A delicious Spinach Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad, with watercress, tossed in a light maple vinaigrette and topped with sliced strawberries, goat cheese, maple-glazed walnuts and balsamic glaze.
This strawberry salad makes me happy just to look at, with it's bright colours! This salad is so much more than a pretty plate, though. There is so much goodness going on here I couldn't fit it all in the title.
It starts with baby spinach and some watercress. I love watercress. It adds great texture to a salad and it's a nutritional powerhouse that's often overlooked. The greens are tossed in a simple maple vinaigrette. Not a lot - just enough to moisten it. The greens are then topped with sliced strawberries, goat cheese crumbles, maple-glazed walnuts and a balsamic glaze.
It's worth mentioning again the maple-glazed walnuts, because they are seriously delicious. Walnuts are a nice nut and all, but they can tend to be a tiny bit bitter. It's amazing what a quick trip to a skillet will do though, when you add a bit of maple syrup. All at once, they are toasted and glazed in maple sweetness and I guarantee, you'll be snacking on them beyond this salad!
Cooks' Notes for Spinach Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad
I have to express my undying love for balsamic glaze. I used to have to pick it up in the city, but it's now easily available in my small-town grocery store. Look for it in with the balsamic vinegars. It's rich, thick and sweet and the perfect complement to the other flavours going on in this salad. If you can't find it, simply reduce some regular balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan with a bit of brown sugar for the same effect.
Spinach Strawberry Goat Cheese Walnut Salad
Maple Glazed Walnuts:
- 2/3 cup walnut halves
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- Pinch salt
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable (canola or light olive oil (something with a light or neutral flavour, so you don't overpower the maple syrup))
- 1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Baby Spinach
- Watercress (removed of bottom stems)
- Maple Vinaigrette
- Goat cheese crumbles
- Maple glazed walnuts
- Sliced Strawberries
- Balsamic Glaze
- Freshly ground pepper
- For the Maple Glazed Walnuts: Heat a skillet over medium heat on the stove-top. Add the walnut halves, maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until caramelized and toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove to a sheet of parchment paper and using a fork, quickly separate nuts so they are not touching each other. Allow to cool at room temperature, then store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until needed.
- For the Maple Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or a jar. Stir/shake together right before pouring over greens.
- To assemble the salad: Place some baby spinach and watercress in to a large bowl. Shake or stir vinaigrette and drizzle a bit over the greens. Toss until lightly moistened, then remove to serving plate or bowl.
- Top salad with some sliced strawberries, goat cheese crumbles and maple-glazed walnuts. Top with balsamic glaze and a bit of freshly ground pepper, if desired.