Herb Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and a handful of finely chopped fresh herbs (choose between basil, mint, or cilantro). This dressing is the secret to the salad’s irresistible flavor.
- Drizzle the Dressing: Just before serving, drizzle the herb dressing over the salad. Start with a few tablespoons and add more to taste.
- Toss and Serve: Gently toss all the ingredients together to ensure they’re evenly coated with the dressing. Serve your Strawberry Arugula Salad immediately.
If you happen to have leftovers (which is rare because it’s that good), here’s how to store your Strawberry Arugula Salad properly:
- Refrigeration: Place any leftover salad in an airtight container. Be sure to remove any excess air to prevent wilting. Store it in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- Dressing Separation: If you’re planning to store the salad for an extended period, it’s a good idea to keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to eat. This prevents the salad from becoming soggy.
- Freshen Up: If your salad does lose some of its crispness, you can freshen it up by adding a bit more arugula and a drizzle of fresh dressing.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some handy tips and tricks to ensure your Strawberry Arugula Salad turns out perfect every time:
- Variation: Feel free to customize your salad with additional ingredients like grilled chicken, avocado, or even crumbled bacon for extra flavor and protein.
- Candied Nuts: If you can’t find candied pecans, you can easily make them at home by coating pecans with a mixture of sugar and water and baking until caramelized.
- Balance Flavors: Taste your salad as you go and adjust the sweetness and acidity levels by adding more honey or balsamic vinegar to the dressing.
- Chill Ingredients: For the best results, ensure that your arugula, strawberries, and goat cheese are well-chilled before assembling the salad.
- Serve Immediately: Strawberry Arugula Salad is best enjoyed immediately after adding the dressing to maintain its crispness.
Here’s the Herb Dressing recipe that adds a burst of fresh flavor to your Strawberry Arugula Salad:
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Handful of fresh herbs (basil, mint, or cilantro), finely chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, honey, and Dijon mustard until well combined.
- Add the finely chopped fresh herbs of your choice (basil, mint, or cilantro) to the dressing and whisk again.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference. You can add more honey for sweetness or more vinegar for tanginess.
- Drizzle the dressing over your Strawberry Arugula Salad just before serving.
Strawberry Arugula Salad is incredibly versatile and pairs well with various dishes. Here are some serving suggestions:
- As a Side Dish: Serve it as a side dish alongside grilled chicken, steak, or fish for a wholesome meal.
- Brunch Delight: It’s perfect for brunch gatherings, especially when accompanied by quiches and frittatas.
- Picnic Perfection: Pack it in a portable container for a delightful picnic in the park.
- Summer Refreshment: Enjoy it on a hot summer day with a glass of chilled white wine or sparkling water.
- Lunchtime Favorite: Make it a quick and healthy lunch by adding some protein like grilled shrimp or tofu.
Not only is Strawberry Arugula Salad delicious, but it’s also packed with nutritional benefits. Here’s why it’s a healthy choice:
- Rich in Vitamins: Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants, while arugula provides vitamins A and K.
- Low in Calories: This salad is a low-calorie option, making it perfect for those looking to maintain or lose weight.
- Fiber Content: The combination of arugula and strawberries provides dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and helps you feel full longer.
- Good Fats: The olive oil in the dressing contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
- Protein: If you add protein like grilled chicken or tofu, it becomes a complete and satisfying meal.
In conclusion, Strawberry Arugula Salad is a delightful and versatile dish that’s perfect for beginners and seasoned salad enthusiasts alike. With its fresh ingredients, zesty Herb Dressing, and a range of serving options, it’s bound to become a favorite in your repertoire.
Remember to use the freshest ingredients, toss the salad just before serving, and customize it to suit your taste. Whether you enjoy it as a side dish or a complete meal, this salad is a healthy and flavorful choice for any occasion.
So, why wait? Gather your ingredients and start creating your own Strawberry Arugula Salad today. Your taste buds will thank you!
Here’s a quick recap of the Strawberry Arugula Salad recipe:
- Fresh Strawberries
- Red Onion
- Goat Cheese
- Candied Pecans
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive Oil
- Dijon Mustard
- Fresh Herbs (Basil, Mint, or Cilantro)
- Prepare your strawberries.
- Toss the arugula.
- Add the red onion.
- Sprinkle with goat cheese.
- Top with candied pecans.
- Prepare the Herb Dressing.
- Drizzle the dressing.
- Toss and serve.
We would love to hear about your experience with making and enjoying Strawberry Arugula Salad. Share your thoughts, tips, and any delicious variations you come up with in the comments below. Happy salad making!