Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

 Strawberry spinach salad with poppyseed dressing is one of our very favorite meals. As an added benefit it is also pretty healthy. With tweaks here and there it can fit most diets: Paleo, Whole30, THM, gluten-free and dairy-free.

I love soup, especially in the cold months, but once the trees start to bud and the first flowers break through, I start to crave salads. I make a lot of entree salads, and one of our very favorites is strawberry spinach poppyseed salad. It is one of the most requested meals I make. I was first introduced to it years ago by my sister-in-law's mother, and over the years I have modified it and made it my own. Strawberry season is upon us, and we will eat this many, many times over the next several months. 

This can be on the table in 30 minutes with a few efficiency tips I've come up with. To show you how easy this is I made a video! First, the order you do this in matters. I make bacon in the oven, and depending on how thick the bacon is and how hot your oven runs, this can take 20-30 minutes. I put the bacon in the oven first thing, and by the time it's ready, so is everything else.

Second, I use the pre-packaged rotisserie chicken from Costco for this salad. I used to grill chicken for this salad, but the grilled flavor tends to overpower the more delicate strawberries and other flavors. The chicken isn't the star of the show here, so you want a subtle flavor.

My third efficiency tip is I use my Blendtec blender to make the dressing. Back in the day when I had an Oster, I had to blend the dressing (and anything else) for 3 minutes. Ever since I got my Blendtec, I have to be careful not to over blend and make mayonnaise and pulverize the poppy seeds. It takes less than 30 seconds to blend. I love my Blendtec. I've had it for 5 years, and my only regret is not buying it sooner. I use it at least twice a day. You can get one here (this is a killer deal!) or a refurbished one here.  

On top of it tasting incredible, this salad is also easy to adapt to a lot of different dietary needs. It is gluten-free, can be dairy-free if you leave off the cheese, Paleo, THM, you name it. Also, if you do top it with a poached egg, the rich yolk can take the place of the poppy seed dressing so you don't have the sugar. As long as your strawberries are excellent, that is all the sweetness you need. That makes it work for Whole30.

The other items I'm using in the video include this bamboo cutting board, this knife, kitchen shears, and bowl.

 

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
Spinach
Strawberries
Bacon
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (the good stuff. Nothing from a green can. Please.)
Rotisserie or poached chicken

Optional toppers: poached eggs, candied almonds or pecans, avocados

Poppy seed dressing
2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/3 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup salad oil (I use light olive oil)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated dried onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons mustard (your choice– we usually use Dijon or Country Mustard)

Emulsify everything but the poppy seeds in a blender. Add the poppy seeds and blend a little longer. Honestly the type of blender will determine how long you need to blend this. If you have a regular blender blend for 2-3 minutes. If you have a Blendtec try the dressings setting or maybe a little less time. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

I love to serve this with a loaf of crusty bread.

 

Are you excited for fresh produce and salads like I am? 

 

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