Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds

This is of my favorite salads.  It has the perfect combination of tastes and textures. I could wax poetic about how each element of the combination … the sweetness from the fruit, tartness from the lettuces, saltiness from the cheese, and crunch from the nuts … compliments the others.  But I will spare you the rhetoric and just tell you in plain terms … it’s darn good!

The Blush Wine Vinaigrette is my homemade version of Brianna’s Blush Wine Vinaigrette.  When I was writing my cookbook Simply Salads, I took some of my favorite store-bought dressings and did my best to imitate them. At times my kitchen resembled a strange sort of vinegar and oil laboratory! Some attempts worked; others didn’t.  But I am proud to say that I may even like my homemade version of this dressing better than the original. It’s brighter in flavor (thanks to the freshly squeezed lemon juice), has no preservatives or MSG, and costs so much less than the bottled original.

Hope this becomes one of your favorite salad combos too!

Enjoy!

Mixed Lettuces with Strawberries, Red Grapes, and Almonds
From my cookbook Simply Salads

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the salad:
1 bag (8 ounces) Mediterranean salad blend
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup red grapes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (preferably Maytag)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Blush Wine Vinaigrette:

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.  Slowly add the oil in a stream, whisking to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad:

In a large salad bowl toss together the salad blend, strawberries, grapes, scallions, almond slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Add the dressing to taste and gently toss.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 appetizer or side salads.

Cooking Tip:  Mix and match this colorful salad using your favorite ingredients.  Try substituting spinach or using green grapes or dried cranberries. Goat cheese is also a nice substitute for the blue cheese.

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Jennifer Chandler

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