We’re visited by Alexa, a friend we met at the Holistic Moms Network of Northern Virginia and who is now a staunch member of our Meat-Up Group, who shares her love for the “crunchy” lifestyle with everyone she can. Today she shares her amazing recipe for her Summer Berry Salad, which we had the pleasure of testing at our Beyond Bacon potluck.
Summer is one of my favorite times of year for so many reasons, but not the least of which is all the amazing local food that is available. Our family really enjoys going out to farms to pick our own food and meet the farmers as well as shopping farmers’ markets. My children’s favorite thing to pick is berries. Every year, we pick strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. We come home with a huge load of berries and spend a day getting them frozen, made into jam, dehydrating them, baking with them, and setting some aside for eating throughout the week (if they last that long).
My Summer Berry Salad is one of our go-to dishes when we have all those wonderful berries around. It is a delicious dish for a potluck or picnic, but elegant enough for a fancy brunch. The recipe was passed down through a long list of mothers, aunts, sisters and friends and nobody could tell me exactly where it came from. When I investigated it’s origins, I found that it hadn’t changed much until it got to me. I made several changes to better fit our dietary choices. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
- 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 c. raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 c. honey
- 2 medium whole garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder (not prepared mustard)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, toasted
- 1 pound baby spinach leaves, trimmed and torn
- 1 pound baby butterhead lettuce, torn
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly on the bias
- 1c fresh raspberries
- 1c fresh blueberries
- 1c fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1/3 c. chopped fresh dill weed
- Place all vinaigrette ingredients in food processor or blender. Turn on and slowly increase speed to high. Blend for one minute. (What really makes this salad delicious is the creamy dressing that is created when the oil and vinegar emulsify in the high powered blender. The dressing can certainly be made by hand and the flavor will be the same, but the creaminess will be missing.)
- Pour dressing in glass jar and chill until serving time.
- Spread the sunflower seeds in single layer on a baking sheet. Toast at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until beginning to turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Set aside about ¼ c of each of the berries, 2 tbsp sliced green onions and ¼ of the sunflower seeds for garnish.
- Toss the spinach, lettuce, dill and remaining berries, green onions and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.
- Just before serving, add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Garnish with reserved berries, green onions, and sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.
Adapted from recipe in Colorado Colore by the Junior League of Denver.
Makes a very large potluck/party sized salad. For home preparation, adjust accordingly.
Although our local u-pick seasons for the three berries in this dish are separated by anywhere from a few weeks to a month or more, we can often find them at the same time at farmers’ markets. Many grocery stores also run specials on berries during summer months since supplies are plentiful. I always recommend getting organic berries and/or talking to the farmers about their growing practices. I try to source as many things locally as possible, even the apple cider vinegar and the honey. I also find that if I am not growing green onions or dill in my garden, one of my friends or neighbors might be. It works well with other types of baby lettuces and greens (whatever looks the best at the market or in your garden) as long as you avoid strong flavors like radicchio, endive, and arugula. I often make it into a complete meal by serving simple grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs on top.
Note from Stacy and Matt: We have personally tried this recipe and love it. Nearly everyone at our potluck went back for seconds. The dill adds a suprisingly perfect addition to the berries and is not to be skipped! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and can’t thank Alexa enough for sharing it… so that we can make it ourselves again!