Easy Spinach Salad
Published Mar 12, 2021, Updated Aug 02, 2023
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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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken
- Easy Crispy Baked Tofu
- Marinated Tempeh
- Sheet Pan Chicken Sausage and Roasted Veggies
- Roasted Root Vegetables
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!
More Tasty Salad Recipes
- Pear Salad with Walnuts, Avocado and Grilled Chicken
- Greek Salad
- Classic Broccoli Salad
- Healthy Taco Salad
- Roasted Vegetable Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Easy Cucumber Salad
- Kale and Cabbage Pad Thai Salad
More Spinach Recipes to Try
- Egg, Spinach and Feta Breakfast Wrap
- Quinoa Spinach Salad
- Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers
- Dairy-Free Spinach Quiche
- Curried Chickpea Bowls with Garlicky Spinach
Easy Spinach Salad with Creamy Balsamic
- 10 oz baby spinach
- 1 cup sliced mini cucumbers
- ⅔ 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
- 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 information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.