I’m in full scale spring mode and I’m not looking back! This is in spite the fact that we’re at least 1 month away from local produce yet, and there’s still lingering snow around here! Luckily for us California is experiencing spring and sending it our way!
In the meantime, I’m nose deep in the seed catalogs trying to figure out what we’re planting in our garden this year! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to be putting in a garden, it’s been a number of years since we’ve had any of our own produce, and I can’t wait to harvest the first leaves of spinach out of our backyard!
This salad is inspired by a magical window in the spring produce lineup where both Champagne mangos and strawberries are briefly in season together! They make an outstanding combination, and I try to make the best of the 3-4 weeks they appear together! After the mangos have disappeared, try subbing in some of the last blood oranges or the first of the other berries and stone fruits. There’s another magical window that happens when the last of the strawberries are still in season with the first good peaches, so naturally you’ll be seeing a recipe with that combo in a couple of months!
Tip: I love to use a tomato corer (pictured above) for hulling strawberries, it makes really short work of it, and I’ve found you lose less berry than with a paring knife!
The way I cut up mango is a little different than the usual method. I start by using a vegetable peeler to peel away the skin, next I cut 1 small piece from one of the rounded ends – this creates a flat spot that helps you stand your mango up on the cutting board (see above picture). Once the mango is standing up, I cut the fruit from off of each side of the mango pit – these are referred to as ‘mango cheeks’. Finally, I trim any extra mango from the pit, and then dice it all up!
Something about spring seems to call for color overloading! Bright red, orange, and green are a welcome sight after a long dark winter!
While the Creamy Basil Dressing is seriously delicious, try swapping out the basil for cilantro sometime because it’s awesome too!
- 8 ounces or 8 cups of baby spinach, washed
- 1 pound of strawberries, hulled and sliced, about 18 strawberries
- 2 Champagne mangos, weighing 1 pound
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
- 1 cup of lightly packed basil leaves, weighing 1 ounce
- ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ Teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup avocado oil
- 1 Tablespoon raw, shelled hemp seeds also called hemp hearts
- Place the baby spinach in a large serving bowl.
- Peel the mangos with a vegetables peeler and cut off all the mango fruit from the pit. Dice the mango into cubes about ½" x ½".
- Place the prepared mango, strawberries, and avocado in the serving bowl with the spinach.
- Place all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and secure the lid.
- Blend until the dressing is emulsified and creamy with small bits of green basil still visible.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.
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