Roasted strawberries are like intensified raw strawberries – roasting brings out the natural sweetness and juiciness and just makes them all that much better. It’s a great option when your strawberries are maybe not quite as good as you remember them at the peak of the season, or if they’ve gone a bit past their best and are verging on overripe. They will shrivel a little in the oven so you don’t need to worry on their appearance as much, and the flavor of roasted strawberry is so delicious, you’ll be more interested in the taste than how they look once you put it all together. Other than roasting the strawberries, this salad takes minutes to put together but you would hardly believe it, there’s such a great range of flavors and textures.
Even roasting the strawberries doesn’t take long – all you do is hull the strawberries (my new tool from Kitchen IQ really helped with that) toss them with oil, vinegar and sugar then roast for 10-15minutes. Strawberries can actually pair with quite bold flavors, more than you might think – balsamic vinegar is great with them, for example, as is black pepper, but here I thought I’d go for a little heat. In the spirit of keeping things as easy as possible, and since I’d just received a bottle of Not Ketchup‘s tangerine hatch chili sauce, it seemed an automatic pairing. Add in some greens, some healthy crunch in the form of hemp seeds, avocado (because it’s just always a good idea) and you’re well on your way to a delicious salad.
You may well have realized that I tend to prefer to make most of my foods from scratch, partly because they often taste better and a lot because I then know what’s in them, but now and then there are exceptions. If things are made with good ingredients, taste good and make life easier then they are fair game in my kitchen. After all, it’s not as if I make my own olive oil and soy sauce, but they are still well-used. Hence Not Ketchup’s sauce has appeared here and I will definitely be trying some of the ideas others are sharing to use it. Hunt some down and use it to roast vegetables, as a sauce with chicken or shrimp or as here, as part of a salad dressing.
I’ve also included some Bob’s Red Mill hulled hemp hearts in the salad as they give a delicious crunch and are wonderfully healthy as well. I think some of the best salads have a good mix of textures, so having a bit of crunch is something I often try to include along with softer textures, like the strawberries and avocado. These delicious little seeds are also very versatile – look out for more ideas from the others taking part in #FreshTastyValentines over the week. I’m hoping to play around with them more in the coming weeks as well.
This salad is so quick, easy, colorful and delicious as well, it makes a fantastic addition to a Valentine’s meal or any excuse to make it really. I won’t even mention how good all the ingredients are for you in case it puts you off, just try it and enjoy.
- 5-6 strawberries
- a little oil, balsamic vinegar and around ¼tsp sugar for roasting
- 2 handfuls of arugula or your favorite greens
- ¼ large or ½ small avocado
- approx 1tsp hulled hemp hearts
- 1tbsp tangerine hatch chili sauce
- ½tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400F/180C.
- Hull the strawberries, cut in half and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle over a little oil, balsamic vinegar and sugar and toss them to coat. I tend to leave them cut side up for this salad so you don't lose juices too much but it's not too important.
- Roast the strawberries for 10-15min until they are soft, juices are starting to come out and they are coloring a little.
- Allow the strawberries to cool while you make up the rest of the salad - either in individual bowls or a larger serving bowl, add your arugula/greens, then dice the avocado into chunks and put over the top. Once the strawberries have cooled, put these on top as well and then sprinkle over the hemp hearts.
- Make the dressing by blending together the tangerine-hatch chili sauce and the oil and drizzle it over the salad.
See the other recipes being shared today as we launch #FreshTastyValentines:
Thank you to #FreshTastyValentines sponsors for providing me with samples and product to use for #FreshTastyValentines recipe development without additional compensation. All opinions stated are my own.