This Strawberry Spinach Salad is pretty as a picture. The Basil Dressing and Sweet, Spicy Glazed Pistachios are the crowning glory!
This Strawberry Spinach Salad just seems to scream "SPRING and SUMMER". With fresh strawberries, crunchy cucumber flowers and a fabulous Lemon Basil Poppy Seed Dressing, it's as delicious as it is pretty!
This combination of strawberries and spinach is nothing new. In fact, if you google "Strawberry Spinach Salad", you'll come up with 3,380,000 results! Yikes! After seeing that, I decided to go with a few features that would set this salad apart from the others.
The Lemon Basil Poppyseed Dressing is definitely a unique and flavorful complement to the sweet strawberries and tender, baby spinach.
And taking a few extra minutes to make cucumber flowers, in lieu of regular sliced cucumbers, makes this salad extra pretty. If you're in a hurry, you can also add make the cucumbers stand out by simply running a fork down the sides before slicing. Check out what I mean in this Blueberry Arugula Herb Salad.
The ingredient list for this Strawberry Spinach Salad also includes slivers of red onion and a handful of dried cranberries. Speaking of cranberries; do you ever reach for a bag of dried cranberries and find them hard and super dry? There's an easy little trick in the recipe to plump them right back up - in minutes!
Simply put them in a small (heat-resistant) bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let them sit in the hot water for 5-10 minutes, then drain well. Voila! Soft, moist cranberries! My mom would have described it as "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear". This also works well with raisins, dates, really any dried fruit.
One final delicious touch for this Strawberry Spinach Salad is the Sweet, Spicy Glazed Pistachios. They add just a hint of savory spice to this wonderful salad.
So when you see pretty strawberries at the market, be sure to pick up a bag of baby spinach too and any other ingredients you might be missing. Make this Strawberry Spinach Salad... and if you listen really carefully, you might just hear it screaming "SPRING or SUMMER!".
Café Tips for making this Strawberry Spinach Salad
- If you can't find pretty baby spinach, arugula would also be delicious as a base for this salad.
- There are several other Café dressings that would pair nicely with this strawberry spinach salad. This Sweet and Spicy Mango Dressing, this Orange Cilantro Vinaigrette or this Lemon Ginger Poppyseed Dressing would also be delicious!
- The cucumber flowers are easy to make, but if you're in a hurry, just slice up some cucumbers. As mentioned above, if you have just one extra minute, you can just run a fork down the sides to create another really pretty look.
- You may not use all of the pistachios for this salad, but the ones you don't use will make a delicious snack or cocktail nibble.
- You can prepare all the ingredients for this salad in advance. Just keep them separate and toss right before serving.
- Golden raisins in lieu of the dried cranberries are also delicious in this Spinach Strawberry Salad.
- Look for shelled pistachios. If you can't find unsalted pistachios just skip the salt in the recipe.
- If you're in a hurry, toasted pecans are also delicious in this salad. To toasted pecans, simply place them in a small pan and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently until fragrant and golden.
Thought for the day:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a rating and review! It's so helpful to other readers to hear other's results and ideas for variations.
This Strawberry Spinach Salad is pretty as a picture. The Lemon Basil Poppyseed Dressing and Sweet, Spicy Glazed Pistachios are the crowning glory!
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 cup pistachios
- 10 ounces baby spinach
- 12 ounces fresh strawberries quartered
- 1 cup sliced cucumber flowers or plain sliced cucumbers
- ⅓ small red onion thinly sliced
- Lemon Basil Dressing
For the dried cranberries:
Combine dried cranberries and water in a small microwave-safe bowl or cup. Place in microwave and cook on high power for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave, stir with a fork and set aside to cool, uncovered. (If you don't have a microwave, simply pour 2 teaspoons of boiling hot water into the cranberries and stir. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.)
Place a piece of foil, approximately 1½ feet long, on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub with some oil and a paper towel.
Combine honey, chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside
Melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add pistachios and stir for 1-2 minutes or until pistachios smell fragrant.
Add the honey mixture and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes until nuts are golden honey is reduced and coating the nuts.
Remove from heat and transfer pistachios to the prepared foil. Spread apart as much as possible with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.
These pistachios can be prepared a few days in advance. After cooling store in an airtight container.
In a large serving bowl, toss together spinach, ¾ of the strawberries, ¾ of the cucumbers and all of the red onion. Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the Lemon Basil Dressing and toss again.
Top salad with remaining strawberries, cucumbers, the plumped cranberries and a generous sprinkle of the Sweet and Spicy Pistachios. Serve immediately with additional dressing on the side.
See Café Tips above in post for additional instructions and tips.
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Susan Prillman says
Made this salad with the basil dressing as we hosted salad for our church progressive dinner. It was a big hit! Those pistachios are addictive!
Chris Scheuer says
The pistachios are addictive! Thanks so much, Susan, for sharing your results! So happy everyone enjoyed this salad!
I made the strawberry and spinach salad for a family dinner last weekend. Loved making the cucumber flowers! The salad and dressing were delicious, but had trouble with the pistachios. They came out too sticky, so I just used lightly salted pistachios instead. I made half a recipe of the pistachios , because I didn't need a large amount. Maybe that was the problem. Any suggestions? Everyone loved the salad. Thanks for thee recipe.
Chris Scheuer says
I would try cooking them just a little longer. So happy you enjoyed the salad!
Julie Ann Ivanov says
I’m making this next Wednesday! A few friends are coming over for lunch and they chose this recipe of yours. It looks fabulous. I’ll let you know what they think.
Chris Scheuer says
John / Kitchen Riffs says
Those cucumber flowers are really cute! And I love strawberries in salads. They combine particularly well with spinach, I think. Terrific recipe -- thanks.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
This happens to be one of my favorite spring salads Chris! Looks fantastic!
Still so cold and awful here for a salad meal..I just can't wait.Thank you!
Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers says
Absolutely perfect salad! And since it's snowing outside my window at the moment, I'm soaking in all the bright colours and freshness big time 🙂
Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert says
I love this beautiful salad Chris. I cannot wait to pick fresh strawberries in early May. They are perfect with spinach and this gorgeous vibrant dressing! Come on spring 🙂 Hope you had a lovely birthday!
Sandra L Garth says
This is a definite show stopper! The ingredients are perfectly paired to deliver the best taste ever, and the visual appeal is off the charts.
I make a lot of strawberry spinach salads in the summer and this one will be tried soon! I love the sound of the glazed pistachios and I've already tried your pretty flower cucumbers 🙂
sue | theviewfromgreatisland says
I love everything about this salad, but most of all, that DRESSING!
Hi Chris, It was great to receive this fabulour recipe after saving the dressing recipe a week or so ago. How long do you leave the pistachio's to cool and would they store for use later or a snack?
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Jodie-Anne, thanks so much. Allow the pistachios to cool for 15-20 minutes, then store in an airtight container. I've kept mine for a few days and they were great. Enjoy!
Benita Temple says
Love this salad. Delicious! Thanks so much!
Abbe@This is How I Cook says
You do know how to do salad! Love the pistachios!
Laura | Tutti Dolci says
So pretty, Chris! What a dream spring salad!
I made this salad for dinner tonight. I probably won’t make it again as my husband was not a fan. A first of all we did not like the pistachios. I think candied pecans would be better. Then even though we had garden spinach, both the strawberries and cucumber were grocery store and just not very flavorful. I don’t think the cranberries go with the freshness of the strawberries and cucumber. However, I loved the dressing and will continue to use and make this. I have tried some of your other recipes, like your flour tortillas, and everything has been great!
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Jennifer, I agree, candied pecans would also be wonderful in this salad, especially if you're not a fan of pistachios. So sorry your grocery store ingredients were not up to par. Although definitely not as good as fresh-out-of-the-garden, we loved this salad with produce from our market.
So happy you enjoyed the dressing!
I love everything about this stunning salad---your cucumbers, the dressing and those divine pistachios. I am not sure any would make it into the salad as they look way too tempting not to nibble on!
Love the combo of all fresh produce and that green goodness dressing is just heavenly!