Nothing says summer’s just around the corner like strawberries at the market, displayed in their tidy containers like so many jewels.
Personally, I’ve always been crazy about these juicy little gems, and could happily eat them by the quart, awash in fond childhood memories. Because for me, their sweet-tart taste inevitably calls to mind lazy summer picnics on the National Mall with my family, where I’d eat strawberries one after another after another, my bare feet nestled in cool green grass while the sweet strains of music played by the National Symphony Orchestra drifted overhead on the breeze.
Ah, the perks of growing up in DC.
But I digress. Given my lifelong love of strawberries, I decided to create a salad to showcase these beauties—along with veggies, of course! But none of this spinach-and-strawberry stuff (with all due respect). No, I wanted something a little more unexpected. So I paired the summery flavor of strawberries with the sweet crunch of jicama and the peppery kick of watercress. (Which ain’t just for tea sammies, as it turns out.) Finished off with a light, sweet macadamia dressing, the resulting salad is as bright and refreshing as a day in late May.
In fact, this combination reads more like a fruit salad than a veggie salad, so I’m guessing even the pickiest kids and avowed veggie haters (the horrors!) will gladly devour it.
Better still, they’ll be getting some awesome nutrition, as each serving has 108% of the daily value of Vitamin C and 57% of the daily value of Vitamin K, while superfood watercress provides lutein and zeaxanthin (for healthy vision) as well as cancer-fighting phytochemicals¹.
Yet this salad tastes so good that its health benefits will be the last thing on anyone’s mind—my favorite way to keep my family (and myself!) eating right.
- http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/nov2007_sf_watercress_01.htm1. Accessed May 10, 2013.
- 1 large jicama (1.5 lbs), peeled and cut into matchsticks (Click here for a fast and easy way to peel jicama.)
- 2 bunches watercress, leaves only, chopped (approx. 3 c leaves loosely packed, before chopping)
- 4–6 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 3 c sliced strawberries (equivalent to a 1-lb container at the store)
- 2 c green grape halves (be sure they’re sweet; otherwise, sub ½ c golden raisins)
- ⅔ c apple juice
- ¼ c + 2 Tbsp golden raisins, gently packed
- 18 macadamia nuts
- 1½ Tbsp rice vinegar
- Place all dressing ingredients in a high-powered blender, or in the tall mixing cup that came with your immersion blender (if you have one). Set aside to soak.
- Prep the salad ingredients, adding them to a large bowl as you go. Toss salad ingredients gently to combine (I washed up well and used my hands to mix everything, to keep the sliced strawberries intact).
- Once salad is ready, blend dressing ingredients using an immersion blender or a high-powered blender until very smooth. If you have an immersion blender, this may take a little while, so hold down the throttle and let those ponies run!
- Toss salad with dressing if you plan on eating it all immediately; otherwise, serve the salad with the dressing alongside. Either way it’s delicious!
When you bite into that first perfectly sweet, juicy strawberry of the season, what comes to mind? Tell me all about it in the comments!