Strawberry, Fennel and Arugula Salad

MAKES 4 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 15 minutes • COOK TIME: not applicable

Variety isn’t just the spice of life; it will also keep you from falling into a food rut. People often tell me that they love salad but get bored with the same old version they always make. This disenchantment can lead folks away from the greens their bodies really need. If that sounds like you, let this salad serve as a springboard for endless seasonal variations. Eating with the seasons isn’t just a catch phrase. Each season brings new foods just hitting their peak; in this case, strawberries and arugula, some of the welcome early harbingers of the spring. In addition to having an incredibly sweet taste, strawberries have anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, when combined with mint and a lemony balsamic vinaigrette, they make for a salad that feels like Pop Rocks going off in your mouth.

4 cups tightly packed baby arugula, rinsed
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
12 organic strawberries, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
6 tablespoons Lemony Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Put the arugula, fennel, strawberries, and mint in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and toss again. Scatter the almonds over the top.

Place a small skillet over low flame and add almonds. Toast, stirring often, until slightly golden and nutty smelling, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

COOK'S NOTE: A mandoline (no you can’t strum it) is a handy kitchen tool that allows you to slice vegetables to a uniformed thickness—and perfect for the fennel in this recipe. There are many inexpensive hand- held models available at kitchen stores and online.

STORAGE: If you must store the salad, don’t add the dressing. After combining the greens, fennel, strawberries, and mint, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 day at most.

Photo Credit: Leo Gong

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods. Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.