It’s hard to believe that June has already arrived! Though spring doesn’t technically wrap up until later in the month, in my mind, it’s already summer in every way that matters…school is letting out, vacation is upon us, and here in Texas, temperatures are already cruising into the mid-90s. I don’t know about you, but my palate changes with the seasons. Summertime has me gravitating towards recipes that are on the lighter side, quick and easy to prepare, and raring to take advantage of in-season produce. So along with homegrown tomatoes and dinners from the grill and freshly churned peach ice cream, nothing screams summer like salads!
This recipe, with its varied flavors and textures, is probably my very favorite salad, whether I’m eating it in January or June. The juicy strawberries are a nice counterbalance to the crisp spinach, the feta cheese adds a creamy richness, and the toasted pecans supply the perfect amount of crunch. The friend who first shared this recipe with me instructed me to dress the salad with the ever-popular Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette. And that I did, for years and years. Then one day, as I was throwing this salad together for a party, I realized that I only had a little bit of salad dressing left in the fridge and no new bottle in the pantry like I had assumed. There wasn’t time to run to the store, so I perused the ingredient list on the back of my almost-empty bottle and came up with my own version of Blush Wine Vinaigrette. And let me tell you, I think it’s better! I was able to cut back on the sugar (which Brianna’s lists as its first ingredient) while still maintaining a pleasantly (but not cloyingly) sweet end result, and adding a splash of lemon juice seemed to brighten up the overall flavor.
The greatest testament to this salad’s deliciousness, however, is that my extremely picky, suspiciousofanythinggreen 3-year-old will eat a whole bowl of it with nary a protest. And that makes for a start to the summer that’s sweeter than strawberries.