Strawberry Arugula Salad with a simple, sugar-free Balsamic Tahini Vinaigrette is just what you need this summer. It’s bursting with fresh flavors, bringing you sweet and tart in every forkful. All it takes is a few key ingredients that you can prepare in advance or right before serving.
Summer means long days spent in the sun, extra freckles, and fresh berries. I bought my first quart of bright red strawberries from the bodega down the street just last week. That first bite was everything a strawberry should be. Sweet. Tangy. Nostalgic. Hopeful.
It made me think of picking berries from the bushes outside my bunkhouse at sleep away camp. Making fruit smoothies on Sunday mornings as a kid. Then, as I swallowed, I saw the possibilities ahead, all the doors that I can open this summer. Regardless where they lead to, it’s bound to be an adventure.
Next time you bite into a strawberry, close your eyes. You’ll see it too.
Right now, though, I’m seeing this Strawberry Arugula Salad at your Fourth of July barbecue. When it comes to grilling, I always look for a good salad to pair with the food. Although it’s easy, the standard romaine, cucumber, tomato, pepper combo falls a little flat. However, you also don’t want your salad to clash with the main affair. I’m afraid of falling, yet always find myself walking the tightrope between blah and overwhelming salads.
Until now. This salad needs only a few key ingredients, making it a great addition to the table.
The base of baby arugula gives a sharp bite balanced by the sweetness of the strawberries. Cucumbers add cooling crunch. Finally the avocado and toasted walnuts provide the healthy fats that keep you feeling satisfied, as well as bring those omega-3 levels up.
Note: I think that toasting the walnuts for a few minutes helps bring out their flavor, but if you’re pressed for time or don’t want to then don’t worry. Your salad will still be delicious.
While it’s certainly fantastic on its own, you can also add protein to your Strawberry Arugula Salad. I recommend grilled chicken strips, feta cheese crumbles, or crispy tofu. If you like something else, though, then go for it! Be sure to let me know what you try.
Finally, we can’t forget the dressing. I love strawberries with balsamic vinegar, for the tart-sweet flavor palette. This salad was screaming for some balsamic vinaigrette to finish it off. Even though many vinaigrettes contain added sugars to make them thicker and sweeter, I didn’t want to overpower the natural sweetness of the strawberries. Instead, I mixed in some tahini. It created the perfect consistency and cut the sharp vinegar flavor perfectly.
Whether you toss the salad together on your way out the door or in advance, make sure to dress it right before serving, so that the arugula doesn’t wilt. You’ll probably have extra dressing that you can use on other salads throughout the week.
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- 7 oz baby arugula
- 1 qt strawberries, quartered
- 1 large English cucumber, halved and sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 avocado, diced
- FOR THE DRESSING:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar*
- 2 tbsp tahini
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- Optional: Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Spread out the walnuts in a single layer on a pan and toast for about 7 minutes, until golden. Be careful not to let them burn!
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together all of the salad ingredients.
- Whisk the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl or jar. Pour it over the salad right before serving, to taste. Store any extra in an airtight jar or container.
*For a nut-free version, simply replace the walnuts with your favorite seed.