It's Almost Strawberry Season, So Put Those Beauties Into Everything, Even Salad

ALEX_G_ARUGULA_STRAWBERRY_SALAD_H.jpg

ALEX_G_ARUGULA_STRAWBERRY_SALAD_H.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

We’re finally in the early days of strawberry season, which means it’s time to ditch those firm, dry, white-centered berries we know from winter and welcome in their place spring’s juicy, ruby-red beauties. While desserts like shortcakes, cheesecake and cupcakes are tried-and-true ways to put these sweet bites to work, savory favorites, too, are ideal for letting strawberries shine. 

If you’ve never before worked with strawberries in a non-dessert, try starting with a salad; you’ll be able to balance the fruit’s natural sugars with tangy, acidic flavors in the dressing and peppery greens, which means you won’t end up eating a too-sweet dish. Check out Food Network’s best-five strawberry salads below, each an easy-to-make pick that’s ready to eat in 25 minutes or fewer.

“A salad formed in my head: one that would showcase how delicious strawberries can be when used outside of the ‘dessert’ realm,” Alex Guarnaschelli explains of what led her to craft this salad as she took in the sight of greens and berries at a New York state farm.

EK-0503 Strawberry and Mozzarella Salad

Think of this healthy 15-minute dish as a berry-focused take on a caprese. In place of traditional tomatoes there are bright strawberries instead, which pair well with the fragrant basil.

Rachael-Ray-Strawberry-Salad

Rachael-Ray-Strawberry-Salad

Photo by: Tara Donne ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Tara Donne, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

It takes just a few everyday ingredients and only five quick minutes to make Rachael Ray’s simple salad. The secret to guaranteeing bold strawberry flavor in her recipe is the strawberry jam featured in her dressing, plus a whole pint of the fresh fruit.

For a welcome crunch in her big-batch salad, Trisha opts for a mixture of toasted almonds, sunflower seeds and packaged ramen noodles to combine with baby spinach and a sweetened garlic-laced dressing.

After grilling chicken breasts until they’re tender and juicy, The Pioneer Woman combines the meat with greens, berries and goat cheese to create a savory filling for her hearty sandwich.

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