Summer Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

IMG_3328

Is it weird that I really like fruit on my salads? I love the flavor of crunchy apples or sweet strawberries on top of crispy romaine lettuce or mixed greens. Maybe it's just because it's summer and I am constantly bombarded with delicious fresh fruit. When winter rolls around, I'll probably be mixing pumpkin and fruitcake and layering it over greens or throwing turkey and green bean casserole together over spinach. Actually, maybe I should just take a salad hiatus over winter...

Recently, my mom and I visited this gorgeous hiking spot called Rough Ridge which is located off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone, North Carolina. I've heard that the Blue Ridge Parkway is supposed to be the most scenic highway in the U.S. I think it's one of my favorite places. Here's a photo I took while I was there. Pretty, huh?

On the way back, we stopped at this awesome little shop that sells a wide variety of balsamic vinegars and olive oils called The Art of Oil. The store lets you sample all of their products and they are amazing. They have chocolate infused balsamic vinegar and blood orange flavored olive oil, to name a few. The cinnamon pear balsamic vinegar was a little spicy, but also had a wonderful sweetness.

I love pairing tangy goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, and granny smith apples, so I knew I would creating something delicious in the near future...

For this salad, I use a red romaine lettuce. I loved the color of this lettuce. But really any lettuce will do. I would love to try it over arugula or mesclun greens.

I pretty much tossed together a sweet and simple, creamy dressing with the balsamic vinegar and some greek yogurt. I add strawberry preserves to give the dressing some sweetness and texture

I'm pretty crazy about greek yogurt. Did you know it has 2 times the protein of regular yogurt? Plus it is a wonderful substitute for mayonnaise and sour cream.

I also threw in some fresh strawberries, granny smith apples, crumbled goat cheese, celery, and sliced turkey. I think some walnuts on top would have taken this over the edge.

Summer Salad with Creamy Balsamic Dressing

Makes 1 large salad or 2 side salads

For the salad

Ingredients
  • 4-6 cups of chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 Tablespoons soft goat cheese, crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • 4 strawberries, diced, plus some slices for garnish
  • 1/2 medium granny smith apple, diced, plus some slices for garnish
  • 4 ounces cooker turkey or chicken, sliced or cubed
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • walnuts, for garnish
  • dressing, recipe follows
Method
  1. In a large bowl, toss lettuce, goat cheese, strawberries, apple, turkey, celery, and desired amount of dressing.
  2. Serve salad, garnishing with strawberry and apple slices, crumbled goat cheese, and walnuts.

For the dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup low-fat or fat-free greek yogurt
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Vinegar (or any other "plain" or flavored balsamic vinegars or a red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon strawberry preserves or jam
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
Method
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mixing until smooth.