The April 2009 issue of Southern Living I was reading was filled with recipes for using strawberries since they are so delicious this time of year. Salads are something I get burnt out on easily, and this salad seemed like a great way to mix things up. Plus, I adore fruit and cheese together. (who doesn't?!)
The recipe called for "farmer's cheese" and noted that queso fresco could also be substituted... Um. Yea, I didn't know what either was, so that was a problem.... After all, prior to this past year I mostly just ate turkey sandwhiches, lean cuisines and soup (with the occassional session of cookie baking). So what do I know? I looked it up online and then just made a point to look for it at the cheese case next to the deli counter at Safeway. Sure enough, I found the farmer's cheese with the bries and gourmet cheeses near the deli, and the queso fresco was easy to find too. (I found this on the dairy aisle with the yogurt and butter, where they had a specific section for Hispanic cheeses and tortillas.) I went with the farmer's cheese:
I divided the round of cheese up into individual portions once I bought it, and calculated that one eighth of the package was 3 Weight Watchers Points. Having the cheese divided made it easier to grab a wedge to add to my salad if I was packing it for work, or even just as a snack by itself. Without the portion control, I tend to keep cutting off little chunks of cheese here and there while I'm around the house, and may not be actually tracking how much of it (and how many calories) I've had. (In fact, one of my favorite snacks to take to work for a while was a wedge of this cheese, and about a cup of diced pear, blackberries and strawberries mixed: absolute healthie heaven as a small meal for about 4 Weight Watchers points.)
This salad was not from Weight Watchers or Cooking Light, but I calculated the different components on their own to make it work with my diet. (Goes to show you don't have to read diet books to eat healthy!) With three WW points worth of cheese (1 wedge shown above), and about 1 point worth of almond slivers and strawberries combined, youre looking at a tasty salad for about 4-5 WW points, depending on how much dressing you use if any. Enjoy!
Tangy Berries-and-Cheese Salad
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
- 1 (5-oz.) package mâche (about 4 cups), thoroughly washed* (yeah I didn't know what mache was either...)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half
- 1/2 cup crumbled farmer's cheese**
- Preheat oven to 350°. Bake almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
- Whisk together oil and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; stir in basil. Add mâche; toss to combine. Top with strawberries, farmer's cheese, and toasted almonds. Serve immediately.
*4 cups Bibb lettuce may be substituted.**Queso fresco may be substituted