This Strawberry Spinach Salad is a classic spring and summer salad! Baby spinach is tossed with micro-greens, chopped fresh dill and mint, topped with juicy fresh strawberries, chopped pistachios and pecans and drizzled in a homemade poppy seed vinaigrette. This recipe will serve 4 entrees or 6 side salads.
It’s said somewhere that the closest thing to memory is smell, but for me, it’s taste.
This salad reminds me of summer and my sisters. Every so often we get together to catch up, eat good food, drink wine and laugh until we cry. These cherished nights are what we call our “sister nights”.
It was a warm summer evening back in 2005 and us four sisters were sitting around my dinner trading recipes. My sister Christine brought this very same salad and to be honest I was skeptical. I should mention that before this salad I was an anti-fruit-in-a-salad kind of girl. It was my opinion that fruit belonged in fruit salad and not on top of salad greens (looking back I want to shake my 25 year old self). That opinion immediately disappeared the moment I had my first bite. And I’ve been putting fruit in salad ever since.
My life changed forever.
I originally posted this recipe 12 years ago (!!!), and decided to give it a much needed make over using fresh picked Michigan strawberries my daughter Haileigh picked up for me.
This strawberry salad is such a simple yet flavorful salad that can be served as a main entree (maybe with some added protein?) or as a petite side salad.
To Make The Strawberry Spinach Salad You Will Need:
for the vinaigrette:
- red wine vinegar – Adds a punchier more vibrant and tangy flavor.
- sugar – Sweetens up this vinaigrette.
- kosher salt – Balances out the sweetness.
- poppy seeds – Used more for the speckled look, but poppy seeds do have a slight nutty flavor.
- black pepper – This will add some subtle bite and flavor.
- onion powder – Imparts oniony flavor.
- garlic powder – Slightly sweeter and less assertive than fresh garlic.
- dry mustard – Adds flavor to the vinaigrette.
- cayenne pepper – For subtle warmth. This can be omitted if desired.
- olive oil – Adds richness to the vinaigrette.
for the salad:
- baby spinach – The base to this salad and is mild, slightly sweet and refreshing.
- micro greens – Depending on what you buy will depend on what flavor they add to a salad.
- fresh dill – Adds a fresh herbaceous flavor.
- fresh mint – Mint brings a bright, bold flavor
- strawberries – Wonderfully sweet and add a pop of ruby red.
- pistachios – Adds crunch and a mild earthy flavor.
- pecans – toasting brings out the natural oils and gives this salad warm buttery and nutty flavor.
Make the Vinaigrette:
In a glass jar that has a tight-fitting lid, add 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Stir until dissolved or just about. Then measure and add in 1 teaspoon poppy seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon each dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper. Lastly, add in a pinch of cayenne and pour in 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
Secure the lid and shake until combined. You will need to shake or stir this dressing again before serving.
Prep The Ingredients:
Meanwhile, add 2 ounces pecans to a dry skillet and toast over medium-low heat until fragrant. About 4 to 6 minutes. Remove off of the heat and coarsely chop. You will also need to coarsely chop 2 ounces of pistachios.
In a large bowl, add 5 ounces baby spinach, 2 ounces micro-greens, 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint.
Toss well to combine.
Rinse 1 quart of fresh strawberries. Cut small strawberries in half and quarter if large.
Build The Salad:
Divide the spinach mixture among 4 serving bowls.
Scatter the fresh strawberries, chopped pistachios and toasted pecans over top.
And then drizzle with a few spoonfuls of the poppy seed vinaigrette.
Serve with some extra freshly ground black pepper.
For extra protein, top with grilled chicken (or use leftover roasted chicken), shrimp or salmon.
Such a simple and deliciously perfect spring and summer salad!
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 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
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
FOR THE SALAD:
- 5 ounces baby spinach leaves
- 2 ounces micro greens
- 1 small handful fresh dill, chopped - about 2 tablespoons
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, trimmed, halved or quartered if large
- 2 ounces pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces pistachios, coarsely chopped
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE:
- In a glass jar that has a tight fitting lid, add the sugar, salt and red wine vinegar and stir until dissolved.
- Add the poppy seeds, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard, cayenne pepper and olive oil. Shake well to combine.You will need to stir or shake again before serving.
MAKE THE SALAD:
- Toast pecans over medium-low heat, tossing around until smelling toasty and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. You will also need to coarsely chop 2 ounces shelled pistachios.
- In a large bowl, combine the baby spinach and micro-greens with the chopped dill and mint. Divide the spinach mixture among bowls.
- Top with strawberries, pecans, pistachios and drizzle with the poppy seed vinaigrette.
- Add a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper if desired.
- For more protein, serve with sliced grilled or leftover roasted chicken, shrimp or salmon!
- This salad is also incredible with the addition of crumbled feta or goat cheese.
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