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).

A photo of the strawberry spinach salad with fresh greens and delicious pecans. The salad is in a white bowl. The dressing is being poured from a clear dressing jar into the salad. There is a silver fork with a copper handle next to the bowl with greens, strawberry, and pecan appended to it. There is a clear glass of water with lemon slices and ice next to the bowl.

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.

A photo of the strawberry spinach salad with fresh greens and delicious pecans. The salad is in a white bowl. There is a silver fork with a copper handle held up to the camera with greens, strawberry, and pecan appended to it. There is a clear glass of water with lemon slices and ice next to the bowl.

Baby Greens

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.

An overhead photo of the strawberry spinach salad with fresh greens and delicious pecans. The salad is in a white bowl. There is a silver fork with a copper handle next to the bowl with greens, strawberry, and pecan appended to it. There is a clear glass of water with lemon slices and ice next to the bowl.

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.

Save this Strawberry Spinach Salad to your “Side Dishes” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

A photo of the strawberry spinach salad with fresh greens and delicious pecans. The salad is in a white bowl. The dressing is being poured from a clear dressing jar into the salad. There is a silver fork with a copper handle next to the bowl with greens, strawberry, and pecan appended to it. There is a clear glass of water with lemon slices and ice next to the bowl.
4.38 from 8 votes
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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!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 260 kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Prepare Homemade Poppy Seed dressing or the Easiest Balsamic vinaigrette.
  2. Combine spinach mix, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl. Add salad dressing and toss until evenly coated.

Recipe Notes

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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A fresh and easy Strawberry Spinach Salad with crunchy pecans and a sweet poppy seed dressing. Great for lunch and perfect for parties!

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24 comments

  1. Oh, this looks incredible, Meggan!! I really wish you would link both of these to my Foodie Friday, I know my readers would love them!!

    I just started Foodie Friday a couple weeks ago, but I’ve heard from several of my readers that they are loving it. Hopefully with the support of other bloggers I can keep it going.

    Have a great weekend!

    Melissa

  2. I must try this dressing! And I love strawberries, spinach and pecans, such a nice combination.

  3. This really caught my eye – I love pecans generally and the strawberries make it look so pretty. I’m wondering if a version of the dressing with a little maple syrup in it would be good, too!

    • Hi Helen! I am sure the dressing would be fantastic with maple syrup. One of my friends makes it with honey instead of the sugar and she just loves it. I do love this salad. Salted pecans, sweet strawberries, YUM! Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it! :)

  4. Perfect timing! I needed a fresh idea. Making this in a couple hours for lunch. Thanks.

  5. What a beautiful salad, Meggan! This one ought to make a salad lover out of anyone! 

  6. I love strawberry spinach salad!!  I haven’t tried it with mixed greens, so this has me intrigued! 

  7. This is a gorgeous salad! I totally know what you mean about fruit + greens! I love the combination now, but it definitely had me confused for years. And that poppy seed dressing sounds great. Thanks for sharing this Meggan!!

    • It’s so good with balsamic too if you don’t want all the sugar in the poppyseed dressing! :) I love your new blog, by the way. It looks so beautiful! I’m so glad we got to meet at NagiCon. :)

  8. I got spinach and strawberries out of my garden last night and had everything in the pantry for  the poppy seed dressing so I had this for lunch today.  It was delicious!  I didn’t have pecans so I used sunflower seeds instead.  Thank you!

    • Hi Jana! I actually make this salad all the time with sunflower seeds. Usually pecans AND sunflower seeds, but yeah. So good. Walnuts work too! And with everything out of your garden, it was probably the best salad ever. Have a great weekend!

  9. I like this recipe with a little red onion thinly sliced and tossed in it.

  10. I want to coke healthy

  11. I love this salad and make versions of it.  One fav. is to combine spinach leaves or romaine, strawberries, pecans but I also add pineapple tidbits and sometimes mandarin oranges.  For me, the dressing is the key:  I buy one bottle of creamy poppyseed dressing.  I blend together about 1 cup poppyseed dressing and about 2 Tbsp. of pineapple juice which I have drained from the can of pineapple tidbits.  I may adjust the amount of the 2 ingredients until I like the flavor but for me, having the fruit sweetness blended with the poppyseed just gives the salad the right flavor.  Enjoy!

    • Your version sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it, I love more fruit. And pineapple juice in the dressing sounds GREAT. Thank you so much for the idea!

  12. Question – Just to clarify, the recipe for “Easiest Balsamic Vinaigrette” calls for 1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinaigrette. I assume this should read Balsamic VINEGAR, correct? Thank you for the recipe! Going to make this week for lunch and dinner! :)

  13. I didn’t see the recipe for the homemade. poppy seed dressing in the notes.  Thanks.

    • Hey Jo! Sorry for the confusion on that. The word “Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing” in the recipe was a link that you were supposed to click on to go to the page with the recipe for that… but who has time for that? I added it in the notes. Sorry about that and thanks for helping me be useful, ha ha! Take care.

  14. Looking for poppy seed dressing recipe – not in the notes.

    • Sorry, I thought I had added that last week, but I must have forgotten to hit “save.” It’s there now, I swear/promise! Thanks.

  15. To amp it up just a bit add blue cheese or feta cheese crumbles. Trust me when I tell you YUMMY!!!

    • Ummmm, YES!!!! I should probably redo this entire post to include cheese because, heck yes.

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