Healthier spinach and strawberry salad

Less fat and sugar but all the flavour!

Back in the 1980s, it seemed every other day someone was offering me a spinach and strawberry salad. From dinner parties to restaurants to food courts, they were everywhere! Unfortunately, they were also typically packed with calories, thanks to dressings loaded with white sugar and heaping helpings of cheese on top. Another quibble I had was that most recipes also included sliced raw red onion, of which I am not a fan. I decided to rework the classic spinach and strawberry salad into something healthier for modern times and this new version is truly delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) poppy seeds
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) canola oil
  • 4 cups (1 L) washed spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sliced mushrooms
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Method

  • Cook the shallots in the vinegar for 30 seconds on high power in the microwave (or boil for 30 seconds in a very small pot on the stove).
  • Transfer shallots and vinegar to a 1 cup (250 mL) glass jar with a tight lid.
  • Add maple syrup, Dijon, salt, pepper and poppy seeds. Cover jar and shake well to blend.
  • Add canola oil and shake again; taste and adjust maple syrup, salt and pepper to suit your preferences. Put dressing in the refrigerator until needed.
  • In a large bowl, combine spinach leaves (chopped into bite-sized pieces if they are large) with strawberries, mushrooms and walnuts. If not serving immediately, refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  • When ready to serve, drizzle the salad with 2/3 of the dressing and toss gently. You want the spinach leaves to be thoroughly coated but there should not be a puddle of dressing at the bottom of the bowl. Add more dressing, a teaspoon (5 mL) at a time, as needed.
  • Top with sliced hard boiled eggs and serve immediately.

Serves 2; recipe can easily be multiplied.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.

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