strawberry, spinach, and hearts of palm salad

My cousin Cathy got a tin of hearts of palm so she wrote our cousins’ group wondering how to serve it. I had this recipe on my Wait List to try and her SOS just prodded me out of procrastination mode. This is Paula Deen’s recipe but I tweaked it. Now I’m not fond of hearts of palm. To me it has a metallic taste, which probably comes from the tin can.  Nevertheless, I found this salad to be quite delicious. The strawberries were tart and the salad dressing had just the right proportion of sweetness to tartness that totally disguised the metallic taste of the hearts of palm. So on St. Valentine’s Day, show you love somebody–but not with chocolate, with strawberries, spinach and hearts of palm!

Ingredients

For the salad dressing
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (reduced from 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used EVOO and reduced the amount of oil  from 1 cup)
1/2 small red onion, grated
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika

For the salad
1 1/2 pounds fresh baby spinach (I added some mixed greens to the spinach)
1 can hearts of palm, drained and chopped
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)

Directions
Prepare the dressing.  Combine the vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a small non-reactive saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature. When cooled, whisk in the oil, onion, poppy seeds, dry mustard and paprika until thoroughly combined. Set dressing aside.

Assemble the salad ingredients. In a salad bowl, combine the spinach, hearts of palm, strawberries, and nuts, if using. When ready to serve, add some of the dressing, and toss gently. Serve the remaining dressing alongside the salad so diners may add more, if desired.

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