The first time I had strawberry salad, I was visiting “Brother Bob”—a former in-law who has since passed. Brother Bob’s history included a tour in Korea as a medic. He was sometimes rough and roguish, always a straight shooter—with a great sense of humor and a surprising knack for entertaining … like laying out an assortment of cheeses with just the right wines within minutes of your arrival (even if you didn’t call ahead to say you were almost there). My favorite surprise of my first visit to meet him was a tour of his friends’ nut farm, where they grew cashews and pistachios. It seemed so exotic, and really—what a delicious place to live!
When he laid his strawberry salad on me, I was not 100% certain about the combination of spinach, red onion and strawberries. But by the first bite, I had been converted. It was so long ago, I actually can’t remember which dressing he used. Since then, I’ve tried this salad with so many variations … and I can’t recall ever being disappointed.
This version is about the best I can remember of his original version. It works well with a variety of leafy greens. Try it with a mix of spinach and romaine, or spinach and arugula, or spinach and a single leaf lettuce, or go straight baby spinach leaves. I recently made a strawberry salad with romaine and radish greens fresh from my garden with cotija cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. Delish! For most lettuce combos, a 50/50 mix works well. Fresh ingredients are key to this salad, so be sure you’re using the best possible ingredients. The dressing choice will definitely affect the overall flavor of the salad, so experiment and find what works best for you.
“There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”― Pema Chödrön
Prep time: 15 minutes Yields: about 5 cups
2 C baby spinach leaves
2 C spring mix
1 1/2 C strawberries, quartered
1/2 medium Red onion
1/2 C chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, or mix
1/2 C bleu cheese crumbled
1/4 to 1/2 C dressing (or serve individually)
Dressing of your choice:
Rinse, trim and put spinach and lettuce through a spinner.
Thinly slice onion.
Lay out beds of lettuce and sprinkle strawberries, onion, cheese and nuts. Drizzle with dressing and serve cold.
Serve as an appetizer or side with a soup, sandwich, seafood or poultry entrée. Or add a protein source, like quinoa or chickpeas, for a light meal.