Unbeknownst to me, this will be the week of salad.
I enjoy pre-planning my meals for the week. I don’t stray too far from my typical weekly batch of steel cut oats, a bean dish and vegetable/grain dish and a soup or salad. My menu is first and foremost based on what I have in my fridge that needs to be eaten sooner rather than later and after that, what is on sale at the store. I had a menu, but it was abandoned with gusto.
On Friday, my friends came over bearing fresh lettuce. They gifted me two massive heads of lettuce from their rooftop garden (local, organic gardening, at its finest), and I couldn’t refuse. This isn’t the first time I have been gifted perishable food items but at least lettuce is quite flexible with its use. (I have yet to venture into cooked lettuce, so I will be trying to use it in fresh salads)
After making the Blueberry Vanilla Chia Jam, I was plotting to make a version with balsamic-roasted strawberries. While I gobbled down the majority of the blueberry jam solely on a spoon, I figured a salad dressing might be more appropriate with my new-found lettuce acquisition.
So here we are with a delicious dressing. Fresh strawberries are delicious and their sweetness is intensified with the caramelization from roasting. While I have baked and macerated strawberries before, I never thought to roast them. Here, they are combined with balsamic vinegar and hazelnut oil with savoury undertones from thyme, rosemary and garlic. Serve it with your favourite greens. I topped my salad here with yellow beans (Rancho Gordo‘s Yellow Indian Woman) and cucumber, but feel free to use whatever you have laying around in your fridge!
Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Adapted from Rosemarried
2 cups ripe strawberries, washed, destemmed and halved
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp hazelnut oil (or oil of choice)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
sweetener, to taste (I added a few drops of Stevia)
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare your strawberries as the oven preheats. Place the strawberries, outsides down, on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until roasted and caramelized. Remove and allow to cool.
2. Once cooled, place remaining ingredients into a blend and combine well. Adjust oil, water, sweetener, salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Store dressing in the fridge in an airtight container for a week or more. I used it with fresh greens, white beans (Yellow Indian Woman) and cucumber.
Makes 1 cup.