Whip up a quick and fresh recipe for Spinach Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing, and don’t miss my tips for how to take this classic combo to a whole new level. (Hint: Block feta and toasted nuts!)
Should You Buy Block or Crumbled Feta Cheese?
I’m all for a store-bought shortcut, but for this Spinach Strawberry Salad, I prefer to buy whole block feta (yes, of Baked Feta Pasta fame!) and crumble it directly into the salad. The texture of block feta that is freshly crumbled is much creamier than the pre-crumbled variety.
How Do You Make Poppy Seed Dressing?
Poppy seed dressing has many a fan around here! Remember my go-to fruit salad? It gets a welcome pop of poppy seed crunch and color contrast, as do the refreshing ingredients in this salad.
Poppy seed dressing can be made with any combination of oils and vinegars. I’ve opted for balsamic vinegar in this recipe, however Champagne vinegar, apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar would all work great.
How Do You Toast Nuts?
There are two methods for how to toast nuts, either in the oven or on the stovetop. Both yield warm, toasty nuts, so take your pick from the below!
- To Toast Nuts In the Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the nuts in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until toasted and fragrant. Note: All nuts will toast in different amounts of time, so adjust accordingly.
- To Toast Nuts On the Stovetop: Add the nuts to a small skillet set over low heat. Cook the nuts, stirring occasionally, until they are toasted and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Note: The amount of time will depend on the size, variety and quantity of nuts you use.
Toasting nuts enhances their flavor and is a small step that contributes big taste to the overall salad!
Can You Make Spinach Strawberry Salad In Advance?
Absolutely! Like all salads, it’s best to keep the salad ingredients and the dressing separate, and in the case of Spinach Strawberry Salad, it’s ideal to keep the feta cheese separate as well.
When ready to serve, toss together the salad and poppy seed dressing, then crumble in the feta and toss lightly.Craving more? Subscribe to Just a Taste to get new recipes and a newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! And stay in touch on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for all of the latest updates.
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to season
For the salad:
- 6 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (See Kelly's Notes)
- 2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (See Kelly's Notes)
Make the dressing:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, poppy seeds and minced garlic.
- While whisking, stream in the olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified. (Alternately, combine all ingredients in a Mason jar, seal shut and shake vigorously until combined.) Taste and season the dressing with salt and pepper.
Make the salad:
- In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and red onion.
- Add the dressing and toss to combine.
- Top the salad with the crumbled feta and slivered almonds and serve.
- I prefer to buy block-style feta and crumble it myself for the best consistency.
- To toast the almonds, add them to a small sauté pan set over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant. Toasting the nuts enhances their flavor and is a small step that contributes big taste to the overall salad.