Strawberry Spinach Salad and Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

This strawberry spinach salad is an easy and classic recipe! Top with grilled chicken to make it an entree and the poppy seed vinaigrette is amazing!

It is said somewhere that the closest thing to memory is smell, but I have to disagree, in some cases (for me) its taste. This salad reminds me of summer and my sisters, Kelly, Christine and Julie. When we get together to catch up, we eat good food, drink wine and laugh… a lot! These cherished nights we call our “Sister Nights”.


It was a warm summer evening back in 2005 and my 3 sisters and I were sitting around my dinner table sipping wine, laughing and trading recipes. My sister Christine brought this very same yummy salad. But first you have to know before this salad I was an anti-fruit-in-a-salad kind of girl. I thought fruit belonged with fruit and not on top of salad greens. I thought it was weird and my mind could and would not adjust to the thought that it just might just be something I would like. Then I ate this salad and from that moment on my life changed. I no longer judge fruit in salads, in fact I love the idea and I crave the idea!

I am so excited to share this recipe because it’s almost summer and it’s salad season! This recipe is so easy, yummy and good for us! Serve up this salad with your sisters, your mom or your honey and create a moment… and a memory.

Let’s start with the dressing! Wondering what those spices are?

Don’t be freaked by the cayenne pepper… this isn’t a spicy dressing.

In a small food processor {or in a glass jar that has a tight lid of course}, add the red wine vinegar, sugar and spices.

Then a heavy pinch of salt {to taste} and the black pepper. Now let it rip to get all the spices mixed in.

When the ingredients are combined and the processor is running drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Stop once combined…pretty huh?

Toss in the poppy seeds and give it a quick pulse or stir until combined. If you are making this in a jar, just throw it all together and shake. Either way the dressing might separate, but you can always mix it back up easily! Now just season with salt and pepper to taste.

For this salad you will need 10 ounces of baby spinach or your favorite baby spinach mix placed into a large bowl.

You will also need some fresh dill…

Some fresh Strawberries…

…and pecans. I heart pecans!

Start by placing 2 ounces of pecans in a small dry pan and toast until fragrant over medium low heat. The pecans are done when you stick your nose close and they smell like pecan pie… but watch them carefully, because if they burn you’ll have to start over!

After toasting the pecans, wash and mince about a handful of dill… or about a 1/4 cup. I eyeball it… you can add as much or as little as you like!

Then toss it in with the spinach.

Then quarter about half a pint to a pound of strawberries depending on their size. Again you could totally add as much or as little, or even serve the extra on the side for those who would like more.

Toss in the toasted pecans; I like to leave them whole, along with the quartered strawberries into the spinach and dill.

Drizzle with a little or a lot of the dressing!

You could totally stop here if you’d like…

Or you can grill up some chicken breasts… I sprinkled mine with this lemon pepper seasoning and grilled it indoors on my grill pan.

Then slice it thin and place it on top of the salad… it’s reeeally good! A deliciously perfect summertime salad!

Enjoy! And if you give this Strawberry Spinach Salad recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!

Yield: 4 servings

Sister Night Strawberry Spinach Salad & Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

Sister Night Strawberry Spinach Salad & Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
A easy and classic recipe! Dress it up with grilled chicken to make it an entree!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 10 ounces of baby spinach leaves
  • A small handful of fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 pint of strawberries, quartered (or more)
  • 2 oz. package of pecan halves, toasted
  • 2-4 grilled chicken breast halves (optional)


Combine the sugar and red wine vinegar in a mini food processor or a glass jar. Add all the seasonings and pulse (or shake), while the food processor is running drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. Toss in the poppy seeds and give it a quick pulse. Season with Salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Toast pecans over medium heat, tossing around until fragrant. Toss the spinach with the chopped dill, add the toasted pecans halves and the quartered strawberries, toss some more. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

*Optional* Serve with sliced grilled chicken breast halves and then top with the vinaigrette.

*I halved my chicken breasts horizontally and drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with lemon pepper and grilled them on my grill pan, about 6 minutes per side, or until done. One chicken breast halve per serving.

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15 Responses to “Strawberry Spinach Salad and Poppy Seed Vinaigrette”

  1. #
    Anonymous — May 27, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    oh, I know where those pictures are… HAHAHAHA!!!


  2. #
    oliverstrand — March 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I love your photos!

  3. #
    Watcher — May 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Yum! I am throwing a party for all the women in my family while the boys play golfthis weekend…this is definitely on the menu!

  4. #
    Lizzy — May 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Such beautiful photos! I love a strawberry spinach salad…and yours has a few different ingredients compared to mine. I LIKE it!

  5. #
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — May 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Fantastic! I can't wait to try this salad dressing…you always have the best ones!

  6. #
    591888c6-87b7-11e0-9c59-000bcdcb471e — May 26, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Love the recipe… Quick question, What is a good substitution for Red wine vineger? Can Balasmic vinegar work in place of Red wine vinegar?

    Thank you!

  7. #
    naja — May 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Love the recipe! I can't wait to try it. Can Balsami vinegar be used in place or the red wine vinegar? If not what would you suggest? Thank you!

  8. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — May 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I personally wouldn't substitute balsamic… the flavor is way stronger than red wine vinegar. Maybe try white wine vinegar, cider vinegar or rice vinegar. Hope this helps!

  9. #
    dalee041790 — June 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    we have this salad quite often here in SC – you should try it with some blue cheese crumbles added – it makes the salad.

  10. #
    canwill35 — September 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I love your photographs. What camera do you use?

  11. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — September 6, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Hi and Thank you!! I use a Nikon D3000 šŸ™‚

  12. #
    Patty — May 31, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Laurie, maybe it’s with the redesign, but I can’t find the amounts of the red wine vinegar, olive oil, and spices. Can you please list them or am I just. Not seeing it?

  13. #
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — April 19, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    I made this for a dinner party last night. I cut the sugar in half. I think I might even just do 1 teaspoon of honey next time. Regardless, this salad was a major hit! Everyone loved it. I will be making this again and again!


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