Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is the perfect spring inspired salad. This is the perfect side dish for Easter, but it’s easy enough for lunch any day of the week. The homemade poppy seed dressing is tangy and refreshing, and you can even make it ahead and store it in the fridge for easy meal prep!
I know exactly which food i could eat to infinity and beyond.
They are so sweet and perfect. And I love them in any way – by themselves in all of nature’s glory, baked into a delicious strawberry rhubarb crisp, in salad, in savory dishes, just heaps of them sliced and drizzled with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing…
But. I wasn’t always a strawberry fan. In fact, as a child I downright hated them.
I ate strawberry cake at my grandparents’ house when I was about 3, choked on it and declared it must have been the tiny little seeds in the strawberries.
And proceeded to refuse any and all strawberries, in any shape or form.
But then, one day, something wonderful happened.
My nanny brought me home one day and told my mom how she took me to the pick-your-own strawberry farm and how I ate lots and lots of strawberries, right off the field.
I don’t know why… But apparently standing in the middle of a strawberry field was what i needed to come to my senses.
Which is just as well, because otherwise I’d be missing out on the most perfect combination of spinach and strawberries.
This is my best version of a classic Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- it has baby spinach
- sliced cucumber
- lots of strawberries, obviously
- some mint and chopped almonds for kicks and interest
- and lashings of homemade lemon poppy seed salad dressing
Do you even say lashings for dressing, or is that just for butter? I don’t know, but I don’t even care. Because this salad is too delicious.
I know there are many recipes for salad using strawberries and spinach out there… I mean, I have some others right here on the blog, too: A very pretty Spinach Avocado Salad with Berries and this delicious Spinach Strawberry Walnut Salad.
But. Hear me out. These usually have lots of other ingredients like cheese, avocado, bacon or chicken – which are so tasty! But I wanted to make a salad that lets the strawberries and poppy seed dressing really shine.
And this one? It’s so good. The cucumber is there, but it’s subtle. Just a little extra crunch and hydration.
The mint comes in bursts, and the chopped almond is enough obvious to keep the salad from being boring, but not as much as to overtake it.
This gives sooo much space to the strawberries and the Poppy Seed Dressing. Not that I don’t like all the other salads, too. But this one is the one that focuses on the simple basics.
How I make this simple Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing:
- Make the dressing
- Chop the almonds
- Slice the strawberries and cucumber
- Toss everything
Isn’t that simple?!
By the way, if you’re wondering why I chop the almonds before I slice the strawbs and cucumber? Read on…
Extra tips for making a delicious Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing:
The poppy seed dressing is very simple to put together. Just a case of measuring out some stuff and whisking it together. I’ve also made this salad with White Balsamic Vinaigrette before, and it’s also delicious.
Or go rogue and make a honey mustard salad dressing – in case you’re like me and make the same recipe over and over again, until you want to switch things up sometime 😉
I chop the almonds first before I slice the strawberries and cucumber, because I only want to use one chopping board.
Slicing fruit and veggies makes the board damp, and damp almonds get sticky and annoying when chopping them… So I always get them out of the way first.
The strawberries I usually slice in a crazy disarray for salads. Some rounds, some half moons, some wedges… I find that keeps the salad really interesting.
You can opt to cube the cucumber, but I find it prettier in slices. Plus, my kids love eating cucumber slices, so they pick these out of the salad and happily munch on them. Parenting win!
Then just add the mint and toss everything with the dressing. I guess the hardest part of this salad is tossing it as carefully as possible, because you don’t want to smash the strawberries.
Also, if you want to prep this Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing ahead of time, you’ll need to keep the dressing in a separate container until right before serving.
Otherwise the spinach gets limp and the strawberries turn mushy.
But if you can keep the dressing in a jar and only dress when you’re ready to eat, you’re good to go! That way you can even bring this salad to picnics, potlucks or as a BBQ side, or use this recipe to meal prep your lunch.
Sometimes I still can’t believe I didn’t eat strawberries when I was small. Now I can eat a pound by myself, no problems 😳
Whatever your thoughts on strawberries are (you love them, right??), I’m sure you’ll enjoy this salad just as much as we do!
Get the printable recipe for this Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing:
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt less if using table salt!
For the salad:
- 3 tablespoons almonds, chopped
- 1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
- 1 medium cucumber, washed and sliced
- 10 oz bag baby spinach
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
- To make the dressing, whisk all dressing ingredients together until smooth.
- To make the salad, carefully toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl with the finished dressing. Serve immediately.