Easy Spinach Salad

4.92

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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!

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

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4.92 from 70 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
Did you make this recipe?Mention @eatingbirdfood and tag #eatingbirdfood!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

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Recipe Rating




32 Comments

    1. YUM! I am glad you are loving this recipe, Jan. Thank you for your review + star rating, I appreciate it!

  1. Hi Brittany. This salad sounds wonderful. I’m thinking, maybe for Mothers Day. I’d like to use another lettuce, along with the baby spinach. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Pattie – You could use a spring mix salad, that typically includes baby spinach. Hope you enjoy this salad!

  2. This is one of my go to salads. I get rave reviews every time I serve it, sharing the recipe. I do, however, only use 0 fat Greek yogurt and it works fine.

    1. YUM! Sounds delicious, Margaret. I am so excited to hear that this recipe is a hit. Thank you for your review & star rating, I appreciate it!

  3. This is my favorite salad ever! I don’t usually like berries in my salad but it works perfectly here. Dressing is to die for!

    1. WOO! I am so excited to hear that you are loving this salad, Tracy. Thank you for coming back and sharing your review & star rating, I appreciate it!

  4. 5 stars
    This salad is so easy to pull together and delicious! I added plant based protein and pickled beets to mine. I’ll be adding this to my meal prep rotation. Thanks Brittany!

    1. Ah this is so perfect, Annie. I am so glad you found this salad and it came out delicious for you. Thank you for your review & star rating, it means so much to me!

  5. 5 stars
    I was looking for a balsamic dressing recipe and came across your page. It is sooooo delicious!!!!! I used this dressing on my spinach salad that just consists of pecans, red onion, tangerines and baby spinach. It goes so well! This dressing will be used very often!

    1. Ah yay! I am SO glad you are loving this salad recipe, Sonia. Thank you so much for sharing your review + star rating, I truly appreciate it!

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