Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spinach Salad with Mixed Berry Vinaigrette

The kiddos and I took a trip to Lincoln Park Zoo on my day off.  More important that the destination was how we would make our way into the city to visit this Chicago Landmark.  Driving was off the table, the kiddos didn't want to do that, it seems to be less of an adventure.  That left us with the options of the commuter train and tourist trolly or the El (subway) and city bus.  We opted for the more urban method of transportation.  After all if you miss an El or a bus you have about a 20 minute wait for the next one, if you miss a commuter train of the free trolly is full you are at least 30 to 40 minutes for the next.  Add to that there is something to be said for hopping off the El for a transfer in the middle of a regular Chicago neighborhood, instead of in the middle of the loop.

I was pushing for a trip to the zoo mostly for the walk, I am still reeling from the Doctor visit you know, "Fat, fat fat fat, fat, drinker...  you need to exercise!"  I figured that the walk around the zoo with kiddos in tow plus the lunch below would help me at my next appointment, coming up in just a few days.  The kids and I brought a duffel bag full of snacks, for me the leftovers from this salad and a bit of salmon.  As we were sitting down to our picnic lunch at the outskirts of the zoo Miss Lu handed me the quote of the day, "I don't like eating here... there are so many animals... it's just gross." 

We made this salad when we had the neighbors over for dinner a couple of days earlier, it was such a bright addition to dinner that I couldn't resist having it again:

The Salad dressing
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1 clove garlic chopped
2 TBS Campaign vinegar
2 TBS confectioner sugar (more or less depending on the fruit)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Put all of this into a blender and blend until smooth.

The salad
Couldn't have been easier about a cup of loosely packed spinach for each adult then toss with the dressing.  I'll let you decide how much dressing you want, just remember that this has quite a bit of punch to it so go easy.  I topped the spinach and dressing with a great mixture of nuts and assorted dry fruit, most people call it "trail mix."   Then I tossed in some crumbled up goat cheese.

This one had everything my friends: the healthy stuff that my Doctor wants me to get to know better, the bright warm crunch of nuts alongside the chewy dried fruit.  Top that all with creamy goat cheese and the zing that you get from this dressing and you have an awesome salad.


  1. I'm in the process of getting as many summer salads on the table as possible this last month before autumn. Love the dressing. Love the zoo visit--there really are too many animal though = ) !!!!!


  2. I visited a cat shelter over the weekend and they were serving cupcakes. I had a similar feeling as your sweet girl :-) Thanks for sharing another delicious recipe with me. I'm eating a very late lunch and enjoying your post. I hope you have a great week...stay cool!

  3. Yummm I can't wait to eat salad in the sun shine again. Classic comment about eating at the zoo, I'd never thought of it like that before as we have had oodles of picnics at Lincoln zoo....ahh the memories

  4. I can't bear to eat at the zoo, either! This dressing sounds really interesting!