A super simple strawberry and avocado spinach salad with a creamy poppyseed dressing and candied pecans.
Aaaaaaand we are back in the US of A! Sorry for the little bit of absence on the blog. We ended up last minute changing our flight and coming home earlier than planned on since the husband’s work study ended a bit early. In a few hours the flight was changed, we packed everything up, said our good-byes, and we started our nearly 30-hour journey back.
I’ll admit, coming out to Perth was a lot easier than returning to the States with the babe. He was a bit of a handful on our long flight from Sydney to L.A. but overall he did pretty great all things considered. I mean traveling for 30 hours isn’t too exciting for anyone I’m sure, especially not a BUSY 19-month old little boy.
We are still all crazy jet-lagged and working towards adjusting to mountain time! Hopefully we’ll be moving into our place in the next week or so and things will be getting settled down a bit. I’m pretty excited to get all of our stuff out of the storage unit its been in for the last three months!
But enough about me, how are you all doing?! It’s been surprisingly WARM since we’ve been back which has really surprised me. Is it warm where you are at? I was preparing to freeze a little bit, but this is a pleasant surprise!
Along with the nice weather, gorgeous and ripe and delicious-tasting strawberries are another pleasant surprise. Wow they are good right now!! And avocados? YUM. I love the smooth texture of the avocados along with the strawberries – totally delicious. A perfectly ripe avocado really makes this salad. And in a way it also makes it creamy – at least the bites with the avocado in them – definitely a creamy type of texture.
The candied pecans add a nice crunch to the salad. Don’t be worried about them taking forever to finish. They are an easy three ingredients done in a skillet on the stove-top. No oven is necessary! All you do is melt butter and then coat the pecans in the melted butter. After that they get some brown sugar mixed in and then get slightly caramelized in the skillet. Lay ’em out to dry and they will be ready to get tossed in the salad.
I personally love feta cheese, but another great combo with this salad is blue cheese. At the restaurant I used to work at there is an extremely popular spinach salad. It has spinach (obvs.), strawberries, dried pears, candied nuts, and blue cheese. Since I like feta significantly more than I like blue cheese, that’s what I used, but definitely try whichever you like best!
You can also add in some grilled chicken to this salad and call it a meal. Even some grilled steak would be pretty tasty if you are looking for a protein-filled salad!
And finally, let’s talk dressing. I love a good and creamy poppyseed dressing! This one whips up super quick – all the ingredients just get blended together and then you whisk in the poppyseeds. It’s pretty healthy with an olive oil based mayo, olive oil, and Greek yogurt. Be careful with any substitutions and I wouldn’t recommend using a low fat mayo or omitting the sugar. Dressings can sometimes be to individual tastes, so taste the dressing and slightly adapt it if needed to your taste preference before mixing it into the spinach. You may want to add a bit more sugar if you like things sweeter or a little more vinegar. You can also slightly thin the dressing with 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of water.
If you aren’t interested in making your own dressing, you can definitely pick up some poppyseed dressing at the store. Some other fun dressings to try would be a basalmic vinaigrette, a raspberry or strawberry vinaigrette, or really whatever you heart desires. <3
Strawberry and Avocado Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 2 cups strawberries stems removed and sliced
- 1 ripe large avocado diced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Stovetop Candied Pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Creamy Poppyseed Dressing
- 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise I used olive oil mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoons and 1/2 raspberry vinegar
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 3-4 teaspoons poppy seeds
On the stovetop over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the pecan halves until completely incorporated. Stir in the brown sugar and continue to stir until the nuts are fragrant and the sugar is sticking.
Remove from the stovetop and spread evenly on a wax paper-lined baking sheet to dry.
For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT for the poppyseeds in a blender or food processor. Pulse until combined. Taste and adjust to preference. Thin the dressing if desired with a tiny bit of water.
Stir in the poppyseeds. Store the dressing in the fridge in an airtight container until ready to serve the salad.
Meanwhile, remove the stems of the strawberries and slice. Remove the peel and pit of the avocado. Chop the avocado and then mix with the lemon juice to avoid browning.
Toss the strawberries and avocado with the spinach.
When ready to serve the salad, toss with the dressing. Stir in the feta cheese and dried candied pecans.
Recipe NotesThe dressing makes more than you will need for the salad. Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. This salad is best when it is dressed right before eating. It doesn't store well if dressed. I recommend dressing the salad and adding the cheese + pecans right before serving.
More salad recipes: