Strawberry-Spinach Salad with Berry Dressing
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Strawberry-Spinach Salad with Berry Dressing
Who needs complicated and fussy when the farmers’ markets are abundant with glorious, fresh ingredients? Vegetables in every color. And every one of them gluten-free.
Using fresh strawberries in a vegan salad drizzled with berry and balsamic dressing transforms tender greens into a luxurious and romantic treat. And the best part? Easy as one-two-three.
See all strawberry recipes.
Click here to see Gluten-Free Recipes That Actually Taste Good.
For the dressing
- 1/2 Cup strawberries, stemmed
- 1/2 Cup raspberries
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon raw agave nectar
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad
- 4 Cups baby salad greens
- 2 Cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 1/2 Cup strawberries, stemmed and sliced
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 6 sprigs mint
This Berry Salad is summer in a bowl. It’s bright and refreshing, requires hardly any chopping and all the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time for an easy, stress-free potluck salad side. You can customize the Berry Salad with your favorite ingredients or whatever you have in your garden!
This isn’t just any Berry Salad, this Berry Salad recipe is is loaded with candied pistachios, creamy feta and a silky Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing! Because in my opinion, every salad needs cheese and nuts and the best dressing in order to be extraordinary. And we only aim for extraordinary here at Carlsbad Cravings.
The salted, roasted, candied pistachios and the creamy, salty feta are the crowning jewels in the strawberry feta spinach salad that perfectly balance the the sweet enveloping creamy Poppy Seed Dressing.
If a salad is only as good as its dressing – then this Berry Salad is deeeevine. This Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing is deceptively simple, velvety, smooth, and sweet speckled with poppy seeds and sesame seeds. It starts with a base of strawberry yogurt, which you blend with sour cream and mayo, cider vinegar, sugar, dried onions, poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
Refreshing Berry Salad with Creamy Strawberry Poppy Seed Dressing so you can taste the best of summer in every forkful.
Berry Spinach Salad
One of my favorite things about this season is the fresh produce. I seriously can’t get enough of all the fresh summer fruit . I put the fruit to good use with this Berry Spinach Salad. It has berries in the salad AND the dressing. This is the perfect salad for summer!
I topped the salad with fresh berries, goat cheese and pecans. It makes the perfect lunch or light dinner. It’s super easy to toss together or make ahead for a quick work lunch.
The best part of this salad is that it is totally customizable. Use any fresh fruit or nuts you have on hand. Pine nuts or pistachios would go great in this salad.
This Berry Spinach Salad is loaded with tons of health benefits. Here’s the breakdown:
- Spinach: Rich in antioxidants and a good source of vitamins. This salad has double the amount of spinach you need in a day!
- Berries: Berries are loaded with antioxidants, great for memory and brain health and are high in vitamin C.
- Pecans: Great for your skin and hair and are also loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Add some grilled chicken or fish for an added protein boost.
Even the dressing is good for you! Loaded with more fresh berries, cherry juice, a bit of canola oil and balsamic vinegar. Only 4 ingredients. That’s it! I could seriously drink this dressing.
All of the ingredients get added to a blender and pureed. If the seeds from the berries bother you just strain out the seeds with a sieve.
The Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette makes this salad. It’s sweet, tart and thick. The combination of the sweet berries and the tart balsamic vinegar make the perfect combination for this salad dressing. I like to store the extra in the fridge to use throughout the week. You can substitute frozen berries if you don’t have any fresh on hand.
POUR 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan.
CUT 1 vanilla bean in half lengthwise.
SCRAPE seeds carefully from half of vanilla bean using edge of a small knife. (USE remaining half for other recipes.)
ADD vanilla bean pod and seeds to saucepan.
STEEP mixture gently until barely simmering.
STRAIN mixture to remove pod and seeds.
ADD 1 tablespoon honey.
WHISK IN 120 ml of olive oil.
SEASON with salt and pepper to taste.
SET ASIDE dressing.
PREHEAT oven to 200°C.
TOAST the hazelnuts (or nuts of choice) 3-6 minutes or until lightly golden.
TOSS warm nuts with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
PLACE baby spinach into a large salad bowl.
HULL strawberries and CUT into quarters.
ADD strawberries to bowl.
TOSS mixture lightly.
STIR dressing thoroughly and POUR over salad.
SERVE Strawberry Spinach Salad with Vanilla Balsamic Dressing immediately.
Strawberry-Spinach Salad Recipe
Nothing says &ldquoIt&rsquos spring!&rsquo like a fresh strawberry and spinach salad. Served with grilled chicken, a pork tenderloin, or boiled shrimp, a strawberry and spinach salad is a light and easy way to add healthy fruit and vegetables to your menu. Spring is strawberry season and, since it is way-too-short, head to the farmers&rsquo markets and buy these juicy jewels by the pound and bake your favorite strawberry desserts. It's tempting to buy a box of the huge berries that flood the produce aisle of grocery stores during winter, but the out-of-season picks may look good, but they just don&rsquot deliver on taste. Strawberries harvested before they ripen might turn a bit more red after they are picked, but they will never get any sweeter. The key to the fruit's deliciousness? Give them time under the sun in the fields to ripen&mdashfrom cap to tip&mdashand develop its unmistakable scent. When selecting berries, aroma, not color, is a sure sign of good flavor, so follow your nose to find the cream of the crop. If you don&rsquot use all the berries immediately, it is a good idea to freeze strawberries so you can enjoy a taste of spring in the middle of winter. Just before freezing, gently wash berries in cool water, and pat them dry with paper towels. Remove and discard stems, leaves, and any under-ripe or damaged fruit. For a quick freeze, place whole berries in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan freeze until firm. Pack into zip-top plastic freezer bags, leaving 1-inch headspace. Squeeze out excess air seal and freeze up to 8 months.
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This Strawberry Jello Fluff Salad, is so light and delicious. Watch how to make it, here:
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Fresh strawberries are the simple star of the show in this salad. When strawberries are in season, and at their ultimate sweetness, that’s when this salad should appear on your dining table at least once a week.
Strawberries are one of the great farmer’s market purchases. There’s one market stand in London near our home that has the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten.
We buy a huge box of them and add them to everything for weeks, while they’re at their peak. There are many berry smoothies being made in our house.
How to Make a Strawberry Spinach Salad
Start with fresh, crisp spinach leaves. I use baby spinach, because it’s so bite sized and delicate. Regular spinach works too, but be sure to tear it up into smaller pieces. You’ll know why if you’ve ever tried to fit a whole leaf in your mouth in one bite. It’s not pretty.
Cut up the strawberries into quarters. If you’ve got extra large strawberries, you might chop them instead, for smaller pieces. The avocado can be sliced and then chopped into smaller slivers.
Don’t toss the salad with the dressing until you’re ready to serve it. The leaves become wilted quickly and you want this to be as crisp as possible when served.
This salad is great with just spinach, strawberries, and avocado, but if you’re wanting to turn it into a lunch salad instead of a side salad, there are a few great accompaniments to add.
Try one or more of these additions:
- Candied pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds
- Crumbled feta or gorgonzola cheese
- Grilled chicken
What to Serve This With
This salad is a great side dish, especially for a light summer dish, like salmon or white fish. It also goes really well with this buffalo stuffed chicken or a versatile pulled pork shoulder.
Other recipes to try
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- Spinach– I prefer baby spinach. It’s prepped and ready to use and doesn’t have a strong flavor like other dark greens.
- Strawberries– Fresh, ripe, sweet, and juicy strawberries. Spring time is strawberry season so you’ll find the best berries then.
- Goat Cheese– A little goes a long way. It has a strong flavor and is oh so creamy! When tossed in salads it gets mixed with the dressing and becomes so creamy and dreamy.
- Red Onion– you can totally leave these out but the bite of the onion is a nice balance to the sweetness in the salad.
- Candied Almonds– these are a cinch to make and take your salad from fine to amazing. Everyone loves a good nutty crunch!
- Poppy Seed Dressing– I’ve only ever made this salad with my homemade dressing. I have a jar of this in my fridge 95% of the time.
- Prepare a parchment paper lined baking sheet and set close by.
- Place almonds and granulated sugar in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat once the almonds are toasted and sugar has melted and sticks to the almonds.
- Pour the nuts onto the parchment paper and spread out as much as possible.
- Let cool completely and then break into clusters.
For the dressing, push a straw through the strawberries from the tip to the green top to remove the hull. (Or you can cut it off with a knife!)
Add the rest of the dressing ingredients, and blend until smooth. Refrigerate.
Cut strawberries, apple, and onion into slices.
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl, drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat. (Spinach wilts easily, don’t add dressing until ready to eat!)
How to Make Homemade Balsamic Dressing:
This salad is delicious mainly because of the delicious homemade dressing it’s tossed in. You can save so many calories and added ingredients by making your own dressing at home, and most of the time it tastes much better anyways.
Here’s what you’ll need to make the best homemade balsamic dressing:
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pull out your blender and blend all of these ingredients together. We recommend blending to avoid bites with too much garlic. If you’re in a hurry and need to just whisk your dressing together, we’d substitute the garlic for garlic salt and whisk until it’s dissolved.