Our Summer Strawberry Salad is perfect for outdoor barbeques and great to bring for potluck gatherings. The sweetness of strawberries matched with rocket and bocconcini, layered with crunchy maple candied walnuts and drizzled with tangy aged balsamic vinegar, is a match made in heaven.
- Why You’ll Love This Salad
- Adding Fruit in Summer Fresh Salads
- What Goes Well with Strawberries?
- How to Build Your Own Summer Strawberry Salad
- Recipe Overview
- How to Make the Salad
- How to Assemble the Salad
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Serve
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Salad
It’s a stunner! Really.
The contrasting glorious reds of strawberries against the snow white bocconcini just look amazing together. And we would not share a summer fresh salad recipe if it wasn’t delicious too. This is a crowd-pleaser.
Phenie and I always say, even with low key catch-ups with friends, the little things make a good night. We want to have a great night, share yummy food, drink good wine but not always hovering in the kitchen for elaborate cooking.
The sweetness of strawberries matched with creamy bocconcini, layered with rocket, radish and maple candied walnuts, is perfect for summer barbeques, lazy rotisserie chicken dinners and a stunner to serve at Christmas and festive gatherings as well.
The sweet yet savoury flavours of this salad with bocconcini pair well with many roast meats or as an invigorating appetiser.
This strawberry walnut salad is one of my no-fuss, go-to easy summer salad recipes made for easy entertaining.
Adding Fruit in Summer Fresh Salads
When it comes to summer salads, I love adding fresh fruit that is in season. You will be surprised by the delicious combinations of fruit and savoury ingredients like nuts and cheese.
We adore berries, so I love to include them in my summer fresh salads. This keeps the kiddos happy but also adds a refreshing sweet contrast to the usual green leaf salad.
Stone fruits are also perfect for summer fresh salads as they are in season! Peaches and nectarines make simple additions to pep up green leafy rocket salads, plus match well with creamy cheeses like bocconcini, feta and goat cheese.
Other than summer fruits, there are many other fruits you can add to a savoury salad. For example, good ol’ apples and pears add crunch, whilst citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit deliver juicy sweetness to salads.
What Goes Well with Strawberries?
Strawberries and cream! How could we pass the classic combination of milky cream poured over fresh sweet strawberries? That is why strawberries go so well with a creamy cheese like bocconcini, feta and goat cheese.
But of course, there are many other delicious combinations with strawberries. And some you may be pleasantly surprised by.
Pairing strawberries with other classic sweet flavours such as chocolate, apples, blueberries, peaches and vanilla is expected. But have you tried more savoury notes such as basil, mint, walnuts, pistachios and one of my faves, balsamic vinegar?
When opposites attract, they go so well together. Strawberries with balsamic vinegar is a match made in heaven. Sweet, floral notes of strawberries pair amazingly well with the strong sweet-tang, syrupy flavours of balsamic vinegar.
For some reason, the tartness of balsamic vinegar accentuates the sweetness of strawberries. It’s like throwing some sea salt into chocolate. Strange, I know. But it works. I prefer matching strawberries with aged balsamic vinegar. The ageing process results in a richer and sweeter vinegar that is utterly divine.
One of the easiest desserts you can make is strawberries with balsamic vinegar and good vanilla ice cream. This pairing is beyond words.
How to Build Your Own Summer Strawberry Salad
The classic summer strawberry salad calls for a well balanced, sweet, savoury combination of fruit, cheese and nuts.
It is often layered with plump strawberries, fresh spinach, walnuts, crumbled feta and dressing with delicious poppyseed dressing.
In my version, I decided to dial up the leaves and dial down the cheese flavours in the strawberry bocconcini combination. Rocket leaves or arugula are more peppery than spinach leaves.
For the cheese component, bocconcini adds a more delicate creamy contrast compared to salty feta. I also love the look of these baby white morsels dotted on the plate.
Poppyseed dressing is a creamy mustard-based dressing that would be fantastic in this salad, too, but to keep it simple and showcase the wonderful produce, I decided to dress only in good quality extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
Flavour/Texture: The overall flavour profile of this strawberry walnut salad is deliciously sweet and creamy with a little kick of peppery notes. I love how the strawberries bring the sweetness to the creamy bocconcini layered on top of the peppery rocket and radishes.
And there are no soggy leaves in sight when it comes to texture. A good balance of crunch from the radishes and maple candied walnuts is offset by the soft plumpness from strawberries and bocconcini. This strawberry walnut salad creates an interesting bite from start to end.
Ease: This falls under the easy summer salads category for sure. The only cooking involved is the maple candied walnuts but easily achieved in a few minutes. The rest is simple slicing.
Time: Quick and easy salad completed in less than 20 minutes.
These are the ingredients you need in Summer Strawberry Salad with Bocconcini and Rocket.
Strawberry: Choose strawberries that are plump and just ripe. Overripe strawberries will not be good in salads.
Bocconcini: Round, bite-sized young mozzarella cheese; bocconcini are fantastic in salads. You get the same creamy and stretchy texture of buffalo mozzarella, but no tearing is required.
Radish: Radish is an excellent addition to the summer strawberry salad to add a crunchy texture and a peppery kick. The red and white colours of sliced radishes are perfect against the strawberries and bocconcini as well.
Rocket leaves (arugula): To balance the sweet strawberries, I have selected to use rocket leaves instead of spinach leaves which is the more popular choice. Rocket leaves, also known as arugula, will offset the sweetness with their piquant flavours.
Mint leaves: Finely sliced mint ribbons offer an element of freshness and garnish.
Walnuts: I love a salad with some additional textures and crunch. Walnuts are a great addition but to make it even tastier, toasting them with maple syrup takes it to another level. You may want to keep maple candied walnuts aside before assembling because there is a danger you will eat most of them before serving the salads.
Maple syrup: Rather than pure sweetness, maple syrup brings depth with hints of caramel and toffee. I find it less sickly than honey.
Salt: To taste and balance the sweetness in the maple candied walnuts.
Extra virgin olive oil: Use good quality extra virgin olive oil in this recipe as we are not creating a dressing as such.
Balsamic vinegar: If you can get hold of aged balsamic vinegar, please use it for this recipe. Aged balsamic vinegar is a match made in heaven with strawberries. If not, a good quality balsamic vinegar for the final touches.
Follow these instructions on how to make Summer Strawberry Salad with Bocconcini and Rocket:
How to Make the Salad
Trim and cut strawberries in half or quarters, depending on size.
Trim radish tops and wash them well. Cut radish into thin slices.
Wash and dry rocket leaves.
Finely slice mint leaves into ribbons.
Over medium-high heat, add walnuts, maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a flat pan and roast.
Stir frequently until syrup is caramelised and walnuts have gained a golden colour. This will take about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the pan and spread over the tray lined with baking paper. Let them fully cool before using in the salad.
How to Assemble the Salad
Use a large platter so you can spread the ingredients out and display them proudly. Otherwise, a large bowl would work perfectly too.
Start with scattering ¾ of your rocket leaves on the plate, then add strawberries and radishes evenly on the plate.
Drain bocconcini from brine and shake off any excess liquid. Place bocconcini evenly between strawberries and radish slices on the plate.
Then scatter the remaining rocket leaves and maple glazed walnuts on top.
Scatter mint ribbons all over.
To serve, drizzle extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar in a zig-zag motion across the plate.
Variations and Substitutions
You can, of course, build your own summer strawberry salad and use other ingredients like the following. Together they make a great combination for summer strawberry salad:
- spinach leaves
- mixed greens
- basil leaves
- goat cheese
- feta cheese
- buffalo mozzarella
- cherry tomatoes
- red onion
- toasted pecans
- sunflower seeds
- roasted cashews
- pine nuts
Vegan / Dairy free option: Skip the bocconcini cheese and replace with avocado. Adds creaminess without the dairy.
Nut free option: Remove walnuts if you prefer a nut-free salad. It works without or if you like extra crunch, add sunflower seeds.
Substitution for rocket leaves: Not everyone loves the peppery flavours of the rocket; as such, you can substitute with spinach leaves for a milder taste.
How to Serve
Here are some main dishes that will go well with Summer Strawberry Salad with Bocconcini and Rocket:
Lemony olive oil tortellini: A simple but flavourful tortellini dinner meal idea, coated in a skillet with lemon, garlic, basil and olive oil. Complete this pasta mela with a summer strawberry salad for a side that is light and refreshing.
Sous vide wagyu steak: Learn how easy it is to sous vide wagyu steak perfect every time. Seal in all the moisture and flavour with just two ingredients. Every good steak deserves an equally good side and this summer strawberry salad will make the perfect companion.
Grilled rosemary shrimp: This is an easy dinner recipe to make, and it is packed with flavour! Finish this delicious summer recipe with our summer strawberry salad. Great for some al fresco dining!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can easily make the candied walnuts ahead of time and pre-cut the ingredients. Assemble in 5 minutes when you need to serve.
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for one day. Best to consume on the day.
Candied walnuts are a great snack to keep in the pantry. You can store in an airtight container for a week. They make a great addition to an end-of-night cheese platter. Serve with creamy camembert or blue cheese, pear slices, quince paste and crackers.
Yes, it sure is. In North America, rocket is called arugula. You will also see rocket called rucola, roquette, rucoli, and rugula. All the terms are derived Latin word eruca.
Often you see buffalo mozzarella and bocconcini at the deli and wonder what the difference is. Is there? Not really. Sorry to disappoint.
Bocconcini translate from Italian as “little mouthfuls”, referring to round bite-sized young mozzarella cheese. Very similar to buffalo mozzarella, but the taste is slightly milder and less creamy. It is a semi-soft cheese made traditionally with milk from water buffaloes but now most commonly made from cow’s milk. Bocconcini is not aged and served fresh.
Summer strawberry salad with bocconcini and rocket is a recipe you need to store in your summer fresh salads category. Easy to recreate for alfresco dining, barbeque catch-ups and potluck dinners. The stunning colours will not only bring wows to the table but devoured in minutes!
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Summer Strawberry Salad with Bocconcini and Rocket
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- Wash and trim strawberries, then cut in half or quarters depending on size.
- Wash radishes, trim green tops and thinly slice.
- Wash and dry rocket leaves.
- Add walnuts, maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a small fry pan and fry over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until syrup is caramelised and walnuts have gained a golden colour. Approximately will take about 2-3 minutes.
- On a large plate, scatter ¾ of rocket leaves, then place strawberries and sliced radishes on top.
- Drain bocconcini from brine and scatter between strawberries and radish slices.
- Add the remaining rocket leaves and maple glazed walnuts.
- To serve, drizzle olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar across the salad.
- If you can’t find baby bocconcini, a large buffalo mozzarella ball would suffice too. Just tear up the cheese and scatter on the plate.
- Remove walnuts if prefer nut-free salad. It works without.
- Vegan / Dairy free option – skip the bocconcini cheese and replace with avocado.
- Whether you are hosting or taking this salad to a party, you can easily have all ingredients cut and prepared, then assemble when you need to serve.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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