When fruits and vegetables are in season, I always try to take advantage of their freshness and make all kinds of dishes with them while they are still available.
The ones that freeze well end up in my freezer for future use but there is nothing like the flavour and quality of a fruit or vegetable in season.
It’s July so you know what that means. Strawberry season has arrived and they are at their prime. What you can do with strawberries is endless. I always enjoy the usual recipes such as shortcake and strawberry rhubarb upside down cake, and, of course, jam, but I always try to make something new and interesting and I try to pair them with other fresh local offerings from our market. The recipe I am going to share with you this time is fresh, healthy and tasty. Strawberries are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants so there is no guilt indulging in them. If you have family, friends or neighbours who are stressed, too busy to make healthy recipes or under the weather this would be a nice treat to take to them. It’s a nice refreshing pick me up salad. We have been a little stressed and overworked around here so it was well received. My husband said he “loved it”. I know my son has been super busy lately so it will make its way to his house sometime very soon.
Roasted sweet potato and strawberry salad with arugula/basil pesto dressing
Peel and cut a medium sweet potato in one inch cubes. Toss with a half of a medium onion cut in wedges, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for approximately 30 minutes or until tender. Set aside and let cool.
To make the pesto, in a food processor add one cup of walnuts, three cloves of garlic, two cups each of fresh arugula and basil, one cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese and one-and-a-half teaspoons of kosher salt. Pulse until combined and then, while processor is on, slowly drizzle two cups of extra virgin olive oil into mixture scrapings sides when needed.
For the pesto dressing, mix one-half cup of mayonnaise with three tablespoons of milk, three tablespoons of pesto and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
For the salad, arrange in a bowl layers of spinach (or greens of your choice), the roasted sweet potatoes and onions, and fresh sliced strawberries. Drizzle with the fresh pesto dressing, a little olive oil and the juice of a grilled lemon. Enjoy!
Note. The fresh pesto can be frozen and used for future recipes. Great mixed with mayo and used on chicken burgers and paninis, and also tossed with your favourite pasta. Also, throw a halved lemon on your barbecue for a few minutes. Makes a great smoky flavour and helps release the juices. Delicious.
Mari Ann Stiles – Owner/Operator Taco Stiles Food Truck