Thursday, May 26, 2016

Strawberry, Goat Cheese and Pecan Salad with Basil Vinegrette + A Giveaway!

Today, I am teaming with a brand that makes one of my favorite products for a busy mom. I love cooking with fresh herbs and Gourmet Garden makes it possible for me to have delicious fresh flavors year round despite living in the frozen tundra!  My garden is full of herbs in the summer, but during the off season I still want those delicious flavors. Gourmet Garden has sponsored a few cooking challenges I have participated in over the past few years such as: #FreshTastyValentines, #HotSummerEats, #TripleSBites, and #10DaysofTailgate. A few of my favorite recipes created for these challenges are:

The recipe above are just a small snap shot to showcase this great product. The herbs also have a longer shelf life and I feel like I am not wasting just to get a few tablespoons of basil. 

Gourmet Garden has generously offered to send one lucky reader a pack of 18 different herb products (12 stir-in pastes and 6 lightly dried).  This is the same prize pack that I have been able to work with and I assure you that you will really enjoy using their products of you have not had an opportunity already.  The pastes range from basil and garlic to a Thai blend and the lightly dried includes favorites like ginger, cilantro, and parsley. 

Today, I wanted to offer a different use for the stir-in paste and that is to make a dressing. The pastes are great for dressings because you get the fresh flavor, but do not have to breakout your food processor. Strawberry season is slowly approaching our area and after a long winter there are few things better than a warm sun-ripened strawberry right off the vine. I took Kellen picking last year and I think we ate more than we brought home! I wanted to showcase one of my very favorite flavor combinations- strawberry and basil. I love strawberry and basil together and it is usually something I love in a drink, but a salad is another great way to blend some of my favorite flavors. I added a little crumbled goat cheese for richness and candied pecans for a little sweet crunch (plain toasted work great too!). I also opted to use arugula for it's peppery bite, but feel free to use your favorite green. I made this salad to share with my family at a recent cookout at our home and everyone adored it- especially me. Even competing with the normal cookout sides it was the one bowl on the table that was completely empty at the end of the night! 

Enter using the rafflecopter below for a change to win and let me know what Gourmet Garden product you are most excited to try!  The giveaway is limited to U.S. and Canada readers. The giveaway runs till 5/26/16 to 6/1/16 and there are 3 different ways to enter- good luck everyone! 


5 oz fresh arugula (I use baby arugula for bite size portions)
4 oz crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup candied pecans pieces (I find these by the salad area of my store, but plain toasted will also work)
1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
Basil Vinaigrette (see below)

Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup olive oil
3 Tbl apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbl Gourmet Garden Basil or finely chopped basil
1 1/2 tsp honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl whisk together ingredients. Season with salt & pepper or additional honey is desired. Set aside. 


In a large salad bowl, gently toss together arugula, goat cheese, strawberries and pecans. Dressing with basil dressing or serve on the side.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Kristin Goodson

    I would love to try the thai and chunky garlic paste. I love the cilantro paste! So easy to use and store. I also want to try the lightly dried variety of chives.

  2. A stir-in paste for dressing sounds divine!!

  3. I've used several of the stir in pastes and I would love to try the Thai seasoning paste. Looks delish!

  4. The Thai paste sounds amazing. Then again, they all sound great!

  5. Cilantro. Just used some cilantro I keep in the freezer and let's just say it was past its prime. :(

  6. Lemon grass!
    I hate buying herbs after mine have baked in the garden by the middle of June here! Stir-ins sound like an ingenious way to have a different flavored mayo at the drop of a hat...
    Thanks for having this fabulous giveaway, Ashley!

  7. I see these in the store but haven't tried them- it would probably be more practical for my family- I usually buy herbs and some go to waste

  8. I see these in the store but haven't tried them- it would probably be more practical for my family- I usually buy herbs and some go to waste

  9. I love these Stir-In Pastes & would love to try the lemongrass paste!

  10. I would love to try the ginger paste.

  11. I've already tried several of the lightly dried herbs and a few of the tubes with yummy results, but I'd really like to try the lemongrass and the Thai (which are, as far as I can tell) not sold in any of the markets near me.

  12. I'd love to try the Lightly Dried Ginger!