Getting on the scale after the holidays is never fun. Ever. Starting with Thanksgiving, the calories tend to add up quickly with rich, carb-filled meals, family gatherings, parties, cookies, pies and treats. We rationalize the consumption, telling ourselves it's only once a year.
Eating salads for dinner two or three nights a week helped my husband and I get back on track. This strawberry salad has been a favorite in my family for over a decade and is often requested for birthday dinners. The recipe isn't unique but the list of ingredients have been adjusted over the years to appeal to my family's taste buds.
In case you didn't already know (quoting from Wikipedia here), "Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach. It is a source of folic acid (Vitamin B9), and this vitamin was first purified from spinach." No wonder Popeye was so strong!
Years ago, I found a wonderful dressing in a local Junior League cookbook that that works perfectly with spinach. It has a nice balance of sweet and tart.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
3-4 large bunches of spinach
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 pint of fresh strawberries
8 oz of fresh button mushrooms
Wash spinach in a sink full of clean water by swishing around. Snap all the leaves off stems with your fingers and drain in a colander.
To toast the almonds, spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350 oven for about 5-7 minutes, watching carefully not to let them burn.
Clean strawberries and mushrooms and slice thinly into a bowl.
To assemble salad place first four ingredients into a very large salad bowl (sometimes I pull out my super large aluminum just to toss the salad then I serve it in a salad bowl). Slice the avocados and add them to the bowl. Pour enough dressing over the salad to coat lightly, toss and serve. Start with about 1/2 cup of dressing if you are making the entire recipe, toss and add more dressing, if necessary.
Another tasty version of this salad can be made by using cooked and crumbled crispy bacon, sliced hard boiled eggs, and toasted almonds. Use the same dressing below.
North Shore Dressing
Adapted from Be Our Guest
2/3 cup sugar
4-5 green onions, using a little of the light green part
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup vegetable Oil
In food processor or blender combine all ingredients. Process until smooth.