This warm salad is perfect for early spring. It has the jammy flavors of warm strawberries and the crunch of sugar snap peas, all with an easy 2-ingredient balsamic salad dressing.
I realized a long time ago that I like wilted greens. It was probably when I worked at my parents’ restaurants and my mom developed her warm spinach salad recipe. I really have to get her permission to share that recipe on my site because it really is soooo good.
Anyhow, I discovered back then that I really liked warm ingredients on a bed of greens. The greens don’t become as cooked or as wilted as when they’re cooked directly. But they do get softened just a little. That softness is especially beneficial to stronger-tasting greens. It seems to mellow them out a bit, making them less bitter without making them slimy.
The way I usually think about doing a warm salad is to make a salad dressing that is warm and then drizzling that onto the greens. However, I had some nice fresh strawberries from the strawberry patch nearby and I really wanted to see what would happen if I warmed them up.
What I discovered is that warmed up strawberries get a jam-like flavor. It’s pretty amazing. Also pretty amazing is that you can use strawberries that have gone a little past perfect. You know, where they’re starting to soften a bit, but they’re not moldy or anything like that yet. Warming them is intentionally making them softer, so it doesn’t matter as much if they’re soft to start with. And actually, slightly soft strawberries have a lot of deep flavor so bringing that out is a good idea.
The strawberries are sauteed with some sugar snap peas. They’re only sauteed for a short time though so they still have a lot of crunch, giving some nice texture to this salad.
Finally, the dressing is pretty amazing and is also my mom’s recipe. Have I mentioned before what a great cook she is? This dressing is just two ingredients, balsamic vinegar and honey. You whisk them together until they’re fully incorporated and from there, they don’t ever separate orr anything. So go ahead and make extra of this dressing. It’ll keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Just remember to bring it to room temperature before using.
As to the flavors in the dressing, balsamic is always delicious with a bit of sweetness and acidity. The honey adds viscosity the way that oil does to a dressing, and also lightens the sourness of the vinegar with some sweetness. The dressing recipe is on my sister site, TheCookful.com, over here. But since it’s just two ingredients, I’ve included it in the salad recipe below as well.
I'm Christine Pittman, a cookbook author and busy mom of two. My recipes are made from scratch, they're quick, and they're fresh. I started this website over 10 years ago and I'm delighted that over a million people now come to visit every month to try my recipes. Thank you for visiting and for joining me on this delicious journey!Find out more about me here.
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