Strawberries are a favorite berry of mine, and many desserts feature strawberries, such as this strawberry shortcake with mascarpone cream, but not many entrées feature the red berry. While I was on the hunt for a tasty and simple salad, I came across a recipe in my old church cookbook from my friend Linda. I loosely adapted the recipe, omitting ingredients I thought to be filler and simplified it to limit fat and calories.
Originally, the almonds were sauteed in butter, which I can imagine would be delicious. I didn’t want to add more sweetness nor more oil by using butter, so I opted to toast the almonds in the oven, which gave a smoky flavor to the salad. Linda’s recipe called to toast the almonds under low heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Impatient as I am when I’m excited about a dish, I spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and placed them under the broiler for a minute. This is what gives the almonds a smoky flavor. I also removed the sesame seeds in the original recipe and added poppy seeds to accentuate the lemon in the dressing. The result is this vibrant and healthy strawberry and spinach salad with toasted almonds.
The lemon zest and juice in the dressing compliment the strawberries more than I imagined. I thought they would certainly clash in taste, but they work very well together. Strawberries dressed in vinegarette is an exquisite combination, so the dressing of vinegar and oil with lemon and sugar mirrors that fusion. The toasted almonds add a meaty, almost smoky essence. The tartness of the lemon and strawberries with the sweetness of the onion and cucumber marry beautifully, and your palate will appreciate the variety this salad offers. This is a mix of flavors that tricks the mind into thinking you’re eating a hearty meal of meat and veggies with a healthier bearing.
If you try this recipe, leave a comment and rate it. Add your photos to social media and tag #southerncooked. I’d love to see your creation. Bon appétit, my friends!
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds
Yield 3 bowls
A refreshing and gluten-free salad with strawberries, spinach, toasted almonds, cucumbers, onions, and a deliciously tangy dressing. Perfectly sweet, tender, and healthy.
- 1/4 cup sliced natural almonds, toasted
- 8 ounces strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 medium cucumber, sliced and cut in half
- 1/4 small red onion, sliced into thin slices
- 1 (6-ounce) package Baby spinach
- 1 Lemon
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil for 1 minute until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and cool.
- Cut the tops off strawberries and cut into quarters. Score lengthwise, remove seeds if desired, cut in half, and slice thinly.
- Slice onion into thin slices.
- Place spinach in a large serving bowl; add strawberries, cucumbers, and onion.
- Whisk salad dressing over salad, gently tossing to coat. Sprinkle almonds over salad.
- Zest lemon to measure 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Juice lemon to measure 2 Tablespoons juice. Combine zest, juice, vinegar, sugar, oil, and poppy seeds.
- Whisk until blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
Substitutions: Frozen strawberry slices will work well as a substitutions for fresh strawberries when not in season.
Serving Size 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 10.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.4 g
Sodium 49 mg
Total Carbohydrates 35.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.5 g
Sugars 28.3 g
Protein 4.8 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.