Happy Wednesday! It's officially spring; the trees have little blooms on them, flowers are poking up out the (water drenched as of late) ground, and the calendar even says it has arrived! As always, spring comes with a plethora of salad choices. I figured I should jump on board, especially after those Irish Coffee, Pizza and Carrot Cake recipes, and share a healthier Strawberry Mint Avocado Salad!
Real quick before we dive into this recipe: I completely forgot to tell you all how AMAZING Comic Con was!!! I realize Comic Con is not everyone's thing but wow. I will say it can be completely overwhelming and now I understand why people buy 4 day passes; it's pretty much impossible to see everything. I just had a Saturday pass and spent most of the day meandering about trying to take in as much as I could. I saw a panel with Evangeline Lily about her new book, got an autograph from Jason Momoa (omg GoT fan girl moment), met Alice Cooper, saw Eleven from Stranger Things (yet another fan girl moment, there were many), among many other awesome things.
However. My favorite thing? The WETA workshop. If you don't know, I'm a massive Lord of the Rings fan. WETA was the workshop that created all the props, costumes, miniatures, EVERYTHING for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Want to talk about a fan girl moment??!? They had a booth on the merchandise floor full of figurines, swords, books, costumes, an enormous statue of the gnarly Uruk-Hai Lurtz from Fellowship who (SPOILER) takes down Boromir, and I basically almost died of excitement. Nerd alert: You could buy hobbit or elf ears and then an actual make up artist from WETA could apply them to your ears. Not gunna lie, I was sorely tempted. Instead of the ears, I actually found a set of 3 recipes "written by Hobbits" and pretty much bought them on the spot. Figures doesn't it? I find the one thing related to food in the entire WETA booth and had to have it. ANYway, if you've never been, I strongly suggest going just to check out the awesome madness that is Comic Con.
Ok! Back to the recipe at hand. This salad is chock full of spring strawberries, sliced avocado, creamy goat cheese, sliced red onion, fresh mint leaves, and (of course!) homemade candied walnuts! Gotta have that little treat in there somewhere ????. In order to keep this recipe mostly on the nutritious side, I prefer to make my own candied walnuts, and it only takes 5 minutes! They taste way better, and don't have any of those weird preservatives that are in the store bought kind.
Once you make those walnuts, the rest of this Strawberry Mint Avocado Salad can be thrown together in literally two minutes. Even the vinaigrette is ridiculously easy! A simple mix of raspberry vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Whisk till combined and done! Drizzle this one top and you've got a completely homemade, springtime salad.
PS. Looking for a full meal? A great away to make this Strawberry Mint Avocado Salad more filling is to add some chicken breast or an egg for some protein!
For the Salad:
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries, halved
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 4 cups mixed salad greens
- 5-6 mint leaves, julienned
For the Walnuts
- 1 cup walnuts
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
For the Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons raspberry balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil and salt. Set aside.
- Make the Walnuts: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt butter. Whisk in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Continue to whisk until mixture melts down into a syrup. Add walnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, until toasted, stirring frequently to avoid the walnuts sticking together. Remove them to piece of parchment paper and let cool.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the ingredients for the salad together. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and top with cooled candied walnuts.