Easter Salad -- AKA, Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette -- is a beautiful, delicious addition to any spring meal. It features sweet strawberries, creamy goat cheese, and toasted almonds on a bed of mixed greens drizzled with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette!
1/2cupsunflower, safflower, OR extra-virgin olive oil (neutral-flavored)
5tablespoonsfreshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4teaspoonsea saltplus additional to taste
Freshly ground black pepperto taste
Adjust the rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the slivered almonds on a sheet pan and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until fragrant and light brown, watching carefully to prevent burning. Set aside and allow to cool.
To prepare the vinaigrette, measure all of the ingredients into a Mason jar. Tightly screw on the lid and shake vigorously until everything is thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together in a medium bowl or blend them in a mini food processor or blender.
To assemble the salad, layer the mixed greens, sliced strawberries, toasted slivered almonds, and crumbled goat cheese in a large bowl. Just before serving, dress with your desired amount of Lemon Honey Vinaigrette and toss until the salad ingredients are evenly coated.
Toasting the almonds takes a few extra minutes, but it really is worth it as it brings out much more flavor and crunch. If you wish, you may use sliced almonds instead of slivered, or you can substitute your favorite type of nut.
The flavor of the oil is going to come through in the dressing, so try to use a good-quality oil with a neutral flavor. Leftover dressing should be refrigerated. However, if using olive oil, you'll need to remove the vinaigrette from the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature, and shake well before using (olive oil can thicken or solidify once chilled).
If you don't care for goat cheese, you may use crumbled feta (or even blue cheese) instead.