Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Taste of Summer in the Winter

We have been having unseasonably warm weather here in Texas.  It was in the 70's today!  To add to the illusion that winter is over, all kinds of beautiful, fresh berries have started to make an appearance in our local supermarkets.  My Man came home from the market last week with 12 half-pints of raspberries because they were a dollar each!  I waited all last summer for them to go on sale and they never did, so I was so excited, I went back and got another 12!  Or was it 16?!

I froze a bunch of them for future pies, trifles, and maybe even an ice cream or sorbet.  Place them (unwashed) in a single layer on a sheet pan

 and pop into the freezer for a few hours until frozen through, then bag and label.

We also ate a lot of them fresh.  We all love raspberries and feel absolutely no guilt when eating them as a snack as they are rich in antioxidants and fiber.

Blackberries have also been really cheap lately (88 cents for a half-pint this week!).  So I decided to combine the two berries in one delicious, fresh salad.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Berries, Candied Almonds, and Raspberry Vinaigrette
(click here to print)

5 oz. fresh baby spinach (or greens of your choice), washed and spun dry
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/3 to 1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
1/2 cup each fresh raspberries and blackberries
1/3 cup minced green onion

Candied Nuts
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. sugar

Raspberry Vinaigrette
1/3 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. raspberry jam
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine almonds and sugar in a small nonstick frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown.  Pour onto a piece of parchment paper to cool, separating so that they don't stick together.

Combine vinaigrette ingredients and mix thoroughly.

When ready to serve, mix the spinach, onions, almonds and feta cheese together.  Toss lightly.  Scatter the avocado and berries around each portion.  Drizzle with the raspberry vinaigrette.

One thing I love about this salad is that it also tastes divine with dried cherries or cranberries in place of the fresh berries.  Or you can use bleu cheese instead of feta.  You can also change up the nuts and/or just toast them without candying them.  You could even try different types of preserves or jam in the basic vinaigrette recipe: maybe orange marmalade or fig preserves?

I just love salads with fruit and nuts.  It satisfies my sweet tooth in a healthy way.  And isn't this salad fresh and pretty?

Linking to:

 Ms. enPlace

Cast Party Wednesday


Martha said...

mmm, yum! Red Raspberries are one of my favorites!

MM said...

Thank you for linking with See Ya In the Gumbo. Your salad is stunning! I'm a big fan of adding nuts & fruit to leafy salads. Love the colors and textures here--I could turn this into a meal.

Paula {Salad in a Jar} said...

Where are you shopping girl? I need to make the drive. What a great way to fill your freezer!!

Vicki V @ said...

They were at Kroger! And Sprouts had the blackberries for 88 cents!

The Café Sucré Farine said...

Wow, I'm so jealous! I hope my market gets the memo! But I would have done the same thing if I found these berries for such a great price ....... maybe I need to move to Texas! Your salad looks fantastic! :)

Lady Behind The Curtain said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your recipe is being featured today on Today's Menu Round Up.
Please go and grab a "featured" button.
Thank you for sharing your recipe with me at Cast Party Wednesday! ---Sheryl---

MM said...

Wanted to let you know that this salad was one of the top-viewed links last week. It's featured at this week's See Ya In the Gumbo.