An amazing spinach strawberry feta salad with poppy seed dressing, a salad that celebrates spring.
STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD WITH POPPY SEED DRESSING
What can I say about this spinach strawberry salad with feta and poppy seed dressing?
It is a celebration! A celebration of food, of spring, of color and of taste! A glorious list of ingredients, all things I absolutely love, fresh spring produce.
If there is a time to make this spinach and strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing, NOW is the time. I just love the strawberries we are able to buy at the moment around here.
OK, I admit, the local German strawberries found in the stores right now are a bit pricier than the watery and pale red ones coming from Spain, but really, if you want to eat and actually taste the strawberries, local ones are the real deal. They are worth it every extra cent!
And that is probably the most serious advice I can give you if you decide to make this spinach strawberry feta salad: buy the best sweetest strawberries you can get. The quality of the strawberries will make or break this salad!
SPINACH STRAWBERRY FETA SALAD
This strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing is not only a salad to celebrate spring, but a salad you might want to make for your mother on Mother’s Day.
I think I would have a hard time to find a woman who doesn’t love anything made with strawberries and this spinach strawberry salad is a winner. Your mother will be impressed!
INGREDIENTS FOR THE STRAWBERRY SALAD WITH POPPY SEED DRESSING
As mentioned above buy the very best strawberries you can find, they should be perfectly ripe and sweet. I did not actually weigh the amount of strawberries I used, just counted about 6-8 medium strawberries per person and arranged them on individual serving plates.
Use fresh baby spinach leaves, about 1 large handful per person. I had a bag of about 125 g/ 4.4 oz and made strawberry spinach salad for two.
Don’t buy a container of ready crumbled feta cheese! Buy a block of feta, it is about a million times better and it takes 2 seconds to crumble the feta cheese you will need for this salad. A creamier sort of feta cheese would be best, but use whatever sort you have.
I have often seen recipes for the strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing made with candied pecan nuts. While I am perfectly convinced that candied pecans are delicious, pecans are super expensive around here, so I use them about once every two years.
And I did not want to make any candied nuts either. I had already marinated the strawberries with a little sugar and I thought that to be enough sugar for just a salad.
So I used roasted almost flakes and they were wonderful! And much healthier than candied nuts.
Poppy seed dressing:
It was the first time I have made a poppy seed dressing and, to make sure I have the best, I’ve tried different versions, one with mayonnaise and yogurt and the second one with oil and balsamic vinegar.
While both versions tasted good, I found the oil and balsamic poppy seed dressing to be a better fit for the spinach strawberry feta salad. It is lighter in taste and texture and the oil dressing coats the spinach leaves in a more pleasant way than the creamy and heavy textured mayo dressing.
HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD
- Wash and dry the strawberries with kitchen paper. Top and slice them. Give them to a small bowl, sprinkle with the sugar, toss well and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Take the strawberries out of the marinade, but reserve the marinade to make the dressing.
- Toast the almonds in a large pan without adding any fat. Stir very often and remain near the pan, if unattended the thin almond flakes will burn easily. Once roasted, give the almonds to a large plate and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, about 2 tablespoons of the reserved strawberry juice, mustard, mayo and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the poppy seeds.
- Wash and dry the baby spinach leaves. Give them to a bowl. Add about ½ of the poppy seed dressing and toss with your hands making sure that all the spinach leaves are coated with the dressing. Arrange the spinach on two plates or a larger serving platter.
- Arrange the strawberry slices on the spinach bed.
- Finely chop the red onions and slice the avocado. Arrange them both on the plate. Crumble the feta cheese on top.
- Pour the rest of the poppy seed dressing on top of the salad making sure that the dressing reaches all of the ingredients on top of the spinach.
- Give the toasted almonds on top of the salad and serve immediately.
HOW TO PREPARE THE STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD IN ADVANCE
I would not make the strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing very much in advance, but you can prepare the ingredients and then put the salad together just before serving.
Wash and dry the spinach. Leave it until ready to assemble the salad. Toast the almonds. Crumble the feta, cover and place in the fridge.
Marinate the strawberries about one hour before you want to serve the salad.
Make the poppy seed dressing and add the marinade after the strawberries are done marinating.
Only chop the onion and the avocado before adding to the salad.
Once you serve the salad, arrange the ingredients on the plates as instructed above.
Otherwise, I wish you all a nice Mother’s Day tomorrow. We will celebrate it with my mother-in-law and cake. 🙂
- Strawberry spinach salad:
- 2 handful baby spinach, about 125 g/ 4.4 oz
- 12-14 medium strawberries, ripe and sweet
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ about 1/3 cup feta (See note 1)
- ½ small red onion
- 1 small avocado (or ½ a larger one)
- 2 tablespoons almond flakes
- Poppy seed dressing:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
- 2 tablespoons of the strawberry marinade, more to taste
- ½ teaspoon mustard
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise, optional (See note 2)
- ½ teaspoon poppy seeds
- some basil leaves
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash and dry the strawberries with kitchen paper. Top and slice them. Give them to a small bowl, toss with the sugar and marinate for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Take the strawberries out of the marinade, but reserve the marinade to make the dressing.
Toast the almonds in a large pan without adding any fat. Stir very often and remain near the pan, if unattended the thin almond flakes will burn easily. Once roasted, give the almond to a large plate and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Make the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, about 2 tablespoons of the reserved strawberry marinade, mustard, mayo and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the poppy seeds. Adjust the taste with more balsamic vinegar, strawberry marinade and salt and pepper, if necessary.
Wash and dry the baby spinach leaves. Give them to a bowl. Add about ½ of the poppy seed dressing and toss with your hands making sure that all the spinach leaves are coated with the dressing. Arrange the spinach on two plates or a larger serving platter.
Arrange the strawberry slices on the spinach bed.
Finely chop the red onions and slice the avocado. Arrange them both on the plate. Crumble the feta cheese on top.
Pour the rest of the poppy seed dressing on top of the salad.
Give the toasted almonds on top of the salad, garnish with some basil leaves and serve immediately.
Buy a block of feta and crumble it yourself, it takes about 2 seconds and the feta is much better than the already crumbled one.
The mayonnaise makes the dressing slightly creamier. Use it if you have it, but don't buy it just to make this dressing, the dressing is delicious without the mayo as well.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1/2 of the salad
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 423 Total Fat: 36g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 26g Cholesterol: 23mg Sodium: 860mg Carbohydrates: 22g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 12g Protein: 8g