Strawberry Spinach Salad
Strawberry Spinach Salad is full of fresh spinach, strawberries, feta cheese, walnuts, and a healthy homemade poppy seed dressing.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with the most amazing homemade creamy poppy seed dressing couldn't be easier to make and is the perfect tasty salad. Just add grilled chicken, avocado, or shrimp to make it a meal or serve it as a side dish or appetizer. Serve it alongside some Grilled Basil Chicken or Foiled Baked Salmon.
The past few weeks the strawberries at our local markets have been incredibly sweet and really affordable, which is surprising given the time of year. I can't help but stock up so we have been eating tons of strawberries lately and I have been freezing any extras for smoothies.
Out of all the strawberry dishes we have had, this simple Spinach Strawberry Salad may just be my favorite. It all starts with a mountain of fresh baby spinach, plenty of sweet strawberries, chopped walnuts, and a good helping of feta cheese. Then everything is brought together with a simple creamy poppy seed dressing made with Greek yogurt.
Tips for Making Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Although strawberries are my number one choice for this salad, you can use any fruit that is in season. I have made versions with blueberries, raspberries, peaches, plums, apples, and pears and all of them are delicious. The most important thing is that you choose a fruit that is in season and full of flavor. Since there aren't many ingredients in this salad, you want them to be really great.
- I like the extra bite that feta cheese brings to the dish, goat cheese and blue cheese are excellent choices as well. Usually, I reach for whatever I happen to have on hand, which for us is usually feta.
- To make this salad a meal, add some grilled chicken or shrimp. For a vegetarian option, you can add avocado, chickpeas, or a vegetarian chicken product.
- This salad is best served on the same day but if you make it in advance, make sure to pack the dressing separately and toss it right before serving.
- Feel free to switch up the nuts in the salad. Candied pecans are a super popular option and it is also delicious with sliced almonds or cashews.
What's the best dressing for Strawberry Spinach Salad?
My personal favorite a strawberry and spinach salad is always a poppyseed dressing. The sweetness and tanginess of the dressing work perfectly with the strawberries and walnuts. To keep things light and healthy, we like to use a yogurt based poppyseed dressing like the one in the recipe.
Another popular option if you don't want to make your own dressing is to use a raspberry vinaigrette. This really kicks up the fruit flavors in the salad and adds some sweetness as well.
How to wash spinach for a salad?
Spinach can be tricky to clean and to be honest I almost always buy the pre-washed bagged spinach to keep things easy. Fresh spinach is notoriously full of dirt and debris so it takes some special attention when cleaning.
If you are starting with fresh spinach, start by removing the stems which tend to be fibrous and difficult to chew. Then place the spinach in a large bowl of water and move it around with your hands. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes in the water. Then pour into a colander and rinse. Then repeat. At this point try the spinach to see if there are any remnants of dirt. If there aren't, dry your spinach using a salad spinner or kitchen towel. If you still feel grit in the spinach, then continue rinsing.
What is the difference between spinach and baby spinach?
The main difference between spinach and baby spinach is the texture. Baby spinach, which is picked earlier, tends to be much softer and has a lighter green color. It is ideal for raw applications since it is much easier to eat and less fibrous than spinach that is picked later. Nutritionally speaking, there isn't any major difference between baby spinach and more mature spinach.
Here are some tools I used when preparing this recipe:
- Salad bowls: When I am making a salad for a quick meal at home, I usually reach for these simple glass bowls for both making the salad and serving it. I love that them come with an optional lid so I can just toss the leftovers in the fridge after the meal. For fancier meals or when we have friends over, this is my go-to salad bowl.
- Poppyseed dressing: If you don't want to make your own dressing at home, I like the Ken's Lite Poppyseed dressing and for a non-light version, the one from Panera that is sold in stores is pretty delicious.
- Walnuts: Small packages of walnuts can get pretty expensive so I usually stock up at Costco (you can buy them on Amazon) or buy in bulk online. Then I keep them in the freezer until I need to use them.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
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8 cups baby spinach
2 cups strawberries
1/2 cup reduced fat feta cheese (leave out for Paleo)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey (or sugar or Stevia to taste)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp poppy seeds
Salt and pepper
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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