Saturday, April 20, 2013

Strawberry Vinaigrette

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I've been having it my mind for a while now to make this Strawberry Vinaigrette.  Here at the peak of Spring, they are readily available and stacked high in the grocery store; and we almost always have them at the house, because my daughter is a huge fan!  I love a fresh spinach salad paired with strawberries on top, so I thought I could double up on the flavor by mixing up this dressing.  You never really know what you are getting with store-bought dressings, as they have so many preservatives and stuff in them.  But this one is all fresh and natural and took only minutes to throw into the food processor. 

I didn't really observe the 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar in this vinaigrette.  The pureed strawberries are so creamy feeling in your mouth that a large proportion of oil would have been... well... yuck - in my opinion.  I was going for subtly sweet, tangy, and just a bit spicy for this flavor profile.  As always, feel free to adjust any component to suit your tastes. 
 
Vinaigrette Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp shallots, minced
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black poppy seeds





For the salad:  This isn't really part of the "recipe," but
here's what all I had in this salad in case you are interested.  It would also be fabulous to slice up a grilled chicken breast to add to this list!!!
  • fresh baby spinach
  • mandarin orange slices (straight out of my daughter's fruit cup)
  • minced red onion 
  • chunks of fresh strawberries
  • honey glazed pecans
  • dried cranberries
  • grape tomatoes, quartered
  • crumbled goat cheese (a must!  Goes SO GOOD with the strawberry!  You could also use feta.)
  • kosher salt and coarse black pepper
Method:  Haha... I'm  not sure there really is a "method."  Cut up and throw the first six ingredients into the food processor.  Puree.  With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until everything is blended.  Add the salt and pepper and adjust the flavors to your liking.  Stir in the poppy seeds.  Store the vinaigrette in a closed container in the refrigerator. 

The amount of jalapeno will depend on your pepper.  Start on the low end and add more if you want it spicier.  I have jalapeno plants growing, and you can take two peppers off of the same plant at the same time, and they will be entirely different in the amount of heat they yield.  You could also choose to leave the seeds in for additional heat.

Step-by-Step:
Cut up and throw the first six ingredients into the food processor.
2 cups fresh strawberries

1 Tbsp shallots, minced

1 - 1 1/2 tsp jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup honey
4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
 Puree.  Then, with the motor running, drizzle in the oil until everything is blended. 
1/4 cup canola oil
Add the salt and pepper and adjust the flavors to your liking.  Stir in the poppy seeds. 
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper
1/4 tsp black poppy seeds
Store the vinaigrette in a closed container in the refrigerator.  
  

 Now... Serve with all your favorite salad mixings!
 
I'm pretty sure we have every food group represented here...
Now THAT is an awesome thing to open up your lunchbox to! 
Crunchy salad and nuts, fresh fruit, tart cranberries.. with that creamy tangy goat cheese.. Oh MY!!

 
Yummm... take a bite!
 
I hope you have enjoyed this!  
Please browse through my Recipe Index for tons of other ideas to cook with and for your family...  I'm sure you will find something to pique your interest.  Some things are made-from-scratch and others make liberal use of convenience items to get dinner on the table quickly after a work day!

Order the Menu Musings Cookbook! 
 
Here are a few to get you started:
Buffalo Chicken Dip

Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken

Bananas Foster Cake

Vietnamese Style Lettuce Cups

Toasted Couscous Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

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