Veg Head Monday: Spinach Salad with Nuts and Berries

August 1, 2010

Yeah, yeah, I know.  This salad is absolutely nothing that you haven’t seen before. I mean, heck, you can get strawberry and spinach salad at freaking Panera Bread nowadays.

Still, I’d forgotten how scrumptious this old country club relic is, particularly if the strawberries are lush little crimson juice-bombs like they are now.

Grill up some chicken or fish and serve this salad alongside. Believe me, the salad will steal the thunder. And, if you are like me, you can love up on that salad so much that you don’t need the meat–I damn near ate my weight in it.

I was feeling racy, so I tossed in some blueberries and some sugar-glazed, spicy pecans. Let’s just give that idea a herky and a hi-five.  Caramelized nuts and salty feta and juicy berries? Sign me up.

The icing on the cake? This salad dressing. I honestly don’t like poppy seed dressing (*cringing as you throw rocks*). It’s too sweet, in my opinion, especially for a salad like this.  The champagne vinaigrette here provides just the right mild, savory kiss to keep this salad perfectly balanced.

Serve this on a warm day to someone you love and I promise you, you’ll make Popeye proud.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

serves 4-6 good eaters

4 cups of baby spinach, washed and spun dry

1 cup ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced

1/2 cup ripe blueberries

1/2 cup sweet red onion, sliced paper-thin

1 cup purchased spiced/glazed nuts (I used pecans)

2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

dash of salt and generous twist of freshly ground black pepper

Champagne viniagrette:

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1/2 teaspoon sugar, honey or agave nectar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together until emulsified. Taste, and if the dressing is too acidic, add a splash of water.

For salad: Toss all ingredients together and add vinaigrette to taste. Serve immediately.

!!!**!!! I’m going to be scarce for a bit; I leave on a jet plane for NYC at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, will visit a bit with friends and then will nervously (but enthusiastically) churn my way through the weekend at BlogHer. I hope to meet a bunch of my favorite women, eat some awesome food and learn a few new skills. I hope you will bear with me; you can bet I’ll have some good stuff to share when I get back home.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryan August 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

The salad sounds great! Been done or not I do like this one. Travel safely!


Corinne August 1, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Can’t wait to hopefully see you in NYC :)


Heather August 1, 2010 at 6:45 pm

A classic is never a bad thing to share! This is on of my FAVORITES! And I make my own pecans to go in it so I can spice them up any way I like:) Have a safe journey to NYC and enjoy!


Shelley August 2, 2010 at 3:01 am

Yum – definitely a winner, this!


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon August 2, 2010 at 5:04 am

Kitch, hope you’re getting excited about being on this side of the country for a few days. Sorry that I won’t be there to see you in real life. Can’t wait to read all about BlogHerPalloza.

P.S. That’s a fine looking salad on your blog today.


Erica@PinesLakeRedhead August 2, 2010 at 5:46 am

Mmmm! Mmmm! Mmmmm!
Now, am I supposed to use the GOOD champagne vinegar?

I wish I could meet you (and all the other fabulous bloggers) at BlogHer. But, alas, I didn’t plan ahead. Travel safe!


Lyndsey August 2, 2010 at 6:59 am

This looks awesome! It’s always better when you can make it at home the way you like it!

Have a great time on your trip. I wish I could run into you at BlogHer, maybe one day I’ll make it. Looking for your report! :D


Phoo-d August 2, 2010 at 7:40 am

I love spinach and strawberries together. Nordies used to have a mixed berry chicken salad in their cafe that is to this day one of my favorite salads. Can’t wait to see you in 48 hours!


Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point August 2, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I LOVE this! So simple, pretty, healthy and yummy! Lstely I haven’t been dressing my salads so this may taste as good as it looks as is.

Have a great time at Blog Her!


~Laura August 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm

This salad sounds great! I am a poppyseed dressing hater also. So, looking forward to trying your vinegarette. Sooo jealous that your going to BlogHer. Have a great time and report back to us!


Gale August 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Have a terrific trip to NYC! Can’t wait to hear all about it when you get back.


kel August 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

yum!! that looks soooo good!


Cathy August 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Sounds delish. Have a great time in NYC. You will have so much fun.


Contemporary Troubadour August 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Have an awesome time in NYC, you brave woman! I have yet to pull together enough guts to attend one of these conferences. Perhaps in a year or two.

Our strawberries from the farmer’s market were so ripe, they started fermenting before we could get them home. Saving this recipe for next week, just before the parents arrive. I’ll need the treat.


grace August 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm

have fun in new yawk!
and wow, your particular take on this salad is gorgeous–bravo!


Futureblackmail August 2, 2010 at 4:11 pm

You had me until “spinach” and then I thought I would make it for my husband and then you had me again until “spun dry.” :)


elizabeth August 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm

GAH! I have my monster Where to Eat in NYC email for you (will send tomorrow AM) and your plans better include meeting up with me!


jc August 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Safe trip jetsetter!

NYC visit calls for a CHEESECAKE RECIPE!!! or CANOLI!!! or CLAM CHOWDER!!! DONUTS DONUTS DONUTS!!! I miss the delis and bakeries, the smell of fresh bread and hotdog vendors.


Stacia August 2, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Did you seriously make your own dressing for this salad?? And this is why I will never be Kitch. Sigh.

PS: Safe travels! Have a slice for me. =>


Chaya August 2, 2010 at 7:40 pm

The changes you made to this classic takes it to a whole new level. The next time, I plan to make spinach and strawberries, I must add the goodies that you did. I can only imagine what the feta and sweetened nut would do to it and the blueberries has that distinctive flavor. Oh, really good.

Would you consider linking this to My Meatless Mondays?


Paula August 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Enjoy your trip. Anxious to hear about it. Meanwhile, love your picture. Champagne viniagrette sound very interesting.


Ink August 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm

I just read yesterday in a novel that someone made spinach salad with strawberries for her friend. And I thought, wow, that sounds delicious. Then I saw your picture today and thought wow, maybe I should get MY friend to make me THIS! ;)

Have a wonderful time at BlogHer — very impressed that you’re going! Seems like just yesterday that you were starting out and now you’re such A Presence. Congrats, dearest! xoxo


The Curious Cat August 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

Sounds like a marvellous salad which I must try – we did your pears with pancetta here and they went down a storm with the guests – doing them again on wed! Have a wicked time in NYC! xxx


Emily August 3, 2010 at 10:24 am

Mmmm, I love spinach salads for one, and I also love nuts and berries with it. I recently posted a salad I made with raspberries, feta, and pine nuts. Mmmmm.


theUngourmet August 3, 2010 at 10:49 am

I never get tired of eating this salad. Yours is gorgeous and I love the sugar glazed spicy pecans! Have a great time in NY and say hello to Joanne for me! ;D


Mama Zen August 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

That looks divine!

Have fun at BlogHer!


Naptimewriting August 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Ah, HELL yeah! Spicy pecans indeed. Love this. I always find the strawberrys a bit slimy in this salad, esp. if cretins use the poppy seed nonsense. Love that yours has more acid, and blueberries, which stand up well to spinach.
Enjoy NYC. Jealous.


Christine LaRocque August 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

This is one of my summer FAVOURTES!! But I assure you mine is no where near as exciting as this one! I can’t wait to jazz mine up with all this good stuff. Of course it will have to wait until we are back from New York (woot!!) You should be hosting a suite and cooking. (Okay, no I didn’t really say that, but how I would love it). And when are you going to get published lady? Seriously, I am ALL OVER your cookbook.


Chaya August 3, 2010 at 6:02 pm

Thanks for taking me up on my request. This is one recipe, that for sure, I plan to make. When, the recipes are linked up to my blog, I always have them, at hand. Thanks for linking this up at My Meatless Mondays. Feel free to visit again and leave some more of your recipes.

If I make this soon, I will get back to you.


Amber August 3, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I think my husband and I have tastebuds that are not keeping up with the times. We do not like fruit mixed into our green salad…or chicken salad…or really anything that does not include a lot more fruit and some whip cream. Or, maybe that’s because of the poppyseed dressing. Too sweet for me as well.

Have a fabulous time at Blogher!!!


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best August 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

This is quite a sophisticated recipe. I’ve always adored the addition of strawberries with spinach and champagne vinaigrette. This looks delicious. I can’t wait to meet you!


soccermom August 4, 2010 at 11:10 am

Hey I wanted to ask do you have a good recipe for Zucchini and ricotti?

I saw one the other day but didnt write it down.
I know you always have amazing ones here to share. So I figured it couldnt hurt to ask. : )


velva August 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I was taken by the beauty of the salad, which looks fabulous but, the jet plane to NYC and a weekend with BlogHer is over the top. I know you are going to share all the great details with us.

Don’t forget to eat well and play hard.


Erin August 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm

I am usually not a fan of fruit with anything besides dessert… but some how spinach salad is always an exception! This sounds perfect, especially with the salty/spicy nuts.

Sounds like you have an exciting weekend coming up. Have fun, and come back to tell us all about it!


Camilla August 6, 2010 at 2:16 am

You would never see a salad like this in Australia….thanks for the memories, American’s kick out ass in the salad department!


Maria August 6, 2010 at 5:51 am

YUM! Have a fabulous time at BlogHer!


rebecca @ altared spaces August 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I hope you had a FABULOUS time!! And I’m sure we’ll hear about it. Please dish.

I think my mouth might be growing up because of late I’m like fruit in my salad. I think you are right…a sweet dressing, however, is too much. So I will try this one.

I was in Denver recently and ate at the Wyncoop Brewery. Have you ever had their Thai salad? And if so, can you talk to me about it and most especially the peanuts…


Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla August 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Okay, I’ve decided that your blog needs to have an order button so I can get some of this salad like right now! I’m with you on the poppy dressing, by the way. Hope you’re having fun at BlogHer!


faemom August 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I’ve never made salad dressing, but I’ll give it a try for this salad.


subWOW August 10, 2010 at 9:02 pm

By now you know I’m never gonna take advantage of any of the recipes on your blog. I don’t cook. Have nobody to cook for. I read your posts because, I don’t know, I just love “hearing” your voice. And even more priceless is that you said you were feeling racy. Haba haba.


Kelly August 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I have to ditto subWOW’s post (but you already knew that). Also, I didn’t know they made champagne vinegar! I’m a big fan of vinegar so now I must go in search.


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