Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Pecans

Berries, Gluten-Free, Sides, Vegan / Wednesday, March 11th, 2009


Normally I wouldn’t violate his privacy this way, but Henry the Wonderdog is about four pounds overweight.

I found out last week when I took him to the vet to have his nails trimmed, and the vet’s assistant acted like she couldn’t believe I let his fat ass out in public.


So, she asks me what he eats, and I have to admit I have no idea, because Henry is the Canine Roomba. I used to spend half the day pulling things out of his mouth. Bread ties. Dead leaves. George Washington’s Inaugural Bible. He’s ALWAYS CHEWING SOMETHING, like an old man with a cheek full of tabacky.

Once, I dropped a hot wing, and he swallowed it whole before it hit the floor. Did I panic? Yes. Did he so much as burp? No. So, I don’t get involved unless there’s a possibility he’s chewing a.) glass or b.) a fast-acting poison.

What does this have to do with my Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Pecans?

Ever since I’ve put Henry on a diet, he gives me the hungry eyes and follows me around, hoping I’ll accidentally drop a scrap of chicken or a ribeye or an entire Red Velvet Cake. Yesterday, I dropped a balsamic vinegar-soaked strawberry, and he looked at me like WOMAN! AWWW, HELL NO! Turns out, this lovely combination of strawberries, toasted pecans and peppery arugula tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette is perfect for a light spring lunch AND canine appetite-control. Today, I think I’ll drop a lemon.

Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Pecans

Adapted from “Everyday Food”

Serves 4

  • 1/2 pint strawberries (about 2 cups), hulled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bunches arugula, trimmed and thoroughly washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves
  1. In a large bowl, toss strawberries with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar; let sit 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together another tablespoon balsamic vinegar with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. To the strawberries, add arugula, the vinaigrette and pecans. Toss to combine, and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving) – calories: 187, fat: 17g, carbs: 9g, fiber: 3.5g, protein: 2g, PP+ = 5

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21 thoughts on “Arugula Salad with Strawberries and Pecans

  1. One of the first lunches out I remember having as a grown-up working woman was a spinach salad with strawberries and some creamy summer squash soup. Together and apart, they’re still (we won’t say how long still) staples on my menu. I love the arugula and balsamic dressing in this version.

  2. The “Canine Roomba” – thanks for that. It made me laugh out loud and now everytime I think of it I’ll chuckle.

    Funny; after the bacon-Ceasar salad conundrum, I was pondering what goes into the perfect salad. Pecans were a given. I’ll have to try out the balsamic strawberries – I loves me some balsamic vinegar.

  3. Audrey: This is definitely a ladies’ lunch salad. Jeff wouldn’t touch it with Bea Arthur’s tongue. But I love it. Definitely a spring staple.

    Karen: Thanks! I love the prettiness, too. It’s a nice picnic salad.

    Kim: YESSSSS. The grocery only had them in two-pound containers, and Jeff won’t eat them, so I’ve had to get creative. I’m going to wind up like Violet Beauregard in “Willy Wonka” and turn into a big red berry.

  4. i love simple salads like this, especially because they look so fabulous with their vibrant colors.

    to bump mine up, i like to add sweet & spicy nuts instead of just plain toasted. heat 1/4 cup of brown sugar with a few drops of water until it’s paste-y in a sauce pan. stir in a dash of each: oregano, cayenne, and cinnamon. stir in the nuts, making sure they’re all coated. cool them on wax paper (key).

    they’re fantastic =).

  5. Keetha: The Perfect Salad is definitely a texture thing. Balsamic strawberries are in a lot of Italian desserts. They will definitely get your attention. Henry’s mouth pinched in like a drawstring purse.

    Jenn: Mmmmm, sweet and spicy nuts. I am completely on board with this idea. You add oregano? I’ll have to try it.

  6. my cat is always chewing on something, it’s so annoying! he can hear food drop from all the way upstairs and come running to see what it was. it’s not a good surprise for him when it’s onions. haha. this is one pretty salad. i really need to make salads more, i always go for the heavy heavy food at home and then i can’t move the rest of the night.

  7. What a funny story about your dog. I can just picture him following you around waiting for something delicious to be dropped. Your salad looks gorgeous and healthy too!

  8. karen: I know how you’re living, my sister. We’re trying to lighten up, but Henry isn’t having it.

    Tracey: Thanks! I think he remembers the time I knocked a huge pike of Red Velvet Cake scraps off my work table. He was wearing a plastic Elizabethan collar and used it like a funnel.

    pinkstripes: I love them, but I’ve never tried them as a dessert. I’ve heard they’re good with ice cream. But what isn’t?

  9. First of all this salad looks delicious! What great flavor combinations!! Poor Henry. Haven’t those vets ever heard of fat and happy?!

  10. Too funny! I had a similar encounter at our vet’s a couple of years ago. Apparently it’s very irresponsible to let a dog be your kitchen swiffer. Who knew?

  11. Ok, I just laughed out loud and got some stares. The comment about dropping the strawberry and Henry tickled my funny bone. I can so see this happening!

  12. LOL! Your comment about using the E-collar as a funnel is hilarious. My Riley is doing the same darn thing. Actually, he is using his E-collar more as storage space for his bully stick. As he sleeps, it is sitting in the collar to the left of his face. Of course, this is to prevent my other two dogs from stealing it!

    The salad looks beautiful..I too am on a strawberry kick right now. Love your writing!

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