Maple Balsamic Dijon Salad with Strawberries & Pecans

So, I pulled my groin running last week. If it’s not one injury it’s another, I tell ya.

The pain comes and goes, but the inflammation is ridiculous. On top of using arnica gel and epsom salt baths, I’ve been adding flax oil [omega-3] in absolutely everything to help with my overall inflammation.

Any additional anti-inflammatory nutrients that I can get in my body, the better off I’ll be.

If you’re not in pain from running, but you did your fair share of boozin’ while celebrating the long weekend, it may be time for all of us to load up on some greens and healthy fats.

You can make up the ingredients for the salad by using whatever you have on hand. Just don’t change the dressing. It’s truly the star of the show.

Something I get asked a lot is whether omega-3 is better than omega-6, and vice versa.

For this answer, no one says it better than University of Maryland Medical Center:

Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, while most omega-6 fatty acids tend to contribute to inflammation. A healthy diet should consist of roughly 2 – 4 times fewer omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. The typical American diet, however, tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids. Many researchers believe this is a significant factor in the rising rate of inflammatory disorders in the United States.

I couldn’t agree more! Scary though, right?

Maple Balsamic Dijon Salad with Strawberries & Pecans

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

A light vegan salad, surrounded by a creamy maple balsamic dressing.

Yield: 4 entree sized salads



  • 8 cups organic field greens, or other lettuce
  • 3 carrots, shredded [yield: 1/2 cup]
  • 12 whole kalamata olives
  • 2 cups, canned or fresh chickpeas
  • 10 strawberries, sliced [yield: 3/4 cup]
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans, chopped

Maple Balsamic Dijon Dressing

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup flax oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour dressing over top salad and gently mix to coat. Serve immediately.
  4. If reserving dressing, be sure to place in a tightly sealed container. Will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.

What tricks do you have when you’ve injured something?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. I knew that the balance of Omega 3 & 6’s was highly out of whack in most people.. I didnt realize the stats suggest 14-25x out of whack! whoa!

    The dressing looks awesome. I mean, with a 1/2 c of oil in it, it’s gotta be sooo good :) and the dates and syrup and mustard. Perfect!

    Sorry you’re injured…ugh. Pulled muscles are so painful. I’d say hot baths, magnesium, i.e Natural Calm, and I’m sure things like bananas,potatoes b/c of the potassium would help. And arnica. That’s one I use for sure. Both topical and homeopathic.

    And just eat that salad dressing :)

  2. Sorry about your injury! Usually I just stick with icing the injury and resting.

    The dressing looks/sounds delicious — the use of dates has me seriously considering trying this tonight.

  3. Sorry about your injury! My biggest helpful hint for injuries (and injury prevention) is definitely foam rolling. I think I’ll do a post on it, but if you search self myofascial release you should get some good starter information.

    This dressing and salad look so fresh and summery! And I really like the composition of your photos. Making mental notes!!

  4. I love it when I have almost everything in the pantry I need to make a recipe. The dressing sounds delicious. Just need to get the dates. I hope you’re on the mend!

  5. That injury stinks!! Hopefully it resolves itself really quickly. If I have pulled or strained a muscle, I use a homeopathic remedy, Traumeel. It helps with the inflammation and speeds up the recovery time. It’s actually something I also use if one of my pets experiences an injury!

    That salad dressing looks awesome ~ I love how easy it is to make homemade dressings!

    • I’ve never heard of Traumeel. I’ll have to check it out, thanks!

  6. Sorry you’re injured. Ouch. :( I guess that 6-to-3 ratio makes since if you think about how much fried stuff the typical north american diet contains. Corn oil, palm oil, vegetable oil… I get most of my omega-six oils from flax seed and chia seeds.

    • You’re right, it really depends on what types of foods you eat. For someone who eats whole foods, and mostly home made dishes, they’ll need omega-6 in their life. Walnuts are a fantastic source, too!

  7. That dressing looks good enough to drink. I’ve been super lucky with not having any significant injuries. I would do what you are doing though and just continue to each a nutrient rich anti-inflammatory diet.

  8. So sorry you’re injured! I usually have a bath with magnesium salts, use Deep Heat (don’t know if you have that in the US?), eat extra protein and produce, and if appropriate increase my time using my foam roller.

    • foam rolling is key! Thanks for your suggestions :)

  9. I’m sure it almost goes without saying… but your salad recipe seems to be missing greens – typo?

    I’m sorry to hear about your injury, I honestly feel like soft tissue injuries feel worse and take longer to heal than bones! I too am fighting inflammation but didn’t know about the many anti-inflammatory food options (except for tumeric) so thanks everyone!

    • Wow, thanks for pointing that out, Camillia. I missed the most important part!

  10. OH no!!! so sorry to hear you pulled your groin :( My aunt makes this amazing muscle relief butter thats made with cayenne and arnica. Works wonders….I bet you could find it somewhere on the internet or make your own? Also, ice and keep warm! Stretch. rest.

  11. Sorry about the injury :-(

    I never knew that about the fatty acids! Just out of curiousity, what are common foods with omega-6 fatty acids that should be cut down? I’m curious to know if any of these are in my regular diet…

  12. I second the Traumeel recommendation – I use it often. sorry that happened.

    this salad looks wonderful (and VERY anti inflammatory!) :) I love maple + dijon.

  13. I love a good salad dressing! Sounds delicious.
    Ginger is another natural anti-inflammatory. You can try drinking it in tea form or in capsules to help with the pain. Hope you’re well soon!

  14. Ah! That salad dressing sounds amazing, so many delicious ingredients, love the addition of dates, I will be trying this on my next salad for sure, happy to have discovered your tasty & healthy site :)

  15. Weeee!!! This salad looks incredible and is the PERFECT meal I was looking for to have for dinner tonight, yum!! I love the recipe for your dressing and the colors are gorgeous! :)

  16. Gorgeous pictures and that salad looks delicious. I can’t wait to try the dressing too. I love maple syrup in dressings, and I know I will love the dates too. Great idea. Congrats on the Top 9!

  17. This salad looks fantastic, Leanne! I love all the flavors with the added crunch and sweetness.

    Thanks for the recipe and congrats on Top 9!!

    P.S. Lovely, LOVELY photography!!!

  18. Hope the injury is healing well… I agree with Traumeel!

    Planning on trying out this salad for a summer potluck this weekend! I knew I splurged on pecans for a reason. Love that is so “free” from some of my dietary restrictions.

    Great pics and congratulations on Top 9!

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