Summon Spring Jarred Salads with Asparagus, Strawberries, and Pineapple Vinaigrette

Summon Spring Jarred Salad with Asparagus, Strawberries, and Pineapple Vinaigrette“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” 
― Percy Bysshe Shelley

Even though I try to be the kind of person who views the glass as half full and presses my heart full of optimism, believe me when I say that I am giving winter the evil eye. Yes, I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Yes, I have lived here for most of my forty-two years. Yes, I acknowledge that the precipitation is vital to our water supply. Still, I find myself wistful for long hikes and the verdant green spikes of my spring flower gardens as nature awakens and tingles with life. I watch the birds puff up their feathers outside our windows and I eagerly anticipate long summer days filled with warmth and all of the possibility that we can gather in a few short months (alas, before the cold returns). I do not want to wish time away but I pray that March brings with it at least a hint of mild temperatures.

As I stated in my last post, I am behind in sharing my recipes. Therefore, I will get right to Asparagusthe point with my latest jarred salad recipe. When I went to the grocery store yesterday I wanted to let the produce selection partly inform my menu (the planner in me already had a list compiled) and a brief scan of the produce section determined that my salad would contain asparagus and strawberries (what speaks more of spring than both of those ingredients). The asparagus was thin and tender and the strawberries (though not as sweet as they could be) were red and promised a juicy and sweet accompaniment to spinach.

If you are familiar with my blog you know all about Mason jar salads. However, if you just found your way here I suggest you check out this post for some basic tips and advice on creating these versatile and lovely layered salads.
Pineapple Vinaigrette Dressing by Produce with Amy

PINEAPPLE VINAIGRETTE DRESSING

  • 1 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cup of rice vinegar (or your choice of vinegar. I always recommend that you add a bit of vinegar at a time and taste the dressing as you go. I like my dressing on the tart side so I often add even more vinegar than my recipes call for)
  • 1/8 cup of raw apple cider vinegar (raw apple cider vinegar has many health benefits and I really enjoy its tartness)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (I leave the oil out of the dressing and add 2 teaspoons to each jar for portion control)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon of onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste

If you do not add the full amount of vinegar you may want to add a little water to thin the dressing. I love the combination of the sweet pineapple with the savory onion and garlic and the tangy vinegar. This dressing is so good you may want to make extra (it would be fantastic sprinkled over steamed vegetables). The vinegar in the dressing will naturally preserve it and it will keep in the refrigerator for over a month. I like to store my dressings in one pint Mason jars.

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SUMMON SPRING JARRED SALAD WITH ASPARAGUS AND STRAWBERRIES

I layered the following ingredients in five one quart Mason jar salads:

Blanching involves a quick immersion in boiling water and placing the vegetable instantly in an ice bath. This process allows the asparagus to turn vibrant green and remain crisp.

  • 3 Tablespoons of Pineapple Vinaigrette (I also added 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil)
  • Asparagus (I cut off one inch of the woody stem and cut it into three pieces. I blanched the asparagus by immersing it in boiling water for two minutes and directly dropping it into an ice-bath. This brings out the best of the nutrients but it still retains some of its crispness.)
  • Strawberries cut in 1/2 (1 and 1/2 containers)
  • 1/4 cup of raw almonds (add the protein of your choice. I use raw nuts or beans)
  • Avocado (I used three avocados)
  • Kiwi slices (I used three kiwi)
  • Spinach
  • Balsamic vinegar (I added a little under a Tablespoon of vinegar to the top of each salad. I love the combination of balsamic vinegar and strawberries but I did not want to muddle the color of the pineapple dressing for the photos.)

Printable recipe: Summon Spring Jarred Salad with Asparagus, Strawberries, and Pineapple Vinaigrette

Pin this recipe HERE.

Summon Spring Jarred Salads with Asparagus, Strawberries, and Pineapple Vinaigrette by Produce with Amy

I am really looking forward to my lunches this week and I think that they will help put me in a spring state of mind. Maybe you will make a batch too and help me in giving winter the evil eye. Together we will thrive and have a productive week that is bursting with fruit and vegetables.

Please make sure you stop by my Facebook page and give it a like and check out my other salad recipes.

Summon Spring Jarred Salad with Asparagus, Strawberries, and Pineapple Vinaigrette

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Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Peppers & Carrots ~ Plant-Based

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Peppers & Carrots by Produce with Amy“Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to what they want to do.” 
–Kathleen Winsor

This morning, as every day, I woke up with a list of things that I wanted to accomplish. At about noon, I felt my regular Sunday anxiety start to multiply. No matter how productive I am, I get that sick feeling in my stomach that I did not do enough. When this happens, I remind myself to breathe. I take a few deep, cleansing breaths and remind myself how fortunate I am to have a teaching career that I love. I might not get to the bottom of the mountain of papers I hauled home and my house and closets may not be fit for a magazine spread, but I am doing the best that I can. While the temperatures dip outside I have a cozy home that I am able to keep warm, a kitchen full of nourishing food, and my health is currently strong. Being thankful for what we have always sheds some perspective on stress and makes it seems less significant.

The fact that I have a food blog is proof that I have made many lifestyle changes. In January of 2013, I decided that I wanted to make time for my own writing and share some of my recipe ideas. While the entire process of coming up with a recipe, cooking, documenting with photos, selecting photos, and writing is time-consuming ~ it is worth all the labor. I feel a burst of elation every time that I hit publish because it is a reminder that I am making time to pursue my passion. That said, I have many recipes waiting in the wings to share. Therefore, I am going to make this post short and sweet so I can share a couple of recipes today.

You know from previous posts that soup is a weekly staple in our house. My husband Mike and I each have a cup with dinner. It bulks up a meal and allows us to have a smaller portion of our entrée. As a Weight Watchers leader I encourage my members to make soups that are full of Power Foods. The cauliflower soup recipe that I am sharing today works perfectly with Simple Start or the Simply Filling Technique.

I decided to roast the cauliflower first to make the flavor more robust. I cut one large head of cauliflower into florets and drizzled with the following mixture:

*2 Tablespoons coconut oil
*2 Tablespoons of tamari (soy sauce would also work)
*I Tablespoon Dijon mustard
*1 Tablespoon minced garlic
*1 teaspoon cumin

I roasted the cauliflower for 60 minutes at 350 (I flipped the cauliflower at 30 minutes). (Normally, I roast vegetables at 450 for a shorter amount of time but I had bread baking at the time that needed the oven to be at 350)
Roasted Cauliflower

Words cannot even explain how amazing the house smelled from the roasted cauliflower. It would serve as an incredible side dish and I really regretted not buying two heads of cauliflower. 

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH SWEET PEPPERS AND CARROTS

  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 ribs of chopped celery
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or your cooking oil of choice)
  • 1 head of roasted cauliflower
  • 3 small red bell peppers (or 2 large)
  • 5 peeled carrots
  • 1 seeded fresh jalapeno
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger root
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the celery, garlic, and onion in the coconut oil until soft. Reserve and put in a separate container (When I make pureed soups I often like the texture of the celery and onion so I add it to the soup after blending. If you want your soup to be completely smooth you may add all the other ingredients right to sautéed celery, onion, and garlic).

One nice thing about pureed soups is that you do not have to chop the vegetables into small pieces.

One nice thing about pureed soups is that you do not have to chop the vegetables into small pieces.

In the same pot add the rest of the ingredients (except the cauliflower). Bring to a boil and cook approximately thirty minutes until the carrots and peppers are soft. Let cool for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower to the blender and pour in the pepper and carrot mixture. Puree until smooth. Add the puree along with the reserved celery, onion, and garlic. Heat and serve. Makes approximately ten cups of soup.

Printable Recipe:Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Peppers & Carrots

Pin it HERE.

I did add the cauliflower to the mixture but next time I will add it directly to the blender since it is already cooked.

I did add the cauliflower to the mixture but next time I will add it directly to the blender since it is already cooked.

You may also decide to roast the peppers and the carrots with the cauliflower (which would reduce the cooking time of the soup and enhance the taste of both).

The color of the soup is vibrant and I think that the flavors really combined well together. It is rich and creamy and I think that if you served it at a dinner party your guests would be shocked that it is healthy and 100% plant-based. It tastes indulgent, comforting, and satisfying.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Sweet Peppers & Carrots

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I have enjoyed sharing the recipe with you. Make sure that you check out my other soup recipes. I would love it if you stopped by my Facebook page and please feel free to share my recipes. Together we can embrace a healthy lifestyle that is full of fresh produce. Check back often. In the coming days I will be sharing my plant-based version of a Hot & Sour Soup, a Mushroom Stroganoff, and more jarred salad recipes. Remember to stop and breathe when you are busy and I wish you a productive and powerful week!

Roasted Cauliflower by Produce with Amy