Spinach Salad With Strawberries and Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Enjoy this light, tasty salad filled with arthritis-friendly ingredients like strawberries, spinach, walnuts and more.
Nutrient-dense berries do double duty in this summery lunch. They add natural sweetness to the strawberry–poppy seed dressing, and they give the spinach salad a wonderful burst of color and flavor. Strawberries also have more vitamin C per serving than an orange, which can lower risk of gout, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Research has also shown that strawberries may lower C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of body-wide inflammation linked to arthritis flares and heart disease.
To make this recipe you will need a knife for chopping, a blender and a large bowl.
Nutrition information (per serving)*: Total Fat (28.7g); Carbohydrates (14g); Sodium (503mg); Sugar (7g); Fiber (5g); Cholesterol (17mg); Protein (7g)
1 - 16 oz. container strawberries (about 20 large), tops removed
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
4 oz. baby spinach (about 4 big handfuls)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pickled red onions, (optional, to make you will need: 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced, 1 tsp. salt, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar)
1. Prep strawberries
Slice half the strawberries and set them aside for the spinach salad. Remove the hulls from the remaining berries so that only the red parts remain, and coarsely chop.
2. Blend dressing ingredients
Place the chopped strawberries, shallots, vinegar, salt and a few grinds of pepper in a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Add the oil and poppy seeds, and blend again. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed and transfer to a serving container. The dressing tastes best using only the soft, flavorful red parts of the strawberries, so cut off the stems and the berries’ white matter (hulls) before adding them to the blender. It keeps well in the refrigerator in a sealed container, up to a week.
3. Make the pickled onions
If you are including the pickled onions, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Keeps well in a sealed container, up to 2 weeks.
4. Assemble the salad and serve
Place the spinach, feta, walnuts, onions and reserved strawberries in a large bowl. Add strawberry–poppy seed vinaigrette (to taste) and toss the spinach salad just before serving.
- Strawberries contain anthocyanin, along with other phytochemicals, that can provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits. They’re also a good source of folic acid, which the arthritis medication methotrexate can deplete.
- Green, leafy vegetables like spinach are packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C and K that protect cells from free-radical damage, which can be a factor in rheumatoid arthritis and joint inflammation.
*Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided is approximate and based on USDA measurements. Actual amounts may vary based on exact ingredients used, how they are prepared and serving size.
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