Spinach Salad with Summer Fruits
I know I’m sneaking this in under the wire. The first day of fall is only weeks away and our warm summer temperatures are quickly escaping. This is not only upsetting because it means the dreaded Chicago winter is that much closer, but because it also means an end for locally grown, Midwest produce. It’s a very sad thing.
I’ve actually been holding onto this recipe for a few weeks now, but this seemed like a good time to share it. I’m not sure you can even call it a recipe… it’s more like combining fruits and veggies and calling it dinner. A few weeks ago, we were looking to make a light dinner after a weekend of very heavy eating. We came up with this very colorful salad that incorporated seasonal fruits, crunchy vegetables and a tangy dressing. In fact, we were so inspired by the exciting melding of flavors that we’ve been playing around with the sweet/savory dynamic quite a bit lately. Last weekend’s Pesto Pasta with Mango was the best yet – more on that coming soon!
But back to the salad. You could obviously substitute any of your favorite seasonal fruits here, but this is what we had on hand. The other big component is the dressing. I am fortunate enough to have an expert dressing-maker in the house, so I have spared from this task. It’s not that making dressing is all that difficult, but mine always seem to come out too oily. Most recently, we’ve been experimenting with flavored olive oils and really enjoy the O Olive Oil Blood Orange, especially in salads like this.
Feel free to use our recipe as a starting points and add in anything else you can think of! Off the top of my head, avocado, sunflower seeds and dried fruits might be nice additions as well. Just make sure to take advantage of the delicious summer fruits before they’re all gone.
1 ripe peach or nectarine
2 carrots, cut in small circles
1 tomato, cut in small wedges
1 orange, sectioned and cut into small pieces
1/4 C. toasted walnuts or pine nuts
1 bag baby spinach
1 large chicken breast, cooked and chopped into bite-size pieces
1/4 C. grated parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a large salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients to taste and dress salad.
Variation: Try using flavored olive oils for the dressing. We like O Olive Oil Blood Orange.