This salad… This salad. I love making this salad during the spring and summer months when the fruits are ripe and fresh. It is such an eye appealing salad and it is so simply delicious. I make some form of this salad to have as a centerpiece on my table. It just makes a table pop with the beautiful layers and bright colors. It never fails to hold its glory at any meal. It makes a stunning statement. I also love to prepare this salad for get togethers or picnics. It holds up very well with traveling. Just be sure to dress the salad before you are ready to eat. If you dress the salad before it becomes soggy and we don’t want that. I always keep the dressing on the side so we can dress it with as much or little dressing as we want. Anyway…. let’s get into the recipe.
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups pecan halves
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
STRAWBERRY SALAD WITH POPPY SEED DRESSING
1/4 onion thinly sliced (optional)
2 cups fresh strawberries- thinly sliced
3/4 cup mayo ( your favorite brand will do just fine)
1/4 cup milk ( you can use less if you want a thicker dressing)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp poppy seeds
DIRECTIONS FOR THE CANDIED PECANS:
- In a cast iron pan ( if you do not have one a regular non stick pan will do just fine) over low heat add the butter and let it melt.
- Add in the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon and combine until the sugar is melted. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes. It will become dark and look separated. This is ok. It will come together when we add the pecans. Don’t worry.
- Add the pecans and toss well to coat in all of the candied mixture. Continue to cook another 3 to 4 minutes. This will help the pecans to toast up and develop more flavor. Do not turn the heat up as this will burn the sugar and make the pecans have a bitter taste. Low and slow guys.
- remove from the heat and line a sheet tray with either parchment or wax paper. Pour the pecans over the sheet tray and spread out as best as you can. Let the pecans cool for 30 minutes to 1 hour. When the are cool you can go in and break the pecans apart. It is a crumble candied mixture to it is really easy to break them apart. Set aside or store in an airtight container until ready to use.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE SALAD AND DRESSING:
- In a bowl or trifle dish ( I like using a trifle dish because it looks so pretty in it) place some of your spring mix in the bottom. We are going to create two layers so use as much spring mix as you need to or want to.
- Take some of your strawberries and lay on top of the greens. Try to place some of the strawberries on the edge of the dish so you can see the red of the strawberries when you layer the salad. I use half of the strawberries when I do this process.
- Take some of or half of your pecans and lay on top of the strawberries. Place them around the dish so when you layer the salad you can also see the pecans as well. It is more eye appealing this way.
- Now add more spring mix on top and begin the layering process over by adding strawberries and pecans. Cover with plastic or a universal lid and chill until ready to serve.
- For the dressing- you can make this before or after the salad as it is easy to serve right away or chill until you are ready for it. So to start, In a bowl combine the mayo, milk, sugar, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seeds and whisk until the mixture is well combined and the sugar is dissolved. This should take 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Taste the dressing and add more sugar or a bit of salt if needed. I usually do not add salt to it but you can if you want to. If the flavor is right cover and chill until you are ready to serve.
When you are ready to serve you can toss the salad with the dressing or you can just remove what you want of the salad and top with the amount of dressing you want. This is how we serve it. The salad is so pretty that I don’t want to mess it up until we dig in. lol.
If you do not have strawberries you can use blueberries, pears, apples, oranges, grapefruit, raspberries, or a combo of either fruit.
If you do not have, like or are allergic to pecans or other nuts you can use sunflower seeds instead. I do this as well sometimes when I only have sunflower seeds in the house. If you do use sunflower seeds make sure they are unsalted. If they are salted it will make the candied mixture way to salty. (yes, I have made this mistake before) I added 3/4 to 1 cup of the sunflower seeds instead of 2 cups of nuts/seeds. If you use sunflower seeds just use 3/4 to 1 cup and continue with the directions. They are also really easy to break apart as well.
I hope you all enjoy and if you make any of these recipes you can tag me on Instagram ( @thesouthernrustic). I’d love to see your beautiful creations and how you serve it. If you follow me on Youtube you can email me with a picture and I can share them on my channel at the end of the video. They do not have to be beautifully photographed as I love seeing all of your pictures and I think they are all beautiful.
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