I think that we have all established that when we think of Summer and food, we often think of things like barbecuing, fresh sweet corn, and juicy watermelon. But let us not forget about another delicious Summertime food: fresh berries! In my area, the grocery stores and Farmer’s Markets are delivering deliciously fresh, juicy, and sweet berries, including my favorites: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Since I have been buying a lot more of these delicious snacking foods (sometimes a bit more than I can even eat ;)), I have also been trying to incorporate them into my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
I loving fixing up and eating big salads during the Summer months, especially when it is a bit too hot outside to cook. Over the past year, I have gotten used to prepping veggie-filled salads and have forgotten about the many possibilities for incorporating fruit into salads. Last weekend I decided that needed to change. And what better time to make the change than when berries are in their peak season? This was my first attempt at a “fruitified” (since I always say veggiefied ;)) salad. And I must say, it turned out even more delicious than I had anticipated. Oh, and I almost forgot to say that this salad also includes “bacon.” Are you sold yet?
Summer Berry and “Bacon” Salad
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
fine sea salt
3 pieces vegetarian or vegan “bacon,” crumbled (I used MorningStar Farms) (or real bacon if you are not a vegetarian)
half of a 10 oz bag of your favorite salad mix*
1/3 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup fresh blueberries
2-3 TB strawberry balsamic dressing*
*To save on time, I used this salad mix (from Wal-Mart, of all places), which was a baby kale blend:
…and this salad dressing:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Place sliced mushrooms onto the baking sheet, spray with olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with seasonings. Roast the mushrooms for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
2. While the mushrooms are roasting, cook the “bacon” according to the package directions.
3. Compile the salad in the following order: salad mix, mushrooms, berries, bacon, and dressing. Simplicity at its finest.
My first experience with making a “fruitified” salad was a success. I found the baby kale salad mix to be surprisingly fresh and delicious, and I was loving the balance between the sweet berries and the salty “bacon.”
This salad proves that prepping Summertime food without the use of the stove top or oven does not have to be boring. In fact, it can be quite fancy. “Bacon” is fancy, right? 😉