Strawberry & Asparagus Freekeh

Strawberry Freekeh Salad with Asparagus

Move over, potato salad and coleslaw — strawberry salad is coming through! Make room at the picnic table for Grilled Strawberry Freekeh Salad with Asparagus any weekend! This strawberry salad is filled with flavor and nutrients!

Grilled strawberries and asparagusThe grill is on, right? It’s time to throw asparagus on–a no-brainer–AND skewered strawberries (trust me) to make this simple side salad that will elevate your typical picnic fare.

I’m adding strawberries to ALL of my grain-based salads these days.   This salad requires a tiny bit of grilling for the strawberries-just to soften and release some of the juices as it adds to the flavor of the salad. This particular salad uses the ancient grain Freekah, which is actually a process which means “to rub”. It’s a high protein, high fiber whole grain that works well with many flavors.

Grilled Strawberry and Asparagus Freekeh Salad

The ingredients in this salad make for a well balanced, healthy, nutrient-rich recipe.  The real beauty is that different grains can be substituted as can different nuts and even veggies.  The one thing you DON’T want to change are the strawberries! Why?

Strawberries are a nutritional powerhouse:

  • Strawberries are naturally sweet but low in sugar (only 7 grams per cup), and provide a unique combination of essential nutrients, dietary fiber and health-promoting phytochemicals.
  • One serving of eight medium strawberries is only 45 calories. 
  • CA strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C: More vitamin C per serving than an orange and 110% of the daily value.

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to check out more of our recipes!

Strawberry & Asparagus Freekeh
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 6-8 stalks of asparagus
  • ¾ cup cooked Freekeh (1/2 cup dry)
  • 1 tbsp shaved/grated Parmesan or 6-8 shaved pieces
  • 1 tbsp walnuts, toasted (optional) and chopped
  • ½ tbsp olive oil plus ½ for drizzle
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 skewers (soaked in cold water if wooden)
Instructions
  1. Turn on grill and set to medium heat.
  2. While the grill is preheating, cook Freekeh according to package directions.
  3. Clean, wash and dry asparagus stems. Place asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper in a plastic bag. Shake gently to coat the asparagus. Place on grill and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved.
  4. While asparagus is cooking, clean and dry whole strawberries (leaving stems intact) and thread onto skewers. Place on grill for about 2-3 minutes or until the strawberries are just soft. Remove from skewers; remove the stems and cut into halves or fourths.
  5. When asparagus is cooked, remove from grill and allow to cool. Chop into 1-inch pieces.
  6. In a large bowl, gently toss ¾ cup of the cooked Freekeh, strawberries, asparagus and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Top with freshly grated or shaved Parmesan.


Fresh Start: Health Kick Recipes

Fresh Start: Health Kick Recipes

If your new year’s resolutions are but a distant memory, I’ve got some good news. March kicks off National Nutrition Month making it the perfect time to pick up those missing healthy habits you wanted for a healthier year.

I totally “get” why our January intentions are left behind about as quickly as the holiday decor is packed away. It’s easy during holiday vacations to find the time for healthier meals or to head to the gym. But time gets tough when work is calling, schedules are tight and life is simply too busy to make a health a priority.

This whole reality is exactly why I love quick and hearty salads and wraps like the ones I’m sharing today. If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, lunch is the glue that binds a healthy day together. Skip it and you’re sure to be reaching for a less than healthy pick me up in the afternoon or worse, find yourself so hungry at dinner that you can’t seem to find the bottom of your bowl.

But let’s be honest. Salads for lunch sounds skimpy and seem a bit boring. That’s why I focus on these three key strategies to make the most of a lighter, but filling lunch:

  • Fill up with fiber — Whether your salad is grain, greens or even meat based, fiber is the key to filling you up, not out. Be sure to include whole grains, nuts, seeds and fresh fruits, like the California Strawberries I’ve added to today’s recipe. They’re the perfect salad choice because they’re easy to prepare, available year-round and deliver exceptional nutrition and health benefits. I’ve also added pumpkin seeds to today’s recipe to boost fiber and add crunch.
  • Make it sweet and savory — By far one of the most important keys to keeping salads out of the “boring” category is to pair up sweet foods with savory, like I’ve done in today’s wraps. Combining the savory flavor of feta cheese with the natural sweetness of California strawberries takes chicken salad to a whole new level. The good news is that by the choosing natural sweetness of California strawberries, you can keep the calories low. In fact, one serving of eight medium strawberries is only 45 calories.
  • Add herbs and spices for interest — The most memorable salads (you know, the ones you think “I want to eat that again tomorrow for lunch!”) are the ones that have multiple layers of flavor and texture. One of the simplest ways to add more taste is by using fresh or dried herbs and spices. I recommend fresh herbs for green salads and dried herbs or spices for grain or meat based salads. Think beyond your basic basil and grab flavors like dill, cumin, thyme and rosemary.

You may not be able to revive every healthy resolution you made just a few months ago. But with tasty recipes like these, eating healthy this year is back on the plate!

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Enjoy! Don’t forget to check out more of our recipes for delicious ideas!

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps (horizontal)

 

Fresh Start for Nutrition Month
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of diced, cooled, cooked chicken breast
  • 1 cup quartered California Strawberries
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Large leaf lettuce or kale
  • Additional toppings: pumpkin seeds and feta cheese
Instructions
  1. In a medium-size bowl; combine all ingredients (except lettuce leaves); toss well to combine.
  2. Scoop onto leaf lettuce, add additional toppings as desired and serve.


Strawberry Heart Salad

Strawberry Heart Salad

If you’re thinking about a romantic meal for Valentine’s Day or just an extra special treat for someone you care about, there aren’t a lot of foods that say ‘I love you’ better than this Strawberry Heart Salad – red, heart-shaped, strawberries to show some love – it’s the sweetest thing.

For that very reason, we asked the lovely dietitian and YouTube sensation, Abbey Sharpe, to share her thoughts about what to serve – and what NOT to serve – on Valentine’s Day. Ladies, she’s got some great tips, especially for the guys, so go check out the video and then share with yours – hey, we can all use a little advice from time to time.

Valentine’s Recipe and Giveaway

In case you missed the recipe for Abbey’s romantic Strawberry and Cucumber Salad, you can find the details below.

Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Heart Salad w/ Cucumber and Balsamic
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large English cucumber, shaved using a vegetable peeler or mandolin
  • 1½ cups strawberries, hulled, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp chevre, if desired
Instructions
  1. Heat the balsamic vinegar over medium high heat until it has reduced to a thick syrup, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Place the cucumber on a plate, top with strawberries, almonds, and chevre (if using) and season with salt and pepper to taste


Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad

Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad

Believe it or not, this lovely Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad was developed by a kid! Twelve-year-old Danielle McNerney took first place in the recent California Strawberry #KidsCookOff where mini chefs everywhere were challenged to create a five-ingredient strawberry recipe for a chance to win up to $500 in Amazon Gift Cards. Danielle’s recipe was so simple and tasty we couldn’t resist sharing with you.

Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad

It was a lot of fun checking out all the cute kids and their strawberry masterpieces – I wish they all could have won! The main judge, MasterChef Junior Season 3 Nathan Odom, made the final picks. Check out the three video submissions that landed the top three slots and then try their simple and delicious strawberry creations!

1st Place – Danielle, 12 – Strawberry Basil Quinoa
2nd Place – Sophie, 6 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with Strawberry Marshmallow Filling
3rd Place – Archer, 4 – Strawberry Guacamole

I prepared the quinoa dish to share with my co-workers and we all agreed it’s a winner. We loved the crunchiness of the pistachios along with the combination of sweet and savory flavors. For those who like to enjoy salads with cheese, you may want to add feta for a little extra pizzaz (that’s what we did).

Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Basil Quinoa Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup dried quinoa, cooked (makes about 3 cups)
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • * optional - salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional - crumbled feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions; set aside.
  2. To flavor the olive oil with basil, in small pan, heat the olive oil and then sauté basil until crispy, about 4 minutes.
  3. Remove basil and let drain on paper towel.
  4. In mixing bowl, gently stir all ingredients.
  5. Garnish with feta cheese and crumbled fried basil leaves.

 


Strawberry Caprese Salad

Strawberry Caprese Salad

A quick and easy Strawberry Caprese Salad recipe!

Strawberry Caprese Salad
As the weather begins to warm up or the leaves begin to fall, it’s always nice to have a short list of easy and tasty salad recipes to whip up on a warm weekday evening – or for a last-minute potluck or dinner party any other time of the year.

Caprese salads are always a delicious idea, but have you ever tried making one with strawberries instead of tomatoes? The results are amazing! Here’s an easy  recipe that you will want to save because I’m pretty sure you will most likely be making it more than once.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Caprese Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs fresh California strawberries, stemmed and halved
  • 2 cups bite-sized fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini), drained, halved
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (finely diced)
  • 3-4 mint leaves, chiffonade
  • Salt, pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. To make balsamic syrup, in nonreactive pot, simmer vinegar over low heat until reduced to one-half its original volume (1/4 cup).
  2. In serving bowl, toss strawberries and mozzarella balls with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add basil and mint; toss again. Drizzle balsamic syrup over and around salad. Grind more pepper on top.