Thursday, January 7, 2010

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Getting on the scale after the holidays is never fun. Ever. Starting with Thanksgiving, the calories tend to add up quickly with rich, carb-filled meals, family gatherings, parties, cookies, pies and treats. We rationalize the consumption, telling ourselves it's only once a year.

Eating salads for dinner two or three nights a week helped my husband and I get back on track. This strawberry salad has been a favorite in my family for over a decade and is often requested for birthday dinners. The recipe isn't unique but the list of ingredients have been adjusted over the years to appeal to my family's taste buds.

In case you didn't already know (quoting from Wikipedia here), "Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A (and lutein), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach. It is a source of folic acid (Vitamin B9), and this vitamin was first purified from spinach." No wonder Popeye was so strong!

Years ago, I found a wonderful dressing in a local Junior League cookbook that that works perfectly with spinach. It has a nice balance of sweet and tart.

If it's reckoning time for you and your scale, I hope you give this salad a try for dinner one night. It also pairs well with grilled chicken, salmon or beef tenderloin.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Serves 6-8
Printable Recipe

3-4 large bunches of spinach
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 pint of fresh strawberries
8 oz of fresh button mushrooms
2 avocados

Wash spinach in a sink full of clean water by swishing around. Snap all the leaves off stems with your fingers and drain in a colander.

To toast the almonds, spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350 oven for about 5-7 minutes, watching carefully not to let them burn.

Clean strawberries and mushrooms and slice thinly into a bowl.

To assemble salad place first four ingredients into a very large salad bowl (sometimes I pull out my super large aluminum just to toss the salad then I serve it in a salad bowl). Slice the avocados and add them to the bowl. Pour enough dressing over the salad to coat lightly, toss and serve. Start with about 1/2 cup of dressing if you are making the entire recipe, toss and add more dressing, if necessary.


Another tasty version of this salad can be made by using cooked and crumbled crispy bacon, sliced hard boiled eggs, and toasted almonds. Use the same dressing below.

North Shore Dressing
Adapted from Be Our Guest

2/3 cup sugar
punch salt
4-5 green onions, using a little of the light green part
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup ketchup
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup vegetable Oil

In food processor or blender combine all ingredients. Process until smooth.


  1. Looks and sounds good. I love a good salad, but don't eat them very often when it is so cold.

  2. Lovely salad, Susan! And yes, I agree...we're all watching what we eat for a while. But I sure did have a good time while it lasted!

  3. Yes, at Linderhof, we're watching as well -- not so many salad meals as just not a lot of baked desserts -- more fruit and more vegetables and less carbs.

    Your salad looks great and that dressing looks interesting!

  4. The salad look so good but the red cabbage plate with the MC check is more appealing to me then the food! Stunning :)

    I will bookmark this recipe and hope to try it soon as I am definitely facing holiday reality!

  5. Forgot to add how much I love the new header photo! Just gorgeous :)

  6. You don't have to twist my arm to eat a salad and yours looks divine. Are those Mckensie-Childs b&w chargers??? love them either way!

  7. I love this salad also - I use little different variations but the spinach and almonds are the base!

    The photos are fantastic - live the red and MC check...makes the salad that more inviting!

  8. Here too we love it..and guess where I first got the recipe for the NS dressing ? Toi!

    Look at Prince Charming:)Be still my heart~

  9. I love the header on your blog and the salad looks good too.That's what I need more salads less sugar!

  10. I love Spinach salad but it has to be BABY leaves..I am fussy!
    Glad you are feeling better!

  11. Susan, I love your new header and enjoy seeking a peak at your cookbook collection.

    I, too, love strawberry and spinach salads. Yours looks delicious. It definitely doesn't hurt that you served it on your gorgeous red plates and the M-C chargers.

  12. Susan, your salad would be delightful, whether I was dieting or not.

    I do try to watch what I eat, because with two men in the house, my food tends to disappear whenever I turn around, so I've learned not to turn around.

    And the scale is hiding somewhere in the basement—I think it's afraid of me.

    So if you don't mind, please pass me some of your salad...with a side of Prince Charming.

  13. This is a different kind of spinach/strawberry salad then what I expected and it sounds so good!

    I, too, have decided to get back into my workout mode and so far so good but we'll see if I keep it up. This winter is so brutal, it will be easy to blame not working out on the weather...darn!

  14. Oh, my, does this looks good! I wish we could get fresh strawberries here in January. We have the spinach, though, and some really nice oranges. I think I may play around with this...THANKS!

    I'm glad you're feeling better.

  15. I totally know what you mean...I cringe every time I think about getting on the scale. but day by day, I'm working on it.

    Fabulous salad! I love strawberry/spinach combos.

  16. So glad to hear you are feeling better. Love the salad, it looks similar to one that I fell in love with and use often. What's better motivation to lose weight than fresh vegetables and friuts mixed with a great dressing? Perfect post!

  17. With salads like that, I am sure you will feel tiptop in no time!!! I am afraid we are also in salad mode around here after the holidays!!!

  18. Thank you all, my friends!

    The answer to your question, Carole, is Yes. I've been slowly collection MC pieces for a few years.

    With the outside landscape looking very white and monotone these days, green and red in my kitchen and on my plate helps lift the spirits too :)

  19. I should be eating salads like this too after allthe feasts. Looks so good!

  20. Definitely time for the salads for us. I really love strawberry spinach salad and the dressing sounds perfect. As always, lovely pics, Susan.

  21. Its beautiful salads like this that make you want to diet! :-)


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