Skip to Content

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Sharing is caring!

This Strawberry Spinach Salad with pecans, mandarin oranges and poppy seed dressing has become our favorite quick salad!  Add chicken to make it a main dish or serve it as a side dish at your next meal!  



Do you find yourself in a side dish rut?  Need something quick, refreshing and not heavy?  How about something that isn’t covered in marshmallows or cool whip? 

This spinach strawberry salad recipe is just for you then!

This is a go to salad that we make all year round.  However we particularly love it during the summer months! 

Here in Minnesota fresh strawberry season happens at the end of June.  Some years we luck out and can grab some sooner but generally speaking, it’s the last week of June.

That is a LONG time to wait for fresh in season strawberries.  The season lasts 2 weeks (at most) and it’s a mad dash to pick them, bake with them, freeze them and can with them until the next season comes.  

Personally I take my kids every summer to go berry picking.  We start with strawberries, then move on to blueberries and raspberries. 

Then we end the fruit picking season with apples.  Although if I’m totally honest those we just buy pre-picked at the abundant apple orchards around our state. 

I’m a firm believer in teaching my kids where their food comes from and having them try the fruit right off the plant. 

We’re the type of pickers that eat as many as go in our baskets.  Because of this we also pay a lot more per pound to pick them ourselves than we do at the grocery store. 

Having said that, it’s all worth it.  Picking your own berries when they are at peak ripeness is life changing.



When I’m craving something sweet, perfectly ripened strawberries taste like candy! My biggest tip for picking your own berries – any kind – is to wear old clothes that you don’t care about. 

Your inevitably going to sit on one, step on one or have a child squish one on you.  So be prepared and wear old clothing!

When it comes to this strawberry salad recipe, we like it best with poppy seed dressing.  However I have several friends who like a simple balsamic dressing on their salad. 

No matter the dressing you choose, this spinach salad recipe is a favorite.  

Generally speaking, I can toss this salad together in 10 minutes.  Or better yet, have one of your dinner guests help!

When I go to someone’s home and see them working away in the kitchen I always want to help.  It’s natural to feel a little awkward when someone else is doing all the work and you’re just standing around.

Allow your guests to make this spinach salad with strawberries and pecans while you tend to something else!  They’ll feel useful and you’ll save time by focusing on one item instead of two.  

Another tip that I recommend from making this spinach fruit salad with poppy seed dressing on a regular basis, is to not add the dressing on top of the entire salad but allow people to add the dressing to their own portions.  

This way if there is any spinach salad left, you can store it in the fridge.  Generally speaking if no dressing is left on the salad it will last 24 hours before the spinach wilts. 

However if you add dressing, it’s a mess by the next morning.  

If you’ve never had spinach salad with mandarin oranges and candied pecans then I hope you’ll give this a try!  Strawberry season is upon us and this light and refreshing salad is the perfect summer salad!




When you’re ready to make this spinach and strawberry salad you’ll need:

  • Strawberries – hand picked or store bought.  Buy dark red ones if possible.  The darker the berry, the sweeter.
  • Mandarin oranges.  You can definitely use fresh peeled cuties.  However for quickness, I usually go with canned.
  • Pecans.  Plain, honey roasted or glazed all work great in this salad.
  • Baby Spinach
  • Poppy Seed Dressing
  • Chicken (optional)
  • Blue Cheese (optional)
  • Gorgonzola Cheese (optional)




Spinach is chalk full of vitamins and nutrients that help keep your body running at full speed.  As a child I used to watch Popeye eat a can of spinach every time he needed strength. 

Though spinach can’t really give you Popeye strength it is a vegetable that can do wonders for your body.  This spinach strawberry pecan salad makes eating your spinach a little easier! Inside each leaf of spinach you’ll find:

  • Iron – Helps red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.  If you don’t have enough iron in your body you’ll become weak.  
  • Vitamin K – Helps with clotting your blood as well as regulating blood calcium levels. 
  • Magnesium – Helps with blood sugar levels, blood pressure and making bones.
  • Vitamin C – Helps with iron absorption, strengthens your body’s natural defenses, and also lowers high blood pressure. 
  • Vitamin A – Helps with vision, immune system and reproduction.
  • Manganese – Blood sugar regulation and helps decrease inflammation.  
  • Vitamin B2 – Breaks down protein, fats and carbohydrates.





Main Dishes:




Yield: 4 Servings

Spinach Strawberry Salad

salad with dressing in bowl

This Strawberry Spinach Salad with pecans, mandarin oranges and poppy seed dressing has become our favorite quick salad!  Add chicken to make it a main dish or serve it as a side dish at your next meal!  

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 1 (15 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 2 cups package of strawberries, rinsed, hulled & sliced
  • 1 (10 ounce) Bag of Spinach
  • 1 cup Candied Pecans
  • Chicken
  • Blue Cheese, optional
  • Gorgonzola Cheese, optional
  • Poppy Seed Dressing


  1. If making a large salad, I suggest doing layers. For individual salads, no need for layers.
  2. Place 1/2 spinach in large salad bowl.
  3. Top with 1/2 of the strawberries, 1/2 of the oranges and half of the pecans.
  4. Add second layer of spinach and top with remaining strawberries, oranges and pecans.
  5. Serve with poppy seed dressing or balsamic dressing.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 101mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 5gSugar: 16gProtein: 4g
Originally Posted: December 5, 2013

Photos & Text Updated: June 19, 2019

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe