I do love strawberry season here in Florida. Strawberries are a cool weather crop, and strawberry season usually runs from December through March depending on the weather and temperature. Right now Florida spring strawberries are still in most markets. By late March and early April the US markets switch back to California strawberries. If you live in an area that doesn’t have good fresh strawberries in the local stores yet, pin this recipe for the summer when you can eat fresh local spinach and strawberries.
Over the years I have shared several strawberry salads. I mean, what is better than a fresh strawberry married to fresh leafy greens? Today’s salad starts with fresh spinach. I’m a huge fan of baby spinach, but really all spinach leaves work well in a salad. Last month I talked about how healthy spinach is, today let’s review a few strawberry facts. Strawberries are bright red, juicy, and sweet. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and also contain decent amounts of folate (vitamin B9) and potassium. Strawberries are very rich in antioxidants and plant compounds, which may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control. Like most fruits, strawberries do contain sugar (about 8.12 mg of sugars per cup). Do keep this in mind when you are planning your meals. I agree with the medical professionals who say “eat a rainbow.” Bright colored fruits and vegetables should play a major role in your diet. Note of Warning: Strawberries are a soft fruit which can contain pesticide residue. Even if you do not eat organic, strawberries are a fruit you should definitely buy organic.
Today’s salad starts with baby spinach, sliced fresh strawberries, and slivers of almonds. Add a great vinaigrette with poppy and sesame seeds and you have a tasty, healthy dish to start your meal or to eat for lunch. I like trying different vinegars for a fresh taste on my salads, but if you have a favorite vinaigrette, feel free to use it. Do not slice the strawberries and add to salad until just before serving. Serve the salad dressing on the side or add and toss just before serving to avoid a wilted salad. Variations include adding sliced red onions, adding feta cheese, replacing strawberries with other FRESH fruit like apples or pear slices, and replacing the almonds with other nuts like pecans. Below pecans bits worked beautifully with the spinach strawberry salad.
Spinach Strawberry Salad
Use organic when available, makes 4 to 6 servings
- 10 oz. baby spinach or fresh spinach washed, dried, & torn in bite-size pieces
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, clean, hulled and sliced
- 1/4 cup almonds sliced or slivered
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until incorporated
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all salad ingredients
- Add dressing
- Toss to combine
- Serve immediately
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