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STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

Introduction

Welcome to a delightful blend of flavors and textures with our Strawberry Spinach Salad. Perfect for spring and summer, this salad combines the sweetness of fresh strawberries, the crunch of crisp smoked bacon, the sharpness of red onions, the saltiness of feta cheese, and the richness of walnuts. It’s all brought together with a creamy poppy seed dressing that is both simple and delicious. Whether you’re hosting a family gathering, a summer picnic, or simply looking for a refreshing meal, this salad is sure to impress.

Ingredients and Preparation

Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/3 cup plus one tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, granulated sugar, grated onion, Dijon mustard, poppy seeds, and mayonnaise until well combined.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake vigorously until the dressing is smooth and well combined.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces mixed salad greens (including baby spinach, romaine, and spring greens)
  • 1/4 large red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb. strawberries, sliced
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 4 slices crispy cooked bacon, crumbled

Instructions

  1. In a large wide bowl, spread the mixed salad greens evenly.
  2. Top with thinly sliced red onion, sliced strawberries, chopped walnuts, crumbled feta cheese, and crispy bacon.
  3. Drizzle the creamy poppy seed dressing over the top and toss gently to combine.
  4. Serve promptly for the best flavor and texture.

Tips for Making the Perfect Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • Mixed Greens: Use any combination of spinach, romaine, and spring greens. Each brings a unique flavor and texture to the salad.
  • Fresh Berries: Substitute strawberries with other fresh berries like blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. You can also add mandarin oranges, apples, or pears for a different twist.
  • Extra Protein: For a more filling salad, add grilled chicken or shrimp.
  • Red Onions: Use a serrated knife to slice the red onions very thinly, ensuring they blend well with the other ingredients.
  • Nut Alternatives: If you don’t like walnuts, try using almonds or pecans instead.
  • Strawberries: Use the freshest, sweetest organic strawberries you can find, as they are the highlight of this salad.
  • Timing: Don’t toss the salad until you’re ready to serve it to keep the ingredients crisp and fresh.
  • Cheese Variations: If you’re not a fan of feta, try small cubes of whole-milk mozzarella, blue cheese, or crumbly goat cheese.
  • Additional Texture: Add sunflower seeds or quinoa for extra crunch and texture.
  • Make-Ahead Dressing: The dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
See also  Firecracker Chicken

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

You can prepare the ingredients in advance, but it’s best to assemble and toss the salad just before serving to ensure freshness and crispness. The dressing can be made up to 5 days ahead.

What other fruits can I use in this salad?

This salad is versatile and can include a variety of fruits. Besides strawberries, you can add blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mandarin oranges, apples, or pears.

Can I use a different type of cheese?

Absolutely! If feta isn’t to your taste, try using small cubes of whole-milk mozzarella, blue cheese, or crumbly goat cheese.

What can I use instead of walnuts?

If you’re not a fan of walnuts, almonds, pecans, or even sunflower seeds can be excellent alternatives.

How can I make this salad more filling?

To make the salad more substantial, add grilled chicken or shrimp. This will boost the protein content and make it a more satisfying meal.

Is there a substitute for the poppy seed dressing?

If you prefer a different dressing, a balsamic vinaigrette or a simple honey mustard dressing would work well with the flavors of this salad.

How should I store leftovers?

If you have leftovers, store the salad and dressing separately in the refrigerator. This will keep the greens from getting soggy. When ready to eat, toss them together just before serving.

Can I use dried fruits in this salad?

Yes, dried fruits like cranberries or raisins can add a delightful sweetness and chewy texture to the salad.

What is the best way to slice strawberries for this salad?

Slice the strawberries thinly so they distribute evenly throughout the salad, ensuring each bite has a bit of the sweet fruit.

Can I add grains to this salad?

Adding grains like quinoa or farro can enhance the texture and nutritional value of the salad, making it even more satisfying.

How can I make this salad vegan?

To make this salad vegan, omit the bacon and use a vegan feta cheese. Ensure that the mayonnaise used in the dressing is also vegan.

This Strawberry Spinach Salad is a beautiful and delicious addition to any meal, offering a perfect balance of flavors and textures. Enjoy!