In the interest of full disclosure, I received this recipe from a PR firm representing Noodles & Company. You will currently find this salad listed on their summer menu.
The best part about running a food blog is enjoying the abundance of riches, fame, and women. It is truly the life. Just last month alone I earned $0.29 from the Google Adsense surrounding these posts. When I am walking through the grocery store I can almost hear people behind me whispering, “Oh my God! That is the Fox Valley Foodie!” Though typically by the time I turn around they have dispersed, leaving only an elderly lady who is trying to decide between boxes of wheat bran.
The best perk to blogging is getting free stuff. Everyone loves free stuff, but for a miser as cheap as me there are few things better. When Noodles & Company gave me two complimentary meal vouchers to dine at their restaurant along with a few summer salad recipes, I was happier than Brett Farve getting a new picture phone! However I didn’t have any intention of making a blog post about it. Each recipe and restaurant that is promoted on this site will be promoted based on its own merit.
After making the Balsamic Glazed Strawberry and Spinach Salad for The Refuge, it got rave reviews. Everyone loved it and I was asked multiple times to share the recipe. Then recently the Whirlpool representative I interact with at work asked me if I had any healthy summer recipes posted on my blog and I realized I don’t really. Most of the recipes I have posted are about as healthy as the thoughts in Lady Gaga’s head.
This isn't because I lack a repertoire of healthy recipes. I have pretty much dedicated the summer to eating only fresh flavors. This lends itself to a plethora of flavorful, healthy, recipes. Inspired by the abundance of fresh produce currently available at local farmer markets I hope you also take advantage of the fleeting months of summer and savor the flavors it offers. There are few better ways to do it than with a fresh summer salad.
6 oz. bag of spinach
¼ cup red onion, sliced thinly
1 ¼ cups croutons
¾ cup of your favorite balsamic vinaigrette (don’t be lazy, make your own)
4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 ½ cups Strawberries, cut into bite sized pieces
Balsamic glaze, see recipe below
In a sauce pan, mix ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar and 2 Tbs. honey.
Bring glaze to a boil, then simmer whisking regularly until it thickens slightly and becomes syrupy, about 15 minutes. Let this cool completely. If you reduce it too much it will become too thick. If this happens, just reheat it and add a small amount of water until it reaches the correct consistency.
Mix the spinach, croutons, onions and balsamic vinaigrette in a large bowl.
Place the ingredients on top of the salad in the following order: bacon, pecans, blue cheeses and strawberries.
Drizzle the top of the salad with the balsamic glaze, to taste.
I love to hear feedback, so please let me know what you think if you try this recipe!