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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Spinach Salad

I am very excited to share with you my all time favorite salad recipe.  It is simple, delicious and a crowd pleaser.  Surprisingly, it doesn't have butter in it, which is quite the accomplishment for me.  It does have sugar though, but that makes it more delicious.

I have been making this salad for a few years now and I love it.  I take it to picnics, parties, get togethers and bunco.  The best thing about taking this somewhere is I always leave with a clean bowl.  It is always gobbled up.  There is nothing worse than taking a dish somewhere and leaving with the majority of it.  That is not the case with this salad.  I hope you will enjoy it like I do, especially how simple it is to make.

Before I get to the recipe, I want to share some tips with you so that this is super easy for you to make.

First, in a large measuring cup (2-3 cup size), measure out 1 cup of chopped pecans (you could use walnuts as well, but I prefer pecans.  It is the Southerner in me!).  Add 2 tablespoons white sugar and 2-3 tablespoons (or more if needed) water.  Stir well.  Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then pour the pecans out on a dish to cool.  You can even put it in the refrigerator to speed up the process.  Your pecans are now candied and required very little time, effort or clean up.

Second, when cutting up strawberries (mushrooms, eggs or anything needing uniformity), use an egg slicer.  It will create perfect, uniform slices and save you a ton of time.

See how pretty the strawberries look and you didn't risk cutting your fingers either!

Thirdly, I use a pourable dressing bottle to make the dressing for this.  Any salad will start to get soggy if you dress it too early.  Anytime I take this salad somewhere, I take the dressing with me in this container.  I can shake it up real quick and pour it over the salad.  Then it is perfect and ready to be devoured.

Lastly,  I like to serve this salad in a large glass bowl or trifle.  It has bright colors and is beautiful.  Seeing it from all angles enhances the need to eat it.  I also like to layer this salad so that all the toppings are spread throughout.  This also means some mandarin oranges and strawberries last for everyone as my children often sneak off with some from the top.

Summer Spinach Salad

1 carton of strawberries sliced
1 large can of mandarin oranges
1 large bag of fresh baby spinach
1 cup of chopped pecans
2 TBSP sugar

Cook pecans and sugar over low heat until melted, then cool.  I sometimes just put this mixture in the microwave when I am in a hurry.

Layer spinach strawberries, mandarin oranges and pecans in large bowl.  Do two layers if possible or toss items altogether.

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP white vinegar

Double dressing for larger salads.  The above pictured salad had a doubled dressing.


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