Strawberry & Baby Spinach Salad w/ Shallot Vinaigrette

Friends and family who know me know that I love salad. For me salad is not just about eating healthy but more about eating something that has a variety of beautiful colors, fresh ingredients, and is packed with flavors and textures.  This is my version of what a spinach salad should be – fresh, creamy, crunchy, and packed with amazing flavors of shallot and lemon and pistachios.  Oh yeah.  And healthy.  If you don’t like goat cheese, which is surprising but there seems to be a few who don’t, just substitute feta cheese or another creamy favorite.  And if you are vegetarian simply eliminate the pancetta.  I highly recommend this one as a starter to an elegant or family style dinner or even served in a big bowl on a side board for a brunch or baby shower. Just serve the dressing on the side.  It’s all about balance and this salad is just……perfect.  Mmmmm…
  1. Combine the shallot, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, mustard & honey in a bowl and whisk well to combine and then stream in the olive oil and whisk until emulsified.  Add salt, pepper and fresh basil and refrigerate until ready to use.  Can be made several days in advance.
  2. On the plate divide the spinach and top with the strawberries, goat cheese, pistachios, avocado, and pancetta.  Add fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of the shallot vinaigrette and serve immediately.  If serving on a brunch buffet just set the entire salad out and the dressing on the side.
Shallot Vinaigrette

2 Tablespoons shallot, diced (1 large bulb)

1 Tablespoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and 2 teaspoons zest

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

Extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Salt & Pepper

Spinach Salad

4 cups packed Baby spinach

1 cup fresh Strawberries, quartered and sliced, divided

4 Tablespoons Goat cheese (or Feta cheese), divided

½ cup Pistachios, roughly chopped, divided

Half of an avocado, sliced

4 slices Pancetta (optional), divided

Fresh ground pepper

Serves 4 

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