This ain’t your Grandma’s ambrosia salad. Although, back when I used to eat that kind of salad, I sure did love my grandma’s ambrosia salad.
This is a green, early summer salad.
And this is the story of “That Ambrosia Salad”:
A few years ago, back when we lived in Idaho, my best friend-cousin got engaged. As planning got underway, I took her to lunch to talk wedding ideas.
She picked this new bistro in Spokane called Ambrosia. We sat on the patio, we both ordered the same salad, and we both added chicken.
Spinach, goat cheese, strawberries, almonds, avocado, chicken, all drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette. I don’t remember what they called it, but I call it “That Ambrosia Salad”.
We probably talked half the time about wedding plans, the other half the time about how amazing that salad was!
I had dreams about that salad.
A few months later, my mom came to stay with me for my cousin’s bridal shower. I recreated the salad for the first time to impress my mom. A year after that (and a few more recreations enjoyed), I made the salad for said cousin’s baby shower.
In my mind, it’s our salad. I can’t make it without thinking of her.
The salad is special because of her and the milestones it has been present for, but also because it’s a seasonal treat. I can only make it when Bill’s Berry Farm strawberries are in season.
photo cred: Kristi Knode
I don’t know about you but those Bill’s Berry Farm strawberries have ruined me. I cannot buy strawberries from the store anymore. Well, unless it’s Valentine’s Day and they are dipped in chocolate. Otherwise, they are (dare I say) flavorless in comparison to BBF berries. Even my kids know the difference.
Tonight my firstborn took a bite of strawberry in the salad and said, “These strawberries taste different. They are sweeter. They must be Bill’s Berry Farm strawberries.”
Do you know what else is in season when strawberries are in season? Spinach. And Kale. And a whole plethora of leafy greens! It’s a match made in heaven.
This was my first time I made the salad with kale instead of spinach and it passed the test. In fact, I like that kale is a little heartier than the more delicate spinach to stand up to all the creamy richness from the cheese and avocado.
I served the salad with grilled asparagus with hollandaise from the Local Pumpkin flyer recipe a couple weeks ago. Well technically I think it might have been a bearnaise – I added fresh tarragon. The sauce didn’t look like it was supposed to but it tasted fantastic so that’s a win!
Calling this salad “ambrosia” is fitting. As I was writing, I thought I should maybe know what ambrosia means if I’m going to commit to the name.
Ambrosia is from Greek mythology. It is a food or drink that the gods ate. The meal was richer than a salad and asparagus dinner usually is and oh so satiating, with all the healthy fats. It feels a little indulgent without the guilt.
I might need to put this salad on the weekly rotation for strawberry season.
That Ambrosia Salad
For the chicken:
1lb. chicken breast
2-3 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
For the salad:
1 large bunch kale or spinach
1 c. sliced strawberries
1/2 large avocado, cubed
1 large handful sliced almonds
2 oz. goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
homemade balsamic vinaigrette, honey poppy seed dressing, or raspberry vinaigrette (I prefer balsamic for this salad)
- Combine oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add in chicken breast, toss to coat chicken in marinade. Cover and marinate chicken in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- If using kale: Wash and dry kale. Remove stems and discard. Tear leaves into bite size pieces.
- Place kale in a salad bowl. Drizzle with a little bit of dressing. Using your hands massage/ rub the kale until kale leaves are lightly coated in dressing. Cover and refrigerate. (The acid in the dressing and the massaging take the bitterness out of the kale and make it less tough.)
- If using spinach: Wash and dry spinach, tear any large leaves.
- Grill chicken. While chicken is grilling, prep remaining ingredients. When chicken is cooked through, allow to cool slightly. Slice or chop for salad.
- Assemble salad. You can sprinkle everything on in layers or in rows across the top. It sure is pretty! Drizzle with additional dressing, to taste. Serve and enjoy!
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