Saturday, June 8, 2013
#TheSaladBar: Strawberry Mango Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing
I have to tell you about the great new blogging group I've joined. It's called #TheSaladBar. Once a month, we all post a salad recipe that fits into the theme for the month. Then we all post at the same time. I can't wait to make the rounds to see everyone else's creations. I've really been making an effort to get more fruits and veggies into our diets, and I think this group will make eating healthy a lot easier.
This month's theme is berries! I was so excited because I love salads with fruit in them, especially berries. I personally think berries and lettuce are a match made in heaven. Add a tangy dressing and I'm in love. Today's salad has some of my very favorite foods mixed together to make a sweet/tart symphony in your mouth. Sweet strawberries, smooth delicious mangos, crunchy candied almonds and of course, bacon. But I think my favorite part of the whole thing is the fresh greens that I picked out of my garden. There is nothing like fresh lettuce and spinach. It is so much better than anything you can buy at the store.
So this salad is a great main dish salad. I served it with some fresh rolls and strawberry lemonade and it made a nice meal on a hot evening. You could also leave out the chicken and serve it as a side salad as well.
Be sure to scroll down and check out all the great salad recipes from other group members.
Strawberry Mango Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing
1 bag baby spinach
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 diced red bell pepeer
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I seasoned mine with Montreal Steak Seasoning and baked them)
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup candied almonds
Sweet Balsamic Dressing:
2 tsp. dry Italian salad dressing mix
1/2-3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it. I only used 1/2 a cup.)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup oil
3/4 tsp. paprika
1 Tbs. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
Start by cooking the bacon. I bake mine in the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes or until it's as crispy as I like it. Drain on paper towels and chop up when it's cool enough to handle.
For the candied almonds, put 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and 1/4 cup sugar in a saute pan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring often. When the sugar starts to melt, stir constantly until the nuts are completely coated in the melted sugar. Turn out onto a piece of foil that you've sprayed with cooking spray. (A word to the wise, NEVER turn these almonds out onto a paper towel, unless you plan to put paper towels on the menu because you'll never get the towel pieces off the nuts.) Allow to cool completely.
For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients in a bowl until it is combined and mixed completely. I used my food processor to really get it mixed up well.
In a large salad bowl, toss the spinach, lettuce, red pepper, chicken, mango and strawberries. Top it off with the bacon and candied almonds. Drizzle with dressing, toss it up and serve immediately.
**This salad doesn't store well so add dressing only to what you plan to eat right away.**