Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cranberry & Toasted Almond Spinach Salad with White Wine Poppyseed Vinaigrette

If you are looking for an easy go-to side salad, this is a great one! My husband loved this salad so much, he had a whole second serving of it. Most poppyseed dressings tend to be creamy, but this one is completely dairy free, and just as good as any dairy-containing poppyseed dressing I have ever had.  

I would recommend making the dressing ahead of time so it has time to marinate together. I made ours about 6 hours before dinner.  Making it the day before would probably be even better because the longer it sits, the better it tastes. I also toasted the almonds ahead of time and just tossed them in a container after they cooled.  

If you are in charge of taking a salad to your upcoming Thanksgiving or Christmas get-togethers, this would be a delicious and easy option. If you were to make the dressing and toast the almonds ahead of time, it would take just a few moments to toss them together with the cranberries and dressing, or you could serve the dressing on the side.

Cranberry & Toasted Almond Spinach Salad with White Wine Poppyseed Vinaigrette

Makes ~8 Servings


1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cups sliced almonds
1 pound fresh organic spinach leaves
1 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp minced yellow onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil


1. In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add almonds and toast until fragrant and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. In a large jar, combine sesame seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Place lid on jar and shake vigorously to combine.  

3. In a large bowl, toss spinach with cranberries and almonds.  Toss with dressing, or serve dressing on the side.

(Recipe adapted from

What are the nutritional benefits of this salad? Spinach is packed with fiber,  vitamins K, A, C, B2, B6 and folate, and the minerals iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. Almonds are high in manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, and copper, and vitamins E and B2. Sesame and poppy seeds are good sources of calcium, phosphorous and iron. Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), raise good cholesterol (HDL), and aid in blood sugar control.

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