Easy Spinach Salad

4.89

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This lovely spinach salad is topped with dried cranberries, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, avocado and a creamy balsamic dressing. Perfect as a side or topped with protein for a meal.

This easy spinach salad is a great salad recipe to have in your back pocket. It’s perfect for gatherings and honestly pairs with just about any main dish!

Plated spinach salad topped with avocado, goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts, onion and a drizzle of creamy balsamic dressing.

My grandma’s staple salad recipe is something very similar to this one. I switched up her recipe and used toasted walnuts in place of her candied pecans (to reduce the sugar content!) and used dried cranberries instead of fresh strawberries, because dried cranberries are always in season and one of my favorite salad toppers.

Spinach salad on a serving platter with cheese, nuts, onions and cranberries. Utensils, a bowl of walnuts and a jar of dressing are beside the tray.

Spinach Nutrition

If you’re new to using different greens in your salads (aside from iceberg and leaf lettuce) baby spinach is a great place to start.

It’s pretty mild in flavor with a slightly sweet taste.

Spinach is a powerhouse of a green and is loaded with a ton of health benefits. It’s low in carbs, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and is packed with vitamin C, K, folic acid, iron and calcium! It’s been linked to eye health, cancer prevention and blood pressure regulation.

Spinach salad on a serving platter with cheese, nuts, onions and cranberries.

Simple Spinach Salad Ingredients

Here’s what you need for this easy spinach salad:

  • baby spinach – I like using baby spinach for this salad. The leaves are smaller, more tender and more flavorful.
  • mini cucumbers – a normal cucumber will work here too, but I love the mini cucumbers because they’re seedless and so flavorful.
  • goat cheese – I love the creaminess of goat cheese, but feta cheese works as well. Or you can omit or use a vegan cheese option to make this dairy-free!
  • red onion – the perfect way to add a bit of flavor and crunch. You can use yellow onion if needed. 
  • dried cranberries – dried cranberries add a nice pop of sweetness and a bit of chewy texture.
  • avocado – this adds some healthy fat and creaminess to the salad.
  • walnuts – the toasted walnuts add a lovely crunch and nutty flavor.
  • creamy balsamic dressing – a super simple dressing made of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Greek yogurt, dijon mustard, honey, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Plated spinach salad topped with avocado, goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts, onion and a drizzle of creamy balsamic dressing.

How to Make Spinach Salad

That salad is a breeze to whip up. Here are the four simple steps!

Toast walnuts – Start by adding the walnuts to a small skillet over medium heat to toast. Let cook, tossing frequently for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and starting to brown. Keep an eye on these so they don’t burn! Remove from pan and let cool.

Make dressing – Make the creamy balsamic dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl until fully combined and creamy. You can also blend everything together in a blender or with an immersion blender

Prep salad – Prepare salad by adding spinach to a large bowl, top with cucumbers, goat cheese, onions, cranberries, toasted walnuts and sliced avocado. 

Serve – Drizzle dressing over salad, toss and serve. Once tossed in the dressing the salad doesn’t look as pretty so another option is to plate the salad and serve with dressing so everyone can add their own dressing.

Creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing being poured over a spinach salad.

What to Serve with Spinach Salad

This spinach salad is the perfect side salad to pair with just about any main dish! I love it for casual weeknight dinners, but it’s also fancy enough for holidays and special celebrations. Here are some pairing ideas:

Plated spinach salad topped with avocado, goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts, onion and a drizzle of creamy balsamic dressing.

Can You Prep this Spinach Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can prep the different components of this salad ahead of time and then assemble right before serving.

You can toast the walnuts, make the dressing and chop the cucumbers and onions in advance. Just store the perishable items in the fridge with the dressing in a separate container.

When it’s time to serve, simply toss the salad ingredients together with the dressing and enjoy!

Plated spinach salad topped with avocado, goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts and onion.

More Tasty Salad Recipes

More Spinach Recipes to Try

4.89 from 53 votes

Easy Spinach Salad with Creamy Balsamic

This lovely spinach salad is topped with dried cranberries, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, avocado and a creamy balsamic dressing. Perfect as a side or topped with protein for a meal.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients  

  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup sliced mini cucumbers
  • cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ½ cup sliced red onions
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup raw walnuts
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • fresh cracked pepper for serving
  • Creamy Balsamic Dressing
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • Toast walnuts: Add walnuts to a small skillet over medium heat to toast. Let cook, tossing frequently for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and starting to brown. Remove from pan and let cool.
  • Make dressing: Prepare dressing by whisking together all ingredients in a small bowl until fully combined and creamy. You can also blend everything together in a blender or with an immersion blender. 
  • Prep salad: Prepare salad by adding spinach to a large bowl, top with cucumbers, goat cheese, onions, cranberries, toasted walnuts and sliced avocado. Top with fresh cracked pepper. 
  • Serve: Drizzle dressing over salad, toss and serve. Once tossed in the dressing the salad doesn’t look as pretty so another option is to plate the salad and serve with dressing on the side so everyone can add their own dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of recipe | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 485mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 16g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: spinach salad
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About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, holistic nutritionist, health coach and personal trainer. Whether it’s for my meal plans, my favorite recipes or just because you want to feel good, I’m so happy you’re here.

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Recipe Rating




18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such a delicious salad! I didn’t have craisins or avocado, but it didn’t matter. Still yummy! I used less oil in the dressing and blended it in a mini food processor. Even my teenage kids (boy and girl) loved it! My son said that the yummy dressing and toasting the pecans made all the difference (I didn’t have walnuts). Who knew he’d notice a detail like that. Thank you for yet another family favorite!

  2. 5 stars
    Brittany, this is a great salad!! I halved it for two of us and used a whole avocado, but kept everything else the same. No need to change ANYthing!!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for a family get together and it was a hit! No leftovers at all. Avocados aren’t in season where I live, so I sliced some peaches into the salad and it was a delicious edition! Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!

    1. Yay!! Happy to hear this spinach salad was a success, Shevi! Love the peach substitution, sounds so refreshing. Thanks for the review!!

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. That dressing is incredible!!!! We’re excited to have it again already and we’re still washing dishes 🤣

    1. Ah yay! This makes me so happy to hear, Lisa. Thanks so much for trying it out and coming back to leave a review. It means so much to me!

  5. 5 stars
    I don’t know what I love most about this salad the dressing or all the textures. So many great flavors that all come together into a tasty, filling salad.

    1. Yay! So glad this recipe worked out for you. Thank you for taking the time to come back and leave a comment!

    1. YUM! Sounds delicious, Karen. I am excited to hear that you are loving this recipe! Thank you for your review & star rating, I really appreciate it!