Strawberry Mandarin Orange Tossed Salad

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This Strawberry Mandarin Orange Tossed Salad recipe is simple, satisfying and a family favorite. It’s also low in fat, which will satisfy your dietary needs.   Not only does a low-calorie salad sound like a great idea to fill your tummy, but when you combine its ingredients at the same time, you will be able to make a tossed salad for an entire family. It is an ideal recipe for making any dish that can be prepared easily but taste great.

Strawberry Spinach Salad {with Poppy Seed Dressing}

 Strawberry Spinach Salad brings fresh ingredients and pop of color to your table! Tossed with poppy seed dressing, this easy salad recipe can be served as a side dish or topped with chicken for a light meal. 

Hold onto your hat. This is a salad you’ll actually be EXCITED to eat! 

Look, I’m not usually the first person in the room to rave about salad. This Strawberry Spinach Salad, though? It’s worthy of all the praise I’m about to heap upon its leafy greens. 

The combination of fresh spinach with sweet strawberries and juicy mandarin oranges absolutely explodes with flavor! Add the sweet and sour dressing and a handful of crunchy almond slices and this salad is not only healthy–it’s downright crave-able!

SAVE THIS STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD TO YOUR FAVORITE 

Salad with strawberries and spinach make me think of breezy summer days and gardens overflowing with abundance. It’s totally perfect for the warmer weather, but I also love to make this salad in the depths of winter to give me a little morale boost (not to mention a nutritional boost!).
Sitting down to a brightly colored bowl of greens and berries is a great reminder that spring is coming. 

Whether you’re a total salad enthusiast or looking for new ways to enjoy your greens this year, you’re going to love this easy spinach salad with poppy seed dressing. 

What do I need?

One of my favorite things about this salad is that there are so many ways to customize it based on your taste preferences, or what’s in season. Here’s what I put in my basic strawberry spinach salad to start with:

  • Fresh spinach – Baby spinach leaves are my preference! 
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Mandarin oranges – The canned variety with juices drained.
  • Sliced almonds – Slivered almond pieces are perfect. 

The poppy seed dressing has these ingredients:

  • sugar
  • apple cider vinegar
  • poppy seeds
  • minced onion
  • paprika
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • canola oil 

I’ve also made this salad plenty of times with variations like fresh blueberries, walnuts or pecans. It’s so easy to mix it up so you never get bored. 

Can I add chicken or another protein?

Absolutely! Grilled chicken turns this spinach salad into a satisfying and healthy meal. You can even go the super easy route and pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to serve on top of this salad. 

I love goat cheese and if you do, too, you’ll find that it’s a delicious addition to spinach and strawberry salads. Feta cheese is another great option! 

Salad Recipes

Gone are the days of squeezing bottled dressing over wilted iceberg lettuce and calling it a salad. Spinach based salads are my go-to for quick and easy side salads these days. They just have so much more flavor and have more nutritional value, too.

Spinach and arugula are the main greens at play in this Couscous Chicken Salad. It’s loaded with bell peppers, mushrooms and feta too, then finished with a spicy paprika dressing.

 Greek Quinoa Chicken Salad makes a regular appearance on our lunch and dinner menus, especially in the summer. With or without the olives, the flavor is incredible.

What to serve with Strawberry Spinach Salad?

As a side dish, this spinach salad pairs perfectly with almost any main dish. It’s delicious served with Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken and a basket of Dinner Rolls for a Sunday dinner.

WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED FOR STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD?

When you’re ready to make this spinach and strawberry salad you’ll need:

  • Strawberries – hand picked or store bought.  Buy dark red ones if possible.  The darker the berry, the sweeter.
  • Mandarin oranges.  You can definitely use fresh peeled cuties.  However for quickness, I usually go with canned.
  • Pecans.  Plain, honey roasted or glazed all work great in this salad.
  • Baby Spinach
  • Poppy Seed Dressing
  • Chicken (optional)
  • Blue Cheese (optional)
  • Gorgonzola Cheese (optional)

WHAT DOES SPINACH DO TO THE BODY?

Spinach is chalk full of vitamins and nutrients that help keep your body running at full speed.  As a child I used to watch Popeye eat a can of spinach every time he needed strength. 

Though spinach can’t really give you Popeye strength it is a vegetable that can do wonders for your body.  This spinach strawberry pecan salad makes eating your spinach a little easier! Inside each leaf of spinach you’ll find:

  • Iron – Helps red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.  If you don’t have enough iron in your body you’ll become weak.  
  • Vitamin K – Helps with clotting your blood as well as regulating blood calcium levels. 
  • Magnesium – Helps with blood sugar levels, blood pressure and making bones.
  • Vitamin C – Helps with iron absorption, strengthens your body’s natural defenses, and also lowers high blood pressure. 
  • Vitamin A – Helps with vision, immune system and reproduction.
  • Manganese – Blood sugar regulation and helps decrease inflammation.  
  • Vitamin B2 – Breaks down protein, fats and carbohydrates.

Easy Strawberry Salad Recipe

You know me. I’m all about EASY recipes. Not just that, I get excited when an easy recipe tastes anything but ordinary, like this Easy Strawberry Salad recipe.

Sweet strawberries and fresh mandarin oranges add brightness to a mixed greens salad while the tangy poppy seed dressing and feta cheese balance it all out. Not only that, this beautiful plated salad is perfect for a ladies’ luncheon or summer dinner party.

I made a similar salad years ago that used the canned mandarin oranges, but last week I purchased a bag of Sunkist Gold Nugget variety mandarins to make this salad.

These mandarins have very bumpy skins. My husband almost threw them out because he thought they were bad! Not so! They’re seedless, peel easily, and are extremely sweet and juicy which is perfect for this salad recipe.

Ingredients for Easy Poppy Seed Dressing

Everything you need for this easy salad dressing is probably already in your pantry! Add the following ingredients (see exact measurements in the recipe card below) to a blender and pulse until the dressing is emulsified.

  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Low-fat mayonnaise
  • Poppy seeds
  • Onion powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Dry mustard

What does it mean to emulsify salad dressing?

Oil and vinegar naturally separate, so to make a dressing with a creamy texture, the two liquids must be completely blended together. Achieve this by slowly adding the olive oil in a slow stream to the other salad dressing ingredients while whisking briskly. You may also do it quickly in a blender by pulsing for just 15-20 seconds.  

a gold fork piercing a strawberry in a bowl of salad

You may like these Strawberry Salad recipe variations

  • Instead of La Choy rice noodles, garnish the salads with toasted almonds or sugared pecans.
  • If mandarin oranges are not available, substitute a can of mandarin oranges — just remember to drain the juice off first.
  • Make this salad a complete meal by adding grilled chicken.
  • Try strawberry salad with fresh pineapple slices or pink lady apple slices.
  • If you’re not a fan of Poppy Seed Dressing, substitute the dressing with a nice balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette.
  • Not a Feta cheese fan? Try using a mild goat cheese instead.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1gCalories: 533kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 10gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 814mgFiber: 7gSugar: 37g

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