Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette….. and a Secret Revealed!

I’ve always love the Secret Santa game; participants draw a name and stealthily surprise their given person with kind deeds and little surprises over a specific time period. The culmination  comes at the end when each “Secret Santa” is revealed and the mystery is finally over. It’s a fun way to build relationships and team spirit with a group of co-workers or friends.

I’ve been playing a type of Secret Santa with a group of food blogger called The Secret Recipe Club……………………..
…………. and this is how it works: Each participating blogger is given the name of another blog, a specified period of time to check this blog out with the assignment of choosing a recipe to prepare and then blog about. Everyone reveals their secret assignment on the same day at the same hour – today! Visitors to the blogs can have fun seeing all the new creations along with the original recipes.
My secret blog assignment was a wonderful blog called Nutmeg Nanny. This awesome blog has a wide range of recipes from salads, like this one, to delicious desserts, awesome main entrées and fun appetizers. I had a hard time choosing just one recipe, but this salad really caught my eye. The Secret Recipe participants are allowed to make changes and adaptations, thus creating our own version. I just made a few: When I was at the market, the spinach didn’t look very pretty, so I opted for a lovely bag of sweet, tender, butter lettuce. I also candied the almonds with some maple syrup before adding them to the salad. I kept the delicious dressing the same, except I made my own pomegranate concentrate (the POM concentrate was ridiculously expensive).  We loved this salad and I’m sure I will be making it again..and again! Give it a try, I think you’ll enjoy it too. And check out Nutmeg Nanny for some great new recipes!

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad 
with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 lb. baby spinach – washed and dried (I used butter lettuce)
1/2 lb. strawberries – tops removed and sliced
1/4 – 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

2 equal parts Pomegranate Juice Concentrate (I used 1 17 ounce bottle of pomegranate/blueberry juice and simmered it to reduce it to about 6 ounces, this took about 10 minutes, I used the Naked Juice brand)

1 equal part olive oil
1 equal part champagne vinegar
Fresh cracked pepper – to taste
Kosher salt – a pinch

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place lettuce or spinach in a large bowl. Add strawberries, candied almonds and goat cheese. Add 2 tablespoons pomegranate vinaigrette and toss. Pass extra vinaigrette at the table.

The vinaigrette can easily be adjusted depending on the size of your salad. I have listed the recipe using equal parts. Just use a bigger measuring cup for a large salad and small measuring cup for a small personal salad.
Whisk ingredients together and pour over salad. Can also be stored in the refrigerator until ready to be used.

Combine Maple-Candied Almond ingredients together in a small baking pan. Mix well to coat almonds. Bake at 300˚ for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool on parchment paper or waxed paper.


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