Sunday, March 10, 2013

Strawberry Feta Salad w/ Poppy Seed Dressing



[I was at a recent event where I was served a delicious salad dressed with a lovely homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  A few people amongst our table commented on how they could never figure out how to put together anything but a basic salad, let alone a homemade dressing to go with it. We got to talking about our favourite flavor combinations and the amount of unpronounceable preserving agents in most store bought dressings.  Sure enough, before the meal was over I promised I would try and come up with a flavourful salad and a healthy dressing for them to try making in their own kitchens.

I’ve always really enjoyed the contrast between the natural sweetness of strawberries, the bitterness of spinach, and the creamy, saltiness of feta.  Straight spinach would also make an ideal bed for this recipe, though I really enjoy the variation of flavors that a mixed blend brings to the table (plus to be honest, that’s what I already had in the fridge).

When I first started researching recipes for a homemade dressing, I was surprised at how many recipes called for a ton of sugar and oil (one recipe even went as far as calling for a cup of each!).  I knew there had to be a healthier way so I set out to my kitchen and experimented with a few different ingredients until I came up with what I think is the perfect combination for this salad.   

This recipe makes a great appetizer, though paired with some grilled chicken and a sprinkle of toasted nuts and this salad could easily hold it’s own as a main course.

*To toast nuts, either sauté them in a frying pan over medium heat, or place on a baking sheet in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes until lightly brown.  Almonds, pecans, or pine nuts would all go really well with this salad.]
  
Ingredients

Salad
- 2-3 cups mixed greens
- 2-3 medium strawberries
- 4-5 thin slices of sweet or purple onion
- 2 tbsp crumbled Feta

Dressing
- 4 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 ½ tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or ½ tsp minced)
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Slice up strawberries and arrange them on top of a bed of greens.  Sprinkle on onion, then crumbled feta.  Pour on dressing, then top with toasted nuts and chicken if applicable.

For dressing

Mix all of the ingredients together.  I like to make and store most of my homemade sauces and dressings in a mason jar – just screw on the lid and give it a good shake.  Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

- Nutritional Info (entire salad with ¼ recipe dressing) -

Calories - 150   Fat - 9    Carbs – 10     Protein - 7   Fibre – 2
  
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