Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Friars' Spinach Strawberry Salad

Because of a Cappucin program that involves prison ministry, and because of my husband's work as a prison chaplain, we are occasionally invited to a "friary" not far from our home. There we join young men who are preparing to enter the Cappucin order, and their instructors, for supper and an evening of conversation.

Their temporary home is located in rolling Wisconsin fields and surrounded by manicured flower beds. Inside, the kitchen is large and bright, and the long wooden table in the dining room is polished to a dull sheen. Their brown robes and rope belts always make me think of Friar Tuck from "Robin Hood" but I don't tell them that--I'm sure they've heard it before. They served us this salad, and I immediately asked for the recipe. I've since had it elsewhere, but the night we tasted it at the friary was a first. It has become a favorite of our family, but I never stand at the stove toasting the almonds without remembering the lovely summer evening we spent with the Franciscan Cappucins.

Dressing Ingredients:

1/3 C red wine vinegar
(Daughter Kris found strawberry red wine vinegar and says it was yummy.)
1/2 Cup oil
1/2 Cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp poppy seed

Salad Ingredients:

About 1 lb fresh spinach
2 packages sliced almonds
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
About 1 quart sliced strawberries.
(I use more.)

What to Do:

Make the dressing the night before and refrigerate. If it seems too thick it can later be watered down a bit.

Toast almonds & sugar in a skillet over low heat. I usually add a few drops of water, and sometimes a little more sugar. Spread on wax paper to cool.
Combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds and add dressing just before serving. It is nice to sprinkle a few of the almonds on top of individual servings.
Serves 8-10.
Other ingredients can be added. Purple onions are nice, but don't overdo it or you will overwhelm the strawberries. I tried Mandarin oranges, and I've tried cranberries. I think diced apples would be good too.

The salad looks beautiful and tastes wonderful!


  1. I've eaten a salad like this, so I've wanted the recipe. Thanks!

  2. I've never put the dressing in the fridge before. I just leave it out on top of the fridge. Usually thick in the morning and I add a little more vinegar and oil.

  3. I have thinned it with more vinegar and oil, and also with water. Comes out about the same. And I guess, thinking about it, there really is no need to refrigerate! Not till after it's on the salad--but gotta say this salad does not keep well and you want to eat it up the day you make it. It could be divided in half and the dressing used for something else.

  4. When I said it comes out about the same, I don't mean it stays thick, I mean it didn't seem to matter if I thinned it with more vinegar/oil or just a little water.