My mom made awesome lunch boxes back in the day. They were always put together and balanced -not that I knew what a balanced meal was, but looking back there was a strategy to her lunch box gig…

Of course, like any busy parent, there were those days she relied on Lunchables or the slip of a $5 bill to buy school lunch. -It was necessary, I mean, she was (and still is) a mom of 4 with a full-time job! AKA, SUPERMOM.

Without fail, however, my mom always slipped in a note, a riddle or a quote as a fun surprise to continue the day with optimism. It was the sweetest surprise and one that we shared with our peers… if it didn’t include an embarrassing note of course.

Now, my absolute favorite lunch box days (and my siblings would also agree) were the days with STRAWBERRIES! -Hear me out- My mom made strawberries taste like candy. She would wash them, cut them, and put them in a Ziploc bag still wet with a sprinkle of sugar (maybe a 1/2 tbsp.). This was genius, because as these strawberries went from refrigerator cold to room temperature, marinating in the sugar water, they created a juicy lite syrup. And let me tell you, we Van Sciver’s, were not embarrassed to tip our heads back and drink the last bit of strawberry juice from the Ziploc bag.

It was THE BEST.

Am I about to tell you to sprinkle sugar on your salad? Not quite, but this recipe brings back that sweet nostalgia of my mom’s famous strawberries.

Strawberry Basil Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. strawberries washed and sliced into thin pieces
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 bunch of fresh Basil, chopped

For the Dressing:

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1/4 tsp sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Strawberry juice *see how to make below*

Optional Toppings:

  • Slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
  • Feta cheese

Directions

Wash and slice up your strawberries and place them in a large Ziploc bag, don’t worry if they are still wet -this will actually help make the strawberry juice! Place the 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and heat in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds, stir to combine and then pour the honey water into the bag with the strawberries. Move the bag around to combine, then place the bag in the refrigerator to let the strawberries marinate for at least 1 hour or whenever ready to make the salad.

Place the olive oil, lemon juice, shallots and salt and pepper into a jar or bowl and whisk. Set aside or in the fridge until ready to make the salad.

Add the mixed greens and chopped basil into a large bowl. Drain the juice from the strawberries into the dressing jar and whisk to combine.

Add the strawberries into the salad bowl and toss with the desired amount of dressing. Divide into bowls and sprinkle some slivered almonds, sunflower seeds or feta cheese on top if desired.

Written by Guest Blogger Jessica Van Sciver, Happy Fit Belly

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