Sometimes when I have an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) salad, I miss having all the beautiful colors on my plate – specifically red comes to mind with the absence of tomatoes. Oh how I miss a juicy red cherry tomato! But then I realized you can definitely achieve the same look, color, and juiciness with a fresh plump strawberry!
I was never a fan of fruit on salads. I didn’t really care for mixing the savory with the sweet, until I discovered this gem. It’s funny how with AIP, your tastebuds totally recalibrate. They change and you start to really appreciate the natural flavors that whole foods have to offer.
This recipe is so SIMPLE! It adds a fun flair with the simple use of mini cookie cutters to make strawberry hearts! It’s just perfect for Valentine’s Day or even date night for that matter. For me personally, I like this salad because it gives me a little bit of cheer to see those dainty strawberry hearts… It’s the little things that make us smile.
This recipe is AIP and Candida friendly if you omit the pomegranate seeds (use strawberries in the dressing or just olive oil)
Strawberry Coconut Salad
For this recipe you will need the following ingredients:
For the Base:
- 1 bag of pre-washed arugula
- 1 pint of fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup of coconut flakes (don’t skip on the thick flakes, they are better than the finely shredded coconut)
- 1 cucumber (I prefer english cucumbers because they add an extra crunch – if you’re into that sort of thing!)
- 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds (I buy the seeds by themselves, and not the whole fruit)
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 lemon (juice from lemon)
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- A couple of sprigs of mint
- Chop cucumbers into quarter slices.
- Combine salad dressing ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.
- Mix arugula, 3/4 of coconut flakes, and cucumber in a large bowl.
- Slice strawberries in half (vertically).
- Place flat side (interior of strawberry) on a cutting board (be sure to use a cutting board because strawberries can easily stain your countertops). Firmly press the heart cookie cutter in the strawberry and twist (to ensure the edges cut neatly). Your strawberry will likely be stuck in the cookie cutter, I simply used a toothpick to push it through. Set the strawberry remnants to the side and use in another recipe or smoothie.
- Place freshly cut “heart” strawberries onto the salad.
- Top with extra coconut flakes for garnish.
- Drizzle salad dressing.