Strawberry Spinach Salad
A fresh and easy Strawberry Spinach Salad with crunchy pecans and a sweet poppy seed dressing. Makes a great lunch and is perfect for parties!
I will never forget the day Dawn brought Strawberry Spinach Salad to our office potluck.
Being an avid cook myself, I have always appreciated when people actually MAKE food for a potluck rather than picking up a package of stale cookies from the grocery store (or worse: A loaf of store-bought sandwich bread. True story).
Strawberry Spinach Salad marked the first time in my life when I really understood the magic of having fruit and greens together in the same bowl. Up until that point, salads were segregated. It was either a vegetable salad or it was a fruit salad.
These days, I love a variety of flavors and textures: Crisp spinach, ripe strawberries, crunchy pecans, and sweet poppyseed dressing. It’s fresh and delicious, and it’s perfect for lunch: For you, or for a crowd.
While this salad is traditionally made with spinach, I prefer a blend of baby spinach and mixed field greens. It adds more color, flavor, and nutritional variety. And, as far as I can tell, it’s generally around the same price for a bag of straight baby spinach or a 50/50 blend.
Pecans and More
Dawn made her salad with pecans, and that’s the way I’ve been making it ever since. But almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or a combination of those would also work really well!
If you’re starting with raw pecans (or walnuts or almonds), you can add more flavor by toasting them. Toss them in a heated dry skillet for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often. For a rich, non-vegan option, consider toasting the nuts in butter. YUM! If you bought roasted pecans at the store, you can obviously skip this step.
Dressed Up (or Down)
When it comes to salad dressing, I’m all about the Poppy Seed dressing. It’s sweet with an acidic bite and really ties all the flavors of this salad together.
However, if you want a sugar-free option (preferring the sweetness of the strawberries to actual sugar in your dressing), you can make my 3-ingredient Easiest Ever Balsamic Vinaigrette. Olive oil, balsamic, and dijon mustard. That’s all you need. And it’s AMAZING on this salad. Just check the recipe notes for the instructions.
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Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing or Easiest Balsamic Vinaigrette (see notes)
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought roasted pecans (see notes)
- 12 ounces baby spinach and mixed field greens mix
- 16 ounces strawberries quartered or sliced
- Prepare Homemade Poppy Seed dressing or the Easiest Balsamic vinaigrette.
- Combine spinach mix, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl. Add salad dressing and toss until evenly coated.
To make the Poppy Seed Dressing, whisk together:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
To make the Easiest Balsamic Vinaigrette, whisk together:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
- Salt to taste
To toast the pecans in a dry skillet, heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pecans and toast until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching.
To toast the pecans in butter, add 2 tablespoons butter to a small skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Reduce heat to medium-low, add pecans, and toast until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching.
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