Strawberry Fields Panzanella Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Strawberry Fields Panzanella Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette is fresh, vibrant salad with plenty of fresh strawberries in the salad and the vinaigrette, complete with focaccia bread croutons!
Several years back my husband saw a simple dessert on a cooking show with vanilla ice cream, fresh mixed berries, and balsamic vinegar poured over the top. He proceeded to replicate it soon thereafter, and when he handed me my dessert I looked at him like he was crazy. Balsamic vinegar over ice cream and berries?? I didn’t want anything to do with it, but one mouthful was all it took for me to fall head over heels. It’s now one of my favorite desserts, and I have to live through the I-told-you-so’s for the rest of time. #smallpricetopay
Thanks to my husband, I have a serious thing for berries with balsamic. So much so, I created this salad entirely around my idea for this strawberry balsamic dressing. I wanted to create a dressing using the freshest, sweetest strawberries and plenty of balsamic vinegar, and the result is one addicting, tangy-sweet dressing that’s almost drinkable.
It’s kind of pretty, too, isn’t it? 🙂
I realize the name of this salad is pretty long, but I just couldn’t leave anything out. This salad is a strawberry fields salad with a blend of summer’s finest mixed greens and crisp romaine to make things exciting. Because who can choose only one type of lettuce at the farmer’s market when there are so many gorgeous varieties? Not this girl.
This salad would be amazing with any number of greens, including arugula and even kale. Sky’s the limit!
With the fresh lettuce, we toss in sweet, juicy strawberries, salty feta cheese, and toasted pecan pieces, because every strawberry fields salad has those elements. I also added some red onion because I love the savory flavor it adds, and some cucumber for a cool, crisp crunch.
Next comes the panzanella part. I’d purchased an herbed focaccia bread at Whole Foods from a local bakery, and I made croutons with half of it. These were the best croutons ever, and the herb flavor and big, hearty crunch made this salad over the top delicious. Of course you can use your favorite store bought croutons or make your own with your favorite type of bread, but I 100% advise you to try the focaccia bread. They’re dangerously addicting, but that’s one type of danger that I can certainly live with. 🙂
This salad is a great way to utilize your summer produce — a variety of lettuce, strawberries, cucumber, and red onion. Toss it all in that lusciously sweet-tangy vinaigrette, and it’s just irresistible. Serve it as a main dish with grilled chicken, or as-is with a big pile of croutons!
I’m excited to let you know that I’ve joined Becky from the blog Vintage Mixer and a group of fabulous bloggers to share seasonal recipes, this month utilizing the abundance of summer produce for July. You may also want to check out Becky’s Seasonal Food Guide for July for even more inspiration. Thank you, Becky, for including me, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this group! You can share your own seasonal recipes as well using the hashtag #eatseasonal.
Quick Pickled Strawberries with Black Pepper and Tarragon by Simple Bites
Pea and Arugula Pesto by Floating Kitchen
Creamy Grilled Corn Pasta by Completely Delicious
Chocolate Strawberry Protein Smoothie by The Lemon Bowl
Crispy Chicken & Cucumber Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette by Climbing Grier Mountain
Healthy Zucchini Muffins by Gimme Some Oven
Fresh Corn Salad by Bless this Mess
Apricot Glazed Chicken by Vintage Mixer
Spinach Pesto by Mountain Mama Cooks
Papaya Seed Vinaigrette Dressing by Kitchen Confidante
Baked Zucchini Fries with Pesto Yogurt Dipping Sauce by Cookin’ Canuck
Peach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Raspberries by Well Plated
Poached Beets with Star Anise and Cinnamon by Project Domestication
How to Make Arugula Pesto by FoodieCrush
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled, and halved or quartered
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ cup cubed focaccia bread (1" cubes)*
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 3 cups spring greens
- 1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1½ cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped (peeled or unpeeled)
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup pecan pieces, toasted*
- Place the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper, to taste in a blender or food processor and process until fairly smooth. With the machine running, add the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the dressing reaches the desired consistency. Taste and add the desired amount of salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil and pinch of salt on a large rimmed baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Bake 10-15 minutes, turning half way through the cooking time, until golden brown and crispy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl with the cooled croutons. Toss with enough dressing to coat, serve, and enjoy!
Dressing may be made ahead and stored in airtight container in the refrigerator.
Croutons may be made up to one day ahead and stored in an air tight container at room temperature. For a time saver, use your favorite store bought brand!
*For toasted pecans, toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant. For a time saver, I like to use pre-toasted pecan pieces at Trander Joe's.
Recipe by Flavor the Moments.