Summer is a time for lazy afternoons spent at the beach, the smell of sunscreen in the air, and fresh picked berries available at the peak of freshness. Here on the Central Coast of California, we have an abundance of fresh produce available to us all year round, but I’m always most excited for sweet juicy strawberries available in late May and early June. They are sold in flats for $10, and I could literally gorge myself on them all day long. Sometimes I do, sorry, not sorry. I grew up eating strawberries year-round, and unfortunately they were usually sold off-season from far flung locales. As a result my sister and I dipped them in sugar to attempt to recreate that summer sweetness. Now as an adult, I’m more aware of picking fruit and veggies based on whats locally grown and in-season.
This recipe calls for a trifecta of delicious summer berries – Strawberries, Blackberries and Blueberries! In addition to being a tasty treat, berries are also a fantastic source of antioxidants, like quercetin, kaempferol, and anthocyanin. These antioxidants have a plethora of health benefits associated with them, such as reducing free radicals that can cause cancer, helping to regulate blood sugar, and reducing harmful blood clots that can cause strokes. Strawberries in particular are high in potassium and folate, which can reduce blood pressure, and aid in a healthy pregnancy respectively. Lastly, as long as you’re not dipping your strawberries in sugar, they are a low glycemic index food and high in fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar and keep it stable!
More articles detailing the health benefits of Strawberries:
Strawberries: Health Benefits, Nutritional Breakdown: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271285.php
10 surprising Benefits of Strawberries: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/strawberries.html
The Health Benefits of… Strawberries: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-strawberries
Beyond all the summer berries this recipe calls for Heart Healthy Walnuts and Avocados, preferably from California!
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- 2 cups fresh organic strawberries (sliced)
- 1 cup fresh organic blackberries
- 1 cup fresh organic blueberries
- 1 avocado (sliced – pit removed)
- 1/2 cup California Walnuts (toasted)
- 1/4 cup goat cheese (crumbled)
- Cucumbers (optional)
Blackberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
- 4 tbsp Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- splash of water
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients of the blackberry vinaigrette in a salad dressing shaker, and shake or stir vigorously until thoroughly mixed
- Toast the Walnuts: Put the walnuts in a small frying pan, over low to medium heat, and spray them with cooking spray (olive oil preferred) and season with pepper and toss until golden brown.
- Wash all the berries and spinach.
- Chop the strawberries into slivers and dice the avocado into small cubes.
- Assemble the salads you desired amounts of spinach and the toppings.
- Dress the salads with the blackberry vinaigrette and mix to combine thoroughly.