This post was created in collaboration with our friend at TheFeedfeed and @TheRealFoodRDS.
Summertime, and the eatin’ is easy
Nothing says summer like no cook meals, huge green salads and fresh berries. Growing up I literally could not wait until the first strawberries of summer appeared at roadside farm stands and “u-pick” berry farms. My dad still teases me that I would start asking in mid-January and wouldn’t relent until those first strawberries appeared in early June.
I suppose it’s only fitting that 30+ years later I now have two kids that ask me the same thing, starting in mid-winter every year - “When is it strawberry season?”
In case you’re wondering the same thing, it’s strawberry season right now here in the northern hemisphere and I don’t know about you but I couldn’t be more excited. This year, to celebrate the arrival of the season, we’ve partnered with our friends at Driscoll’s, growers of the finest organic strawberries, to bring you this summer-filled Berry Protein Salad Bowl.
Each Driscoll’s berry begins with natural breeding through cross-pollination, a technique that has been used for thousands of years by breeders worldwide. Driscoll’s Research and Development teams pick out the elite parent plants and match the best berries to create even better offspring - they’ve done all the work so all you have to do is kick back and enjoy each sweet bite.
Not only are strawberries synonymous with summer, but so are salads. Big, huge bowls of leafy greens, crunchy veggies, satisfying proteins all topped with a light and fresh vinaigrette. Toss a handful of fresh berries on top and you’ve got pure, beat-the-heat magic going on right there.
Did you know? The original package that your Driscoll’s berries come in was specifically designed to optimize air circulation to keep you berries as fresh as possible. Keep your berries refrigerated in their original package between 32 - 34 degrees F and don’t wash until right before eating.
Live your berry best (and feel great doing it)
One of the best ways to enjoy summer isn’t by packing more in but by letting more go. Which is exactly why this Berry Protein Salad Bowl is perfect for the season - you can use the veggies you have on hand and toss in your favorite leftover proteins like chicken, beef or shrimp. It’s the perfect no-cook meal.
With the longer days it’s easy to overschedule the day or head into the weekend with high expectations but this summer I’m committing to doing less. Which means lowering my expectations and focusing on enjoying the simple things in life. Like family, friends, sunsets and simple meals and picnics in the park.
Summer will be gone all too soon so I hope you’ll join me in lingering too long at the pool or on the deck under the stars, putting your feet in the grass or the sand, and enjoying big bowls of sweet summery berries with those you cherish most. #berrytogether
How to build the berry best salad bowl:
1. Start with greens (the darker, the better) - we like ‘power’ or ‘super’ greens blends but if that’s not your jam, feel free to add in a sweeter, milder lettuce like red leaf (which still packs a mighty nutrition punch thanks to it’s dark red/brown color).
2. Add a rainbow of colors: Rainbow carrots, purple cabbage, watermelon radishes, richly colored tomatoes of all varieties… anything you can get your hands. Farmers markets are great places to find new and interesting vegetables that you might not be able to get elsewhere so take advantage of the season and try new things.
3. Power up with a high quality protein and healthy fat: Fat and protein are satiating and they’re an essential part of balanced diet. Grilled chicken, shrimp or flank steak can all be prepped ahead and kept on hand for easy, no-cook dinners. Avocado adds magnesium, fiber and potassium to the salad along with satisfying, healthy fat that’s necessary for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
4. Mix in some mighty micro greens or sprouts: Microgreens contain higher concentrations of phytonutrients than their full-grown veggie counterparts making them an excellent source of antioxidants.
5. Toss in a generous handful of berries: Strawberries are especially delicious and they hold up well in salads. Try slicing them from top to bottom (like I did in the photos) with their green leafy tops in place for a stunning garnish. Berries are a great way to add healthy (read: nutrient-dense) carbs to a salad.
6. Add some crunch: Any nuts or seeds will do. My current obsession is adding toasted hazelnuts to salads. They’re just so crunchy and delicious. I also like a sprinkle of hemp seeds for a little dose of plant-based omega fatty acids.
7. Dress it up: A simple vinaigrette, naturally sweetened with fresh berries, brings it all together without added sugars.
Berry Protein Salad Bowl
Prep: 10 min.
Total Time: 10 min.
4 Driscoll’s Organic Strawberries
3 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar (may substitute white balsamic vinegar)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
6 cups mixed greens of choice
3-4 cups assorted vegetables of choice (sliced red cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, snow peas, bell peppers, etc.)
¼ cup nuts or seeds of choice
1 cup microgreens or sprouts
2 cups Driscoll’s Organic Strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 small avocado, pit removed and sliced
1 6-8 ounce chicken breast, cooked and chopped
In a blender or small food processor, combine vinaigrette ingredients. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
Divide the salad ingredients among two salad bowls. This can also be done by dividing ingredients on 4 individual plates.
Pour vinaigrette over salads just before serving. Leftover vinaigrette can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.