Why berries are relegated to breakfast and dessert is beyond me…
I suppose it’s the sweetness.
But I’m loving berries in savory dishes right now, especially since they are abundant (defying, of course, all laws of economics because even though they are everywhere, they are not necessarily cheaper).
It would be a shame to cook the freshness out of berries, we so pureed a handful of the most gorgeous strawberries you’ve ever seen with some lemon juice and olive oil and made an awesome Strawberry Vinaigrette (so much better than “strawberry” vinaigrettes we’ve had made with preserves or just infused vinegars, if we do say so ourselves).
Super ripe strawberries are sweet, but also have a subtle natural tartness that together, are so perfect with peppery arugula. We threw in fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, and some toasted walnuts to complete the salad.
Berry Walnut Arugula Salad with Roast Chicken and Strawberry Vinaigrette
The cooked roast chicken makes this a main dish salad. You can leave the chicken out and serve the salad as a starter. The recipe for the Strawberry Vinaigrette makes a little more than a cup, which is much more than you need in one meal. Cover and store in refrigerator; it will keep for about 2 days.
serves 2 to 4 depending on serving size
For Strawberry Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 1-2 teaspoons sweetener like agave syrup, honey, or sugar, depending on ripeness of strawberries and how sweet you like the dressing
2-4 generous handfuls arugula
4 tablespoons Strawberry Vinaigrette
¼ cup fresh blackberries
¼ cup fresh blueberries
¼ cup fresh raspberries
¼ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
optional: crumbled blue, feta, or goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Make the Vinaigrette: In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, puree strawberries with lemon juice. If you are using sweetener, add with lemon juice. With the food processor running, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or lemon juice.
Make the Salad: Toss the arugula in a large bowl with the Strawberry Vinaigrette. Taste and adjust by adding more vinaigrette, salt and/or pepper if needed.
Divide dressed arugula among plates or bowls. Divide berries, walnuts and chicken (and cheese if you’re using) among plates.
(You can, of course, toss the berries, walnut and chicken in with the arugula and dress them with the vinaigrette, too, but we like the flavor of the nuts and berries to be ever so slightly distinct from the strawberries.)