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Back when we were still boyfriend and girlfriend living in our first place together, my husband and I used to frequent this cute little place called Pairings Food & Wine near our house. The menu was always changing because they used fresh, seasonal ingredients. Every spring and summer, they offered an amazing strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing, almonds, and goat cheese.
We were totally hooked on the combination. It was yet another reason for me to be excited for the warm days each year. There’s just something about a spinach salad with strawberries that goes together so perfectly. We’d meet there after work, order the salad to share, along with a couple of bunless burgers, and sit out on the patio talking about everything and anything.
Recreating that strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing has been at the back of my mind for years now. When I finally did, those memories came flooding back. It’s amazing how our secondary senses, like taste or smell, can bring back memories so vividly.
This gorgeous strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing is my recreation of the one we used to love at Pairings. That one had a sweet dressing and no doubt had sugar, but this one is totally sugar-free and low carb friendly. It still tastes just as delicious. Pinky promise. (And, if you don’t want sugar-free, you can always use any sweetener you like.)
This strawberry spinach salad recipe is pretty customizable for those with food allergies. You can omit the almonds if nuts are a problem, or throw in sunflower seeds instead to maintain the crunch.
The goat cheese really rounds out the flavors in this one, but if you can’t have dairy or want to make it paleo, it’s totally doable. The salad is still quite good even without the goat cheese. The poppy seed dressing and juicy strawberries are really the best parts, anyway.
Erythritol can be replaced with coconut sugar for a truly paleo option if you prefer, though to me erythritol can still qualify since it’s a natural sweetener. Otherwise, like I mentioned before, you don’t have to make it sugar-free if you don’t want to. If that’s not important, maple syrup or honey work well as other natural sweetener options.
Basically, this recipe is super flexible. Even if you need to make some adjustments, you can’t go wrong when it comes to a spinach salad with strawberries. The basic combination is both delicious and versatile. Personally, I find no substitutions necessary.
I think I’ve already made three or four recipes with fresh strawberries this week alone. Not all of them were blog-worthy, but the ones that were… oh wow, I just can’t wait to share them with all of you! Get ready, because there are more strawberry recipes to come. This strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing was just the beginning. Happy Strawberry Season, everyone.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (Low Carb, Gluten-free):
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Want more low carb, gluten-free ideas for spinach? Try these: