Introduction: Strawberry Walnut Spinach Salad

There are so many salads to be made that the different recipes could fill a whole bookshelf, but I wanted to share my very favorite salad that my friend had recently shared with me. I could eat this every day for... oh, maybe forever. My husband has me make it constantly.

It is also super easy to make and healthy! The worst ingredient is the salad dressing! If you have seen any of my other Instructables, you will notice that quick and easy might just be a trend among my recipes. This salad makes me feel great for eating it. It is super healthy as well as delicious. I will mention great reasons each ingredient (minus the dressing) is great for your body.

Step 1: Super Ingredients

    Needed ingredients:

    1. Baby Spinach
    2. Strawberries
    3. Walnuts
    4. Goat Cheese (crumbled)
    5. Raspberry Vinaigrette, or salad dressing of your choice

    Step 2: Prep

    Whether hand picked from the field or snatched out of a carton, you must always wash your strawberries well before eating them. Slice your strawberries and set them to the side. I slice the entire package to use as needed.

    You can also crumble your goat cheese now if you did not buy it precrumbled. Note: Goat cheese comes in packages that are solid or crumbled; not all grocery stores carry both versions. The first time I made this salad, I spent forever looking for a crumbled version of the goat cheese, only to find that they never had it to begin with! I buy plain goat cheese for this recipe, but there are other flavors of goat cheese crumbles that you can try. Also (in the US) goat cheese is often called/labelled chèvre, which means “goat” in French.

    You can just skip this preparatory step and slice/crumble as you add the ingredients to the top of the salad. I like to do the prep work first so I do not have to slice strawberries each time I want to refill my salad bowl. I can just grab the sliced strawberries as needed. I prefer goat cheese that is precrumbled, but I cannot always get it and crumbling the cheese as you go is a very messy endeavor.

    Step 3: Spinach

    My baby spinach was triple washed in the package, so I just tossed some into the salad bowl. Make sure to use the spinach while it is crisp and green for the best nutritional value and taste.

    Spinach is considered a super food because it is a good source of vitamins and minerals such as: A (as beta-carotene), C, K, B1, B2, B3, B6, E, folate, dietary fiber, calcium selenium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, omega-3 fatty acids and iron. Now that is a mouth full of healthy super goodness!

    Spinach is also full of antioxidants that research has shown may help protect against certain cancers and improve cardiovascular health. Anti-inflammatory properties help with common diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. So just as Popeye preached, spinach really is a super food!

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    Wait! Why is one bowl different, you ask. Actually, I am a bit picky with my spinach. I will not eat the stems so... I removed them for my bowl only. I know, I know... why add the extra work? Silly picky palate.

    Step 4: Strawberries

    Now the prep work pays off! Time to add the strawberry slices. Love strawberries? Toss in a handful! Not love them so much? Just add a couple slices to sweeten the bites of walnut that we add next.

    Strawberries are healthy too! Strawberries are proven to help with cardiovascular support and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. They also help to improve regulation of blood sugar, and decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. The magical ingredient is fisetin, which research shows halts the growth of cancerous cells while diminishing tumors' blood supply.

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    Step 5: Walnuts

    Next you need to add walnuts to the top of the salad. Again add a handful if you love them or less if you don't. The flavor really offsets the sweetness of the strawberries and dressing and compliments the goat cheese.

    Walnuts are packed full of omega-3 fats ( one of the richest in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)). Research shows that walnuts are very effective at lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol in healthy patients. Walnuts are also found to contain the amino acid L-arginine, which helps manage blood pressure. Resent research from a 2010 study published in the journal Medical Science Monitor found that L-arginine supplementation lowered blood pressure. These nuts are just great for you!

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    Step 6: Goat Cheese

    Next, add goat cheese to the top of the salad. You have now finished making the salad part of your salad!

    Goat cheese is not only lower in calories, cholesterol and fat than cheeses made from cow's milk, it is also easier on the digestive system. Goat cheese contains less lactose and is comprised of smaller amino acid protein chains making it more tolerable to those with sensitive stomachs and/or lactose intolerance. Goat cheese is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, protein, and phosphorus.

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    At this point, you can leave the salad as is or you can toss the entire salad mixing the ingredients well for a more balanced ratio in each bite. I decided to leave the salad as it stands for my simple dinner, but when hostessing a dinner, I tend to make a large bowl and toss it before serving. As with most salads, I would not add salad dressing until the salad is on the plate and ready to be eaten.

    Step 7: Salad Dressing

    Once you have finished arranging your salad on your plate, you can choose which salad dressing to add. I love raspberry vinaigrette on this salad. It adds a little sweetness and is just a perfect compliment for this salad! If you are like my mother and hate raspberries, many love a balsamic vinaigrette instead.

    Step 8: Enjoy!

    It is now time to enjoy your creation! Feast your eyes on the simplistic beauty and allow your taste buds to rejoice while your mind rests easy knowing it is as good for your body as it tastes.

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