This Baby Spinach Salad with Strawberries & Feta is a simple chopped salad that is quick enough for lunch but can also be doubled or tripled to serve for guests as an entree salad. With the saltiness of feta cheese, the crunch of roasted sunflower seeds, and the sweetness of fresh strawberries and sugar-free Maple Balsamic Dressing it is sure to please.
Most days for lunch I eat leftovers from dinner the night before. I never feel like cooking for myself just for lunch but if we already have cooked chicken I'll make a quick salad to liven it up and get in some more veggies.
My favorite variety of salad is a chopped salad which I eat with a big spoon. No joke. I learned this trick when my 4th child was a newborn. It was much easier to eat salad when it was cut up small and with a spoon while holding her. My fall back type of salad is this one: spinach, chicken, nuts or seeds, a few berries, and some crumbled cheese. Sprinkle with a little homemade sugar-free balsamic and I've got a pretty nice lunch in less than 5 minutes.
How to make a chopped Baby Spinach Salad
As mentioned above I prefer my salad chopped than to have big pieces to deal with. I simply throw the ingredients in a large bowl and go to town with kitchen scissors. For this salad, I chopped the spinach and chicken together with this method. I sliced the strawberries by hand and just sprinkled on the other ingredients.
How to make Maple Balsamic Dressing
I love sweet vinaigrettes. My friend Daria makes the best salad dressing ever but uses honey. I haven't found a decent sugar-free honey substitute so I turn to low carb maple syrup when making my own sweet balsamic dressing. Just a little goes a long way.
To make maple balsamic dressing you simply combine a mild flavored oil with a little balsamic vinegar, sugar-free maple syrup, and a pinch of salt. Either shake in a mason jar or blend in a small blender to emulsify the dressing.
Don't have sugar-free maple syrup? Use a teaspoon of your favorite powdered sweetener instead. If you'd like you can add a drop of maple extract for a maple flavor. Literally, one drop. If you use more than that the flavor will be overpowering.
Feel free to sub in another fresh berry instead of the strawberries. You can use gorgonzola, blue cheese, or crumbled goat cheese instead of the feta. You may also sub in any roasted salted nuts for the sunflower seeds. Pecans are my favorite.
Other Low Carb Salads
Sugar-Free Maple Balsamic Dressing:
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1.5 cups cooked chicken (about 4 oz)
- 2 strawberries (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon feta cheese
- 2 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small blender or mason jar. Mix thoroughly until it is smooth and creamy.
- Put the baby spinach and chicken in a large bowl. Chop with kitchen scissors. Drizzle the dressing over the chopped spinach and chicken and toss well. Transfer to a serving platter.
- Top the tossed salad with the strawberries, feta cheese, and sunflower seeds. Toss gently if desired. Serve immediately.
- This can serve 2 people as a side dish or 1 person for the main course.
- You can substitute 1 teaspoon of your preferred powdered sweetener for the sugar-free maple syrup if you prefer.