Thursday, August 4, 2011

Berry Fruity Salad

Mmmm..... I love making yummy salads during the summer time. It is sooo hot outside and the last thing you want to do is heat up the house by turning on the oven. So we eat salads! I had a salad like this from Wendy's and I LOVED it so I made a similar one at home and love having the stuff on hand to make it over and over again (especially for myself at lunch time).

This is such an easy but still kinda fancy looking salad to throw together and it's so fresh and fruity too!

{{Berry Fruity Salad}}

Romaine Lettuce, cut up
Fresh Strawberries, quartered
Fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
Fresh Blueberries
Oven Roasted Almonds (directions below)
Shaved Asiago Cheese
Raspberry Vinaigrette (I used the Trader Joe's Raspberry Vinaigrette, but there is a good simple recipe for one included)

(I prepare the salads on each plate individually.) First lay a bed of lettuce on the plate and then sprinkle the desired amount of fruit on your lettuce, to achieve your preferred proportions, with more or less fruit. Next sprinkle on the oven roasted almonds, and shaved asiago cheese and drizzle your dressing. Sit down and enjoy!

With a little bit more time & prep, you can make the salad a complete meal by adding some yummy Grilled/Roasted Chicken, cut up and placed on top of the salad. It tastes so good to have the warm chicken breast on top of the cool, fresh salad. Prepare your chicken the way you like it best (or you can even pop open a can of chicken and sprinkle that on top... just depends on how you like it and how much time you have).

Here's the Trader Joe's Raspberry Vinaigrette....
Drizzled over the salad.... Mmmm... It's ready to eat!
....and here's the homemade recipe for a dressing.

Red Raspberry Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 (10 ounce) jar seedless raspberry jam

Combine the olive oil, rice vinegar, and raspberry jam in a blender. Process until smooth. Store in a jar in the refrigerator.

Oven Roasted Almonds

2 cups slivered almonds
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place the almonds in one layer on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet.
Coat almonds with oil and then sprinkle them with sea salt and toss to coat evenly.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes so the almonds brown evenly. They are done when they are toasted brown and fragrant. Transfer almonds to a paper towel and cool completely before serving.
**Omit oil and salt and roast as directed for plain roasted almonds.

Roasting nuts helps to intensify the flavor of the nut... so it is worth the extra time to toast them.

Store roasted almonds in a air tight container, or sealed baggie with all of the air squeezed out and put them in a cool, dry, dark place (ideally in the refrigerator) and use within three months.

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