Today, I bring to you a refreshing Strawberry Cucumber Salad.
For those of you who love watermelon feta salads, this one’s for you.
I never thought of pairing cucumbers with strawberries, but it works. I remember when I had my first watermelon salad with feta. I was hooked. The salty and sweet combination that I love so much in baked goods and main dishes is just as appealing to me in a salad.
Have I told you we are going whole hog on salads lately? Okay, maybe “whole hog” is not the best way to describe it haha! But, what’s the alternative, whole garden? Whole head of lettuce? I’m open to suggestions here. The point is that we’ve got more than our average amount of veggies around these days. Why, you ask?
We finally joined a CSA! I’ve been wanting to for a long time but we could never find one that either didn’t have a waiting list or wasn’t an unreasonable distance away from us. But now, my friend has become an official pick up point for a wonderful CSA that provides us with delicious organic produce! Yay! Hurray! I, of course, bought the large share, thinking that we would easily consume it. I mean, we eat lots of veggies here. How hard could it be?
Well, let me tell you about a new issue in my life….CSA stress! Yes, my friends, the struggle is real. I’m only on our second box, but I’m slightly overwhelmed by the amount of fresh veggies in our lives right now. Don’t get me wrong. I’m also unbelievably thrilled and excited to see what’s in our box each week. It’s like a present we get to unwrap. My kids are great eaters so we all look forward to seeing what’s in store for us each week, what new vegetables we get to explore…like radishes. I never buy them. I don’t know why. I like them well enough, I just never think to buy them. So when we received radishes, I realized my kids had never had them, not that I think they would have liked them anyway, but there they were looking at the most beautiful white and deep lipstick pink radishes. And guess what? They loved them! They loved them raw, they loved them roasted. Those radishes were a win no matter how they were prepared. Who’d have thought?
So part of my stress is trying to use up all the glorious bounty that comes our way each week and part of it is the fact that I want to photograph and blog about everything I’m making! It’s not possible. There’s too much. The color of the radishes was insanely gorgeous. But now I can only talk about them. I can’t even show you. Ugh! So expect more stories on the ongoing saga of our first CSA. Seriously, I think I have a story for each item that comes in the box.
I have some recipes coming your way that I’ve made with some of wonderful and beautiful produce we’ve been getting, but it pains me that it’s only a fraction of what I could be sharing.
But hey, what I do have is this super pretty and delicious Strawberry Cucumber Salad. I came up with this one before the deluge of the CSA. There’s so many wonderful berries hitting the stores that I am going crazy over berry recipes like this scone recipe that I shared last week. I thought I’d balance some of the splurgey things you can do with berries and offer a healthy choice, highlighting them in this fresh and fruity salad.
The cucumbers are cool and crunchy. The strawberries are sweet and juicy. Both are balanced by a sweet and sour citrusy, oil free vinaigrette and the whole thing is topped with some briny feta cheese and minty basil. It’s a great salad for a hot summer day and a nice change of pace from your typical fruit salad. (And the colors are pretty:)
Now, except for the vinaigrette, it’s kind of a non-recipe. Use as much or as little of any of the ingredients. Try goat cheese instead of feta. Swap mint for basil if you like. Experiment a little. I know I am. Because while you’re possibly getting ready to make this refreshing little salad…
I’ll be in the kitchen trying to figure out what the heck I’m going to do with something called, “lovage” from my CSA.
Strawberry Cucumber Salad
For the dressing:
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons honey or agave
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice zest the orange before juicing
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest use any leftover zest from the orange for garnish
For the salad:
- 2 cups quartered strawberries
- 2 cups thickly sliced and quartered cucumbers
For the topping/garnish:
- 3 Tablespoons crumbled feta
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- orange zest for garnish
Make dressing. Measure all ingredients for dressing into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine.
Place berries and cucumbers in a medium bowl and pour dressing over all. Toss to combine making sure the salad is completely coated in the vinaigrette.
Sprinkle feta and chopped basil over top of salad. Garnish with additional orange zest, if desired. Serve.
*The salad is good served immediately, but it does benefit from a little time in the refrigerator to help the flavors meld, maybe 30 minutes or so. You don't want the strawberries to macerate into mush, and the vinegar and honey will begin to break them down, so just a short time is good. If you decide to do that, wait to top the salad with feta, basil and orange zest until right before serving.
*You can use a white champagne vinegar or your favorite vinegar. Be careful of using any flavored vinegars or balsamic vinegar in this particular vinaigrette, because while they may be delicious on their own, they will already be sweeter than a typical wine vinegar and may throw off the balance of sweet and sour in this recipe. You'll have to adjust the amount of honey to taste.
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