Spinach and Strawberry Salad with a Healthy, Spicy Curried Date Dressing
This salad is a mouthful in every sense of the term. As the title stretches to accommodate as many descriptors as I can fit in, my lips are still tingling with the last drops of dressing. Sometimes, even usually, salads aren't known for filling up much of anything. But this thick, spicy dressing really wakes up the tongue on a dreary, rainy spring day such as this. Good thing, too, because the sky is so low that the middling, wanna-be sky scrapers which I can see from my window manage to reach all the way up, like Himalayan mountains crowned by cotton.
So even if outside the weather is insisting on April showers, a salad of strawberries and baby spinach helps to bring back some of the magic of spring. And when you combine dates with curry, you're left with a thick sauce, more than a dressing, with a real kick from raw onion. This is not the sort of thing with which you want to douse. A few dots on your spinach leaves, enough so that each bite bursts into contrasts of sweet strawberry and spicy dressing. And with minimal oil to boot.
I've used only strawberries and spinach here, but you could dress it up a bit with chopped nuts or raisins or substitute apples or, really, anything you like. It is only a salad, after all. And anyway, when you've gone to the (very minimal) trouble of making your own dressing, even a few handfuls of leaves and a bit of fruit seems special.
Salad of Spinach and Strawberries with a Healthy, Spicy Curried Date Dressing
Dressing adopted from Canyon Ranch Cooking
1 bag of baby spinach
For the dressing
8 ounces pitted dates, chopped
1 small union, preferably a sweet variety like vidalia, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
Dump all of the ingredients for the dressing, except the oil, into a blender or food processor. Blend or process for about 1 minute. Add the dressing, with the machine still on, in a thin stream until well incorporated. Serve over a mélange of spinach, strawberries and whatever else strikes your fancy.