Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Soooo… I know half of the world is buried under at least a meter of snow, and the East Coast of the United States is just now digging out from “Snowzilla”- the blizzard that shut down airports, schools, and even US government offices for more than a day.  But over here in Philippines, we’re harvesting fresh strawberries from the highlands of Baguio.

Fresh Baguio Strawberries

I’m not being smug or anything.  I know you’ll have a “right back achta” moment as I lay panting in the heat of April & May whilst you enjoy your own fresh, cool strawberry season.  What comes around does indeed go around.  Plus, you’ll have this wonderful recipe with which to showcase your lovely fresh strawbs, while for me there will be not a berry in sight, straw or otherwise.

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

This salad really is simple, using only 4 main ingredients: lettuce, strawberries, coconut, and pecans.  The flavour & texture combination is amazing, trust me.  Avocado would also be nice, but sadly, it’s not avocado season here, and it’s often difficult to get things out of season in our neck of the woods.

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

It’s the dressing that really makes this salad pop.  You guys, I have to say, it’s incredible!  Pureed strawberries, a little lemon juice, raspberry balsamic, a splash of maple syrup and a dash of black pepper… oh yeah, it’s all that.  And that gorgeous colour…  well, it would brighten anyone’s day, right?

Spicy Pecans

Let’s talk about the pecans for a second, shall we?  If you never ever make this salad, please promise me that you’ll at least make these spicy pecans to bring to your next football game or something.  Or just make them to eat every time you walk through the kitchen, which has become my new plan.  They’re that good.  And super easy to make!  A sort of dangerous combination, but I’m sure we can all handle it, can’t we??  The coating is a combo of maple syrup and EV coconut oil, with some hot & sweet spices to liven it up.  I kept it on the mild side for the kids, but feel free to take it up a notch.

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

You’d think this salad would take a long time to make, but it doesn’t.  You can make the dressing while the pecans are toasting, and after that, it’s just a matter of putting it together, because nothing needs chopping up!  Just wash your lettuce & strawberries, and you’re done!  It’s a stunning lunch salad, especially if you’re having friends over.  But even if you’re just eating by yourself, why not treat yourself to something beautiful?  You deserve it.

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

Ingredients

    For the salad:
  • 6 cups mixed green lettuce, washed, dried, & torn
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, & sliced
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup Spicy Pecans (recipe follows)
  • Fresh Strawberry Dressing to taste (recipe follows)
    For the Spicy Pecans:
  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 t. paprika
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¼ t. black pepper
  • 1½ cups whole pecans
    For the Fresh Strawberry Dressing:
  • 1½ cup fresh strawberries, washed & hulled
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1/8 t. black pepper

Instructions

    For the Spicy Pecans:
  • Preheat oven to 180C (375 F.)
  • Combine all ingredients except pecans in a large mixing bowl. Add pecans and stir well to coat.
  • Spread on a baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Watch carefully at the end because they can burn quickly.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely.
    For the Fresh Strawberry Dressing:
  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until pureed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.
    To assemble the salad:
  • In a large salad bowl, add lettuce. Scatter the strawberries, coconut flakes, & pecans over the top.
  • Pour dressing over (you won't use it all) and toss lightly, being careful not to bruise the strawberries.
  • Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Notes

The recipes for the Spicy Pecans and the Fresh Strawberry Dressing make more than you will use in this salad recipe. The dressing will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge and is great left over. The pecans can be kept in an airtight container at room temp and I guarantee they will not be around long... although they will stay fresh for several weeks.

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Strawberry Coconut Salad with Spicy Pecans & Fresh Strawberry Dressing

 

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