Strawberry Spinach Salad

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Healthy is anything but dull when there’s a giant Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing waiting for lunch. It’s colorful, naturally sweet, and as wonderful as it gets.

Strawberry spinach salad in a black bowl.

How to make Strawberry Spinach Salad:

First you have to make the dressing. Decisions, decisions!

Poppyseed dressing is slightly sweet, red wine vinegar based, and wonderful. A little bit of mustard powder adds just enough contrast to the sugar in the dressing. But Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette is sugar-free and a fabulous option, too. No matter which one you pick, it’s going to be a great salad.

To assemble the salad, combine the spinach and greens with sliced strawberries and toasted pecans. Drizzle the dressing over everything and gently toss until evenly distributed.

Healthy is anything but dull when there’s a giant Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing waiting for lunch. It’s colorful, naturally sweet, and as wonderful as it gets.

How to make easy homemade Poppyseed Dressing:

It’s a flick of the whisk or a shake of the jar away.

Mix together the vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, dried mustard, poppyseeds, sugar, and salt. Keep the dressing out at room temperature to let the flavors mingle while preparing the salad. (You can make it up to 4 days in advance.)

Healthy is anything but dull when there’s a giant Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing waiting for lunch. It’s colorful, naturally sweet, and as wonderful as it gets.

How to make Easiest Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Strawberries and balsamic dressing are so good together, you’ll love this poppyseed dressing alternative. (But you can definitely add poppyseeds to the dressing for the best of both worlds.) You can make it up to 4 days in advance.

Whisk together:

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • salt, to taste

Natural ways to sweeten poppyseed dressing:

Even if you’re watching your sugar intake, you can still enjoy poppyseed dressing by experimenting with a natural sweetener, such as:

  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Pineapple juice
  • Monk fruit

Healthy is anything but dull when there’s a giant Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing waiting for lunch. It’s colorful, naturally sweet, and as wonderful as it gets.

Can you make Strawberry Spinach Salad ahead of time?

The beauty of this salad is that you can gather all your ingredients together, throw them in a bowl, carry it to your location—office, party, luncheon—and dress it on the spot. Poppyseed dressing benefits from being at room temperature for a few minutes, anyways.

The dressing can be made a few days in advance, so if you’re busy doing other things, you have the salad 99% made if the dressing is done.

Strawberry spinach salad in a black bowl.

Amazing additions or substitutions to Strawberry Spinach Salad:

Great salads like this one are endlessly adaptable. Try one or two and write about it in the comments.

  • Grilled chicken slices or leftover rotisserie chicken
  • Crumbled feta cheese or creamy goat cheese
  • Candied almonds, walnuts, or pecans
  • Toasted walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds
  • Bite-sized pineapple chunks
  • Canned mandarin orange segments
  • Fresh raspberries or blueberries
  • Raspberry vinaigrette
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Thin slices of red onion or pickled shallots
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Your favorite bottled red wine vinaigrette (the secret is safe with us)
  • Dried cranberries or cherries

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Strawberry spinach salad in a black bowl.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Healthy is anything but dull when there’s a giant Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing waiting for lunch. It’s colorful, naturally sweet, and as wonderful as it gets.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Calories 299
5 from 23 votes


For the poppy seed dressing:

For the salad:


To make the poppy seed dressing:

  • In a small bowl with a whisk, or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, dried mustard, poppy seeds, and salt to taste (I like 1 teaspoon). Stir or shake to combine. Allow the flavors to blend at room temperature while preparing the salad.

To assemble the salad:

  • Add butter to a small skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Add pecans and sauté until toasted and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove promptly to avoid scorching and drain on paper towels. Cool 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, add spinach, strawberries, and pecans. Add salad dressing and toss until evenly coated.

Recipe Video


You can do half baby spinach and half field greens mix if you prefer.
To make the Easiest Balsamic Vinaigrette, whisk together:
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
Toasting the pecans in butter is optional but so delicious. I definitely recommend it unless you are vegan or avoiding butter for some reason. It makes a huge difference!
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.


Calories: 299kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 3gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 84mgPotassium: 454mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 5462IUVitamin C: 49mgCalcium: 81mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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    1. Hi Dawn, yes! Thank you so much for pointing that out. I’ve updated the wording. Sorry about that! – Meggan

  1. So easy to make!! Added honey to the dressing. Not as sweet as I like and will add more. Did not use all, saving and taking some to my parents tomorrow! Great recipe!!!!5 stars

  2. Hello! I had fun looking all around your website/blog. Your recipe for Strawberry Spinach Salad caught my eye. I had some fresh strawberries and some leftover rotisserie chicken on hand, as well as some candied pineapple and caramelized pecans. I chopped the pineapple and the pecans up into medium sized chunks and then along with the baby spinach, the strawberries, and the chunks of chicken, I added a generous amount of crumbled roquefort cheese. Instead of my home made poppy seed dressing, because of the sweetness of the candied pineapple and the caramelized pecans, I just used sweetened rice vinegar for the dressing. We had company over for lunch and this, along with some toasted wheat buns was a big hit. If you’re serving this to kids, they probably wouldn’t care for the roquefort cheese … most likely would rather have the sweeter poppy seed dressing. Thanks for sharing your recipes and thanks, also, for putting up with my changing your recipe a tad bit!!!5 stars

  3. This salad is so delicious and is wonderful anytime but especially in the summer.  I’ve made it with goat cheese and Brianna’s blush wine dressing (prepared dressing).  Going to try it with the balsamic dressing.5 stars

  4. Can the poppy seed dressing be made ahead (like 3 days earlier) and stored in refrigerator?  Or is it best to make the dressing the same day you will be serving the salad?

    1. Hi Josie, yes make it ahead! It will taste better if it sits for a couple of days. If you can bring it to room temperature before you serve it (let it sit out 30 minutes prior) and shake or stir it well… all the better! Thank you for the question.

  5. How far in advance can you make the Easy Balsalmic Vinigerette?  Have so many last minute things before dinner party, trying to figure out what I can do earlier. 

    1. Hi Terri! 4 days per the CDC… but I think it would be fine for a week or two, even! There is nothing in it that will cause issues (such as garlic, for example). You’ll be good to go to make it early! Thanks Terri!

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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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! :)

    1. I’d laugh if this wasn’t so embarrrassing! Yes, Amber. Thank you. I will make the change immediately. D’oh! :)

  7. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!

  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!5 stars

    1. 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. 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!!5 stars

    1. 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. :)

  10. I love strawberry spinach salad!!  I haven’t tried it with mixed greens, so this has me intrigued! 5 stars

  11. 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!5 stars

    1. 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! :)

  12. 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!