Sweetheart Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinagrette

I’m so pleased to be a part of the Southern California Lady Bloggers Romantic Progressive Dinner. This collection of recipes hosted on different blogs is designed to inspire a little romance in everyone for this Valentine’s Day. Welcome! Please enjoy the salad course.

Sweetheart Salad is a simple little salad with which I decided to take sweethearts a little literally. The dressing is a slightly sweet blend of strawberries and vinegar (with no oil or added sugar) and just a hint of basil. Add some fresh blueberries, pecans and goat cheese and then top it all off with some simple, yet adorable, heart shaped croutons.

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Sweetheart Salad
Serves 2 (or more, just increase the salad toppings and greens as needed)
1 batch strawberry basil vinaigrette (well, probably a half batch for if making it for two) recipe below
1/4 cup blueberries
about 12 candied pecans
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
2 cups romaine lettuce or mixed greens (spinach would be great, too!)
half recipe heart shaped croutons recipe below

  1. For this salad, I like to toss the greens with the blueberries and pecans and then plate the base salad mixture and then add the goat cheese and croutons on top after it is plated.
  2. Please keep in mind that the salad as photographed is very lightly dressed because it photographed better. Your leaves will be distinctly more red.

Strawberry Basil Vinaigrette
1 cup chopped strawberries (fresh or unsweetened frozen)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons loosely torn fresh basil
dash salt

  1. In measuring cup or small bowl, combine strawberries and vinegar.
  2. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. (Or skip the measuring cup in step one and do it all in a blender)
  3. Add the basil leaves one tablespoon at a time, pureeing until smooth.
  4. Add salt and puree. If dressing is to thick, add water one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Keep chilled until ready for use.

Heart Shaped Croutons
Serves 4 (on a salad)
4 slices sandwich bread (or french or whatever you have laying around)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Heart shaped cookie cutters, pastry brush, cookie sheet

  1. Using cookie cutters, cut heart shapes out of bread and place on cookie sheet
  2. Let sit for an hour, then preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix oil, salt and pepper
  4. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, brush heart shapes with oil mixture. Flip and brush other side.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 8 minutes. Turn shapes over and continue baking for an additional 8 minutes until shapes are golden brown
  6. Let cool on cookie sheet and enjoy!
  7. Croutons are best enjoyed on the same day, but will keep for a few day in an airtight container at room temperature.

Now head over to The Gonzo Gourmet for Steakhouse Steaks for Two to continue on to the main course portion of the Southern California Lady Bloggers Romantic Progressive Dinner.


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29 Responses to “Sweetheart Salad with Strawberry Basil Vinagrette”

  1. […] ‘Lettuce’ take it a step further with Baby Baby Lemon‘s Sweetheart Salad. […]

  2. Carolyn West says:

    I love the heart shaped croutons – I just have to try those. Great salad. I would never have thought to put blueberries in a salad but my husband loves them so I will try it.


  3. Suzanne says:

    Now I am really, really hungry.


  4. Jamie says:

    I”m not much of a salad girl but I love the idea of adding fruit to salads…. because that’s what I love…


  5. What a beautiful salad – I love that the dressing can be made year round with frozen berries. Your heart shaped croutons are adorable – we made heart shaped cookies last night so those cookie cutters may get another use this weekend! Fun to be in the progressive dinner with you – Lisa


  6. […] next on the progressive dinner menu? Check out this Sweetheart Salad from Amy at Baby Baby […]

  7. LOVE the heart-shaped croutons – actually, love the whole thing. I can’t wait to try this!


  8. Tonya Staab says:

    Heart-shaped croutons. Brilliant. I love croutons in my salad.


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