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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Quinoa and Balsamic

Fresh strawberry salad featuring baby spinach, quinoa, fresh mozzarella, toasted almonds and more tossed in basil balsamic dressing. This salad is gluten free!

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword salad, strawberries
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the dressing

  • ½ cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 basil leaves
  • TB. extra virgin olive oil
  • TB. balsamic glaze
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)

For the salad

  • 4 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach
  • 2 cups red leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • ½ cup chopped cucumber
  • 2 TB. chopped green onion
  • 5 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • cup toasted almonds

Instructions

For the dressing

  1. To a blender, add fresh strawberries, basil, olive oil, balsamic glaze, vinegar, dijon, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth and transfer to a jar.

For the salad

  1. In a large bowl, layer spinach, lettuce, quinoa, cucumber, green onion, strawberries and basil.

  2. Drizzle salad evenly with dressing, toss, then top with toasted almonds. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • Dressing and salad can be prepared ahead of time separately. Store in refrigerator until right before serving. Add nuts at the end to keep them crunchy.
  • For the quinoa, I used a blend of quinoa and ancient grains that are gluten-free. Cook ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until needed.
  • To make this salad nut-free, try replacing the almonds with sunflower seeds.
  • For a vegan salad, simply eliminate the fresh mozzarella.
  • Use balsamic glaze, not vinegar to make the dressing. I keep a bottle of this brand on hand, but you can make your own by reducing balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it thickens (stir and watch closely). Add a bit of brown sugar for a sweeter version.