Move over all other salad recipes because this strawberry feta spinach salad with homemade poppy seed dressing is the new top dog!
This is the salad recipe I always request when eating dinner with my parents. I’ve always loved poppy seed dressing but mom’s vinaigrette version absolutely trumps any other poppy seed salad dressing out there. And that’s saying a lot because generally a creamy dressing is a crowd favorite. There’s just something so good about those juicy strawberries, chewy bacon pieces, a little tangy saltiness from the feta and then those crunchy almonds all sticky in dressing, it’s the best!
I always think of salads as being simple but the truth is, a really good salad takes some work. Even if it’s just chopping veggies, it can take some time. There are few components to this salad, but it comes together easily and each piece makes the finished product magical. Parts can also be made ahead of time!
Here is what you will need…
- Red Onion
- Vegetable Oil
- White Wine Vinegar
- Smoked Paprika
- Sesame Seeds
- Poppy Seeds
I know that everyone has things they like and don’t like in salads, so here are some ideas for substitutions:
Greens: I love the peppery taste of arugula and doing half spinach and half arugula is a great option. You could also use green leaf or romaine.
Fruit: Feel free to use any berry that you want, fresh or dried. Mandarin oranges are also so yummy in it!
Nuts: If you don’t like almonds or have an allergy, go for candied pecans or walnuts.
Dressing: Swap the white wine vinegar for balsamic vinegar for a little sweeter dressing. And if you don’t want to take the time to make homemade, then just grab your favorite vinaigrette at the store.
Others: Add some avocado slices or croutons for some extra crunch.
What to Serve with Strawberry Spinach Salad?
We usually eat this salad as a side dish with a protein as the main course. Pretty much any protein works great. You could also do a grain or bread on the side.
You could serve it alongside some garlic butter chicken, smoked meatloaf, or roasted pork tenderloin. A loaf of artisan bread or a batch of garlic herb cauliflower rice would compliment this salad perfectly.
Can This Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?
It’s crazy easy to prep ahead, even days in advance (minus slicing the berries which can only be done one day ahead.) stored separately and then tossed together for whatever gathering you’re hosting or attending. And even better, you can make it year round! Almonds can be made 2-3 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container.
How to Make Candied Almonds
I like to get a piece of parchment ready on the counter so that I can transfer the almonds there as soon as they are done.
Sprinkle the sugar in a nonstick pan over medium heat and start stirring it. It should quickly melt and start thickening up. Shake the pan so that the melted sugar evens out over the pan and then sprinkle the almonds over the sugar.
Stir constantly until the sugar sticks to the almonds and they are starting to get toasted. Then remove them to the parchment paper you prepped at the beginning. Let them cool completely. Store them in an airtight container. As mentioned above, the almonds can be made up to 2-3 weeks ahead of time. They make a great addition to most salad recipes.
What Feta Should I Buy?
Did you know it’s best to always buy brick feta and crumble it yourself?
1. Cheaper than already crumbled. You actually pay more any time something is prepared for you and crumbling feta takes one second.
2. It’s higher quality and flavor.
How to Choose Ripe Strawberries
When you’re at the grocery store, look for strawberries with a bright color and nice shine on the outside. The berries should also have a little give to them when you squeeze them gently. You don’t want them to be mushy though. Those are too ripe. They should be stored in the refrigerator and rinsed with cool water.
This strawberry feta spinach salad needs to be added your go-to salad recipes immediately! Whether it’s a potluck with the fam, a BBQ with friends, or a lunch with ladies, this salad is sure to be loved by everyone. I just took it to a family dinner about a week ago actually and everyone was asking for the recipe!
More Salad Recipes You’ll Love:
- Brussel Sprouts and Pomegranate Salad
- Spinach Berry Salad
- Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
- Chopped Chinese Chicken Salad
- Wedge Salad
- Winter Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad
- Harvest Cobb Salad
Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
For the Candied Almonds:
- 1 Cup Sliced Almonds
- 1/3 Cup Sugar
For the Salad:
- 1 Bag Spinach
- 1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 6 slices Bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 Cup Feta, crumbled
- 1-2 Cups Strawberries, sliced (any berry will do)
For the Dressing
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
For the Candied Almonds:
- Spread parchment on the counter. Sprinkle the sugar in a nonstick pan over medium heat, stirring often.
- After a minute it should appear to be thickening up. Shake the pan to even it out and sprinkle over almonds.
- Stir continuously until the sugar has melted to the almonds and they are beginning to toast. Remove to parchment to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
For the Dressing:
- Whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing together in a glass measuring cup. Set aside.
For the Salad:
- Assemble salad by tossing all ingredients together in a large bowl, only using as much dressing as you prefer and serve immediately or toss all but the dressing and allow guests to drizzle themselves.
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