Strawberry spinach salad is a colorful and refreshing salad that features fresh baby spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, and a tangy poppy seed dressing. The combination of sweet and savory flavors creates a unique balance, making it a perfect choice for a summer meal.
This Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is light and fresh and one that everyone will be raving about.
When you need a simple salad that can withstand the heat, whisk together a tangy poppy seed vinaigrette dressing and pour it over fresh spinach and strawberries. Add some pickled onions and you have a go-to summer salad that’s ready for your next cookout or dinner party.
The cool Spring weather didn’t destroy all of the strawberries in our area so it’s the perfect time to grab some fresh strawberries and try out some new strawberry recipes. Bake them up with biscuits in strawberry cobbler, add them to crostinis, try some strawberry scones or bake them into a strawberry pound cake.
For something on the lighter side, combine them with baby spinach for a great tasting strawberry spinach salad that goes well with any summertime meal.
What makes this recipe just a bit more interesting are pickled red onions that are soaked in part of the dressing. Adding pickled onions and romaine lettuce create some texture in what can be an otherwise limp salad. You also get some crunch from toasted slivered almonds similar to what you get in a broccoli mango slaw.
Now when someone asks you to bring a salad to the next potluck or cook-out, you’ve got a salad that everyone will be raving about. Light and fresh, it will complement any meal, stay fresh for hours, and it’s anything but boring.
If you need a more substantial side salad, try a cucumber and corn salad with a delicious yogurt dressing, or you can’t go wrong with a traditional broccoli salad or a parsley pesto pasta salad. If it’s summer, then try a watermelon salad with blueberries.
What you’ll love about this Spinach Strawberry Salad Recipe
- The vinaigrette dressing makes the salad stand out
- Pickling the red onion adds so much flavor to each bite
- Strawberries make any salad better
- It’s a light and fresh addition to any meal
Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe ingredients
- Strawberries – find the sweetest juiciest ones around. Here are some tips for choosing the ripest strawberries.
- Baby spinach – you can find baby spinach in the farmers markets starting in early spring, and it’s available in the grocery all year. Baby spinach is more tender and tastes better in a salad.
- Romaine lettuce – adding a mixture of greens is better than just spinach. You could also add some arugula.
- Red onion – you will pickle these for a sweet and sour crunch
- Red wine vinegar – you could also use balsamic vinegar
- Poppy seeds – these add a nice texture to the dressing
- Sliced almonds – when roasted, these are magical
- Vegetable oil, sugar, dry mustard, salt and pepper
How to make a Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Step 1: Pickle the onions
Heat up a little vinegar and sugar in the microwave and add part of the warm mixture to sliced red onions. The onions will soak up the dressing for 30 minutes or so. When added to the salad, the pickled onions add a great punch.
Step 2: Make the dressing
To the remaining sweetened vinegar you’ll add oil and seasonings to make a simple vinaigrette poppy seed dressing to pour over a mixture of spinach, romaine and strawberries.
Step 3: What’s the Best Way to Toast Almonds
By toasting the almonds before adding them to the salad you get a more intense flavor and a little more crunch. It will take the dressing longer to make them soggy if they’re toasted. To toast almonds, just put them in a metal pan in the toaster oven or regular oven and stand right there watching to keep them from burning.
Don’t get distracted, I set a timer for 2 minutes, just in case. You can also toast them on the stove but I prefer the toaster oven. It will only take about two minutes.
Step 4: Add it all together
Add some toasted almonds on top along with the pickled onions and some fresh strawberries and you have a beautiful fresh salad for dinner or maybe it will be warm enough to have a cookout this weekend. It looks like the warmer weather is finally coming to the Carolinas.
Pro tip: Sometimes spinach salad can have a weird texture because the spinach leaves stick to each other when you add dressing, they can feel a little slimy. Adding a mixture of greens makes for a more interesting salad, romaine works perfect. It’s still great if you just use spinach.
Recipes go great with Spinach and Strawberry Salad
This salad will brighten up almost any meal, here are a few favorites:
- Slow cooker ribs
- Ground beef and potato casserole
- Classic shepherd’s pie
- Smash Burgers and spiral hot dogs
- Cheeseburger hamburger helper
- Red wine braised short ribs
- Chicken marsala meatballs
Storing leftover Spinach Salad with Strawberries
Since this salad has strawberries, the juice from the berries will make make the salad soupy after a day or two. If you want to save it, add the strawberries and dressing to each individual serving.
Spinach Strawberry Salad Recipe FAQs
How long do strawberries last in the fridge
Did you pick up some fresh strawberries and don’t want them to turn moldy before you can eat them? Then learn all about how long strawberries last in the fridge and steps you can take to make them last longer!
How to make a homemade vinaigrette dressing?
To make a homemade vinaigrette dressing, you just add all the ingredients to a jar and shake. The dry mustard keeps the vinegar and oil from separating.
Which salad greens are best for a spinach salad?
A mixture of greens makes a spinach salad more interesting. Add some romaine to the spinach for different textures and flavor. Throw in some arugula for a little spice.
What other fruit can you use in a spinach salad?
Blueberries or blackberries are great in this salad. Raspberries get a little mushy.
More summertime salads
More Strawberry Recipes to try
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Spinach Strawberry Salad Recipe with Poppy Seed Dressing
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- salt and pepper
- ½ red onion sliced very thin
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- ½ cup sliced almonds Toasted
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 lb strawberries 2 ½ cups sliced
- 6 ounces romaine lettuce hearts torn into bite size pieces
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- Whisk the vinegar, sugar and ¾ teaspoon salt together. Place ¼ cup in a microwave safe bowl. (reserve the rest for later) Microwave about 1 minute. Add onions, stir and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Whisk oil, mustard, poppy seeds, and ½ teaspoon pepper into the reserved vinegar mixture.
- In a large bowl, combine lettuce, spinach, almonds and strawberries. Remove onions from vinegar mixture with a fork and add to the salad. Pour dressing over the salad and season with salt and pepper. Top with additional almonds.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- To toast almonds, just put them in a metal pan in the toaster oven and stand right there watching to keep them from burning. They won’t get soggy quickly in the salad if they’re toasted.
- Try adding some arugula to the mixture.
- If you want to make this in advance, wait to add the dressing until right before serving.