My mother recently took a trip to Louisiana – New Orleans and Baton Rouge – to see family. Her other reason for this trip was to get strawberries at the Louisiana Strawberry Festival. She feels like Louisiana spring strawberries are some of the best things on earth. And she is kinda right. She was also nice enough to bring me a few pints.
Strawberry and Goat Cheese Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing
Serves 2 large salads or 4 small salads
- 3 big handfuls baby spinach
- 1/2 pint strawberries, sliced (or a few more if you are so inclined)
- 1/2 cup sweet and spicy pecans (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 4 tablespoons (ish) of poppy seed dressing (recipe below)
Toss all items together with a big pinch of salt and pepper and serve.
Sweet and Spicy Pecans
This makes more of the seasoning mix than you actually need for the salad. Save it for later to make a sweet and spicy nut mixture for snacking.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- big pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup pecans
Mix sugar, cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, and salt together in bowl until well combined.
Toast pecans in a 350 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes until they start to smell nice and toasty, but don’t burn!
Toss pecans with melted butter and about 2 tablespoons of sweet and spicy seasoning. Taste to see if seasoned well enough to your liking, and add more seasoning if necessary.
Poppy Seed Dressing
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar (substitute honey if you don’t have any agave nectar, but don’t use quite as much)
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- Pinch of sugar, salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup (ish) olive oil
Whisk together both vinegars, agave nectar, poppy seeds, sugar, salt, and pepper until well combined. Slowly start whisking in olive oil (meaning, whisk quickly but pour oil in slowly.) You should start to see the dressing “come together” and become emulsified. As the dressing starts looking more thick and like a dressing, stop whisking for a bit to taste. If it is still too zingy, keep adding oil until it tastes balanced. You may need to season it a bit more with some salt and pepper at this time, too, to reach a taste you are happy with.