We just pulled up to OSU’s campus for the first day of the 2nd leg of the Shane & Shane/John Mark McMillan/Carlos Whitaker tour. It’s an outdoor event put on by a campus ministry… my favorite part of today so far? Free hamburgers, right off the grill. Oh yes, Lord. I actually was thinking about hamburgers on the drive up here. And they’re FREE.
I ate two.
Anyway. All of this sunshine and outdoor events and grilling out feels like summer to me! I know it’s still “spring”, but as I just told my sweet husband, consistent 80+ degree weather and sunshine = summer to this Ohio girl. And because it’s been so awesome outside, this past week at home we started having one of my favorite summery salads, and I thought I’d share it with you!
Summery Strawberry Salad
serves: 5 people (or 2 if those two are Shane & me)
- 1 container of pre-washed baby spinach
- couple handfuls of ripe strawberries, washed and quartered
- half of a Granny Smith apple, chopped into bite-size pieces
- half to a whole handful (depending on how much you like gorgonzola) of crumbled gorgonzola cheese ** if you don’t like gorgonzola, feta or bleu cheese would work fine! I’m just a fan of gorgonzola’s strong flavor and richness
- a GENEROUS handful (let’s make it one and a half) of walnuts and/or pecans (I prefer walnuts), toasted (if you like) and chopped
- Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette (most groceries carry the brand – look for a pretty glass bottle with a picture of a strawberry on front)
To toast the walnuts or pecans:
1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Lightly coat the bottom of a glass baking dish (any size) with a couple tablespoons of melted butter or oil (walnut, vegetable, olive, any kind you have around).
3) Coarsely chop the walnuts and/or pecans, pour into baking dish and toss to evenly coat with butter/oil.
4) Sprinkle a couple teaspoons of sugar (sugar in the raw or organic sugar work great) on top, half a teaspoon of salt, and a LIGHT dusting of fresh ground black pepper. Toss again to coat.
5) Place in the oven until you begin to smell the nuts toasting, about 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn! (although I LOVE things burned. Seriously, I do.)
For the salad:
1) Take toasted nuts out of the oven, place on a plate to cool.
2) In a tall bowl, throw baby spinach, quartered strawberries, chopped apples, crumbled gorgonzola, and COOLED (or it will melt the cheese) walnuts/pecans.
3) Add the amount of vinaigrette you want, and then toss!
4) Put on a plate. Grab a fork. Go outside on your deck or backyard, find a sunny spot, and enjoy.