Salads are one of my favorite meals, year round, because they are so versatile. I never feel like I’m eating the same thing! You can mix up the greens, change the toppings and choose from a variety of dressings. When the warmer weather arrives I love adding fresh berries, like these organic strawberries in this Strawberry Spinach Salad.
Today, I’m sharing my recipe for how to make a spinach salad with fresh strawberries. This healthy salad consists of organic baby spinach, chopped leek, fresh sliced strawberries, glazed pecans and a balsamic-olive oil dressing.
Is Strawberry Spinach Salad Healthy
Any type of salad can be healthy, you just have to choose the right toppings. For instance, selecting add-ons like highly processed croutons, conventional cheese and deli meats, and dressings with a vegetable oil base and lots of added sugar will take a plate of leafy greens from healthy to unhealthy.
How to Build a Healthy Side Salad
To build a healthy salad, I always start with the base – what type of leafy green you want. Selecting organic greens is important to me because they are part of the “dirty dozen” and tend to be a highly sprayed crop. I also like to mix up the type of greens I use in order to get a variety. And, not just for my taste buds but to vary the nutritional content as well.
Next, select additional vegetables to add to the base. Any vegetable, raw or cooked can work in a salad. Some of my favorites include: carrots, cucumber, celery, raw leeks, red pepper and roasted broccoli.
After that, include some type of sweet or starchy carbohydrate. A few of my favorites include: fruit (fresh or dried), grain free crackers and baked sweet potato.
Lastly, add the fat! Fat is important for absorbing more nutrients in your meal (most vegetables contain fat-soluble vitamins) and keeping you satiated. My go-to healthy fat sources for a salad include avocado, nuts, pasture raised cheese (great if you do dairy) and dressings. For the dressing, try to find one without vegetable oils like canola oil. Select one that is either avocado oil based or olive oil based. Also, try to choose one with a low sugar content.
To make a salad into a full meal, add protein sources. Protein such as chicken, salmon, beef or eggs will transform a side salad into a full meal.
This simple salad can be made as a small side salad to serve 4 or topped with protein and served as a main meal (for 2). Proteins that pair well with it include: roasted chicken, pan fried salmon and grass fed steak.
I served this balsamic Strawberry Spinach Salad as a side dish and added avocado. (For how to make an avocado rose see THIS post.) I used my Paleo friendly Spicy Honey Glazed Pecans but they may be substituted for any flavored pecan.
This is a great summer side dish and the salad will stay good a couple hours prior to eating. Although, I recommend serving within 30 minutes of making.Print
Healthy Spinach Salad topped with strawberries, spicy honey glazed pecans, chopped raw leek and a balsamic-olive oil dressing. Great as a side salad to serve 4 or topped with protein and served as a main meal for 2.
- 4 cups lightly packed organic baby spinach
- 10 organic strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup Spicy Honey Glazed Pecans
- 1/3 cup chopped leek
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Add spinach and chopped leek to large mixing bowl.
- Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil, then mix using salad tongs.
- Transfer to serving bowl.
- Add sliced strawberries and pecans*
- Serve and eat!
*I arranged the strawberries and pecans rather than mixing them in for a more aesthetic look. You may do that or add them to the serving bowl and then gently mix all ingredients using salad tongs.
Keywords: salad, side dish, vegan, egg free, no added sugar