Strawberries…to me, there’s nothing better than grabbing one by the stem with eager fingers and biting into the perfectly ripe, erubescent, juicy, and oh-so-sweet flesh during this time of the year. I’m that crazy woman at the store who hovers over the berry containers and examines them from every angle imaginable, searching for that perfect batch. And yes, I do succeed..eventually. If my thirties have taught me anything, it’s that having some thick skin is not so bad after all.
They’ve also taught me to be a more economical and practical shopper. Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean that I must take it home with me. Truth be told, I still struggle with certain items (ahem..purses and shoes), and I’m now adding strawberries to the list. They are on sale everywhere I turn, and I seriously can’t help myself from taking full advantage of it!
Naturally, these beauties have been ending up in everything we eat. Good thing the Hungryman shares my obsession. I couldn’t clean off an entire plate all by myself..or could I?
This strawberry salad with orange vinaigrette couldn’t be simpler to make. And it is just as tasty as it is gorgeous. It is the perfect make-ahead meal as the flavors mix and mingle more thoroughly with time.
You can decide how much vinaigrette you want to pour into the salad. I used about half and saved the rest to repurpose for another meal. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
As for the grains, I’m trying to “challenge” the Hungryman to broaden his appreciation for all the wonderful grains out there. I’ve succeeded in converting him to a quinoa-lover (specifically, yellow ones) so far, but that’s about it. He is still not too fond of the red ones, but I personally think they have so much more flavor – nutty, hearty, and delicious. So as not to freak him out entirely, I decided to combine them with Israeli or pearl couscous, which he adores! Feel free to use just one or the other for time and convenience sake. I didn’t mind the extra step too much… It’s all for love ;).
You really must plan ahead and make this dish at least several hours before serving. The flavors really amplify the longer it sits.
- 1½ cup fresh strawberries, quartered
- ½ cup red quinoa
- ½ cup couscous (I used pearl)
- 5-7 basil leaves, roughly chopped
- ¼ tsp ground ginger (or freshly grated)
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 oz. crumbled herbed goat cheese
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp orange zest
- For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Cook quinoa and couscous according to package instructions. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
- Add strawberries and basil. Toss with vinaigrette until well coated. Season to taste. Place in the refrigerator for several hours to let the flavors develop.
- When ready to serve, add cheese, almonds, and more fresh basil.
I’m also sharing this recipe on the Healthy Aperture Blog where you will find tons of healthy and delicious recipes and inspirations ;).