Scrumptious Strawberry Pecan Spinach Salad
This Healthy & Delicious Strawberry Pecan Spinach Salad combines fresh spinach, sweet strawberries, toasted pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, and a tasty poppy seed dressing for a great side dish or easy lunch!
This is the easiest and tastiest salad dressing I have ever made. All the flavors compliment each other perfectly and it will help you avoid the salad dressings that NO ONE should eat if they want to be fit and healthy.
We love the flavor contrasts of this salad – the tang of the vinegar and mustard against the sweetness of the sugar, strawberries and pecans, I grated 1/2 an onion into the dressing and it was the perfect amount. We sometimes add blue cheese to the salad as well.
Let’s be honest, anyone can put spinach and strawberries together, but what really takes this salad to the next level is the poppy-seed dressing. It is simply outstanding, and also as easy as combining the ingredients in a jar and shaking them up. I like to make the dressing in advance of the salad so the flavors have extra time to blend (be sure to give the dressing at least 30 minutes to blend). Then, just give it a final shake to recombine before pouring over the rest of the salad.
The salad dressing is a combination that is still sweet and delicious but lower in oil and sugar because it is far less dressing overall. If you would like to lighten things up, make the dressing with 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 tsp. poppy seeds, Gorgonzola cheese, 1/4 t. ground mustard, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Just 2 Tablespoons of this dressing per serving will deliver all the sweetness and flavor without all the calories. You could also substitute agave nectar or honey for the sugar although this will change the flavor slightly.
The recipe includes steps for toasting raw pecans in a dry skillet for extra flavor. You may skip this step if you purchase roasted pecans.
Strawberry Pecan Spinach Salad Ingredients
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
- 1 tsp. dried mustard
- 1 tsp. salt
- 12 oz. baby spinach
- 16 oz. strawberries, sliced
- 1 c. whole raw or roasted pecans
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, sugar, poppy seeds, Gorgonzola cheese, mustard, and salt. Shake vigorously and allow flavors to blend at room temperature, at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add raw pecans and toast until fragrant, about 5-10 minutes. Stir often to prevent scorching. Remove from skillet to cool. If using roasted pecans, omit this step.
- Combine spinach, strawberries, and pecans in a large bowl.
- About 15 minutes before serving, shake the dressing vigorously to recombine. Pour over salad and toss until evenly coated.