How was your 4th of July? Full of good food, fire works and festivities, I hope? In keeping with tradition, I spent the day with my family at a tiny lake outside of small town Stillwater, Oklahoma. It is a classic all-American celebration, complete with a horseshoe tournament, egg toss, and three-legged race, which are enjoyed by barefoot, grinning little kids and adults alike.
Like most Americans, I overindulged in potato chips and beer yesterday, so today seems prime for sharing a delightful, guilt-free summer salad. Simple and sweet, it’s easy to toss together in just a few minutes. The toasted walnuts really send it over the top!
Sweet and Spicy Walnuts
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup walnuts
- Category: Snack
A light and summery strawberry spinach salad with sweet and spicy walnuts, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ground sea salt to taste
- Cook nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they are lightly toasted and fragrant. Add butter. Stir until the better has melted and coated the nuts. Stir in the maple syrup, cayenne, cinnamon and salt.
- Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated and the nuts are well coated. This should only take a couple of minutes. Be sure to remove from heat the second the liquid seems to have cooked down, because the mixture will burn quickly. Pour the walnuts onto a plate or into a bowl and allow to cool before tossing them on your salad.
- Adapted from Care2.
- This yields enough walnuts for at least two salads, but you can easily double or triple the recipe and store the nuts in a covered container for later. One cup of walnuts may seem like plenty, but I scarfed them all down within 24 hours. Oops!
To assemble the salad, toss fresh spinach with a drizzle of balsamic oil and olive oil. Add sliced strawberries, crumbled goat cheese and sweet and spicy walnuts. Note that both spinach and strawberries are on the “dirty dozen” list for pesticide contamination, so buy organic if you can.