Spinach Salad with Berries, Avacado, Banana, Onion and Caramelized Nuts Poppy Seed Dressing


4 to 6 servings


  • 4 to 6 cups crisp spinach leaves (no stems) (see note) or mixed greens (bibb or Boston or

  •    leaf lettuce or a combination, curly endive, arugula, red cabbage or ridicchio and other

  •    greens of choice), cleaned and thoroughly dried, torn into bite-size pieces

  • 6 to 8 green onions, cut on-the-bias into small pieces (include some green tops),

  •    or 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into a julienne (very thin 1-inch long pieces) (optional)

  • 1 to 2 firm ripe avocados, peeled, seed(s) removed, thinly sliced and immediately sprinkled

  •   with lemon juice to prevent discoloration (optional)

  • 1 to 2 firm ripe bananas

  • ¾ to 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries or whole fresh red raspberries

  • ¾ to 1 cup fresh blueberries or blackberries, stems removed

  • Salt to taste

  • Honey Poppy Seed Dressing or Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing, or commercial creamy poppy seed

  •   dressing or strawberry vinaigrette dressing, or balsamic or red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive

  •   oil as desired

  • Caramelized English walnut or pecan halves or peanuts or commercial honey roasted/glazed

  •   peanuts as desired for garnish

If using Honey Poppy Seed Dressing, prepare and allow flavors to blend for at least 1 hour.  Prepare spinach or other salad greens, green onions, avocado, if used, strawberries, and blueberries for salad; place in a deep salad bowl or individual salad bowls.  Lightly sprinkle salad(s) with salt, if desired.  Spoon desired amount of salad dressing over salad(s).  Or, drizzle desired amount of balsamic and/or red wine vinegar(s) and olive oil over salad(s) (use vinegar and oil sparingly so that salad(s) does/do not become soggy).  Garnish large salad or individual salads with a generous sprinkle of caramelized nuts..  Serve immediately.

Note: Use baby (small light green variety) spinach as whole leaves, stems removed. Tear the    curly variety spinach into bite-size pieces.


Honey Poppy Seed Dressing about 1¼ cups

  • 1/3 cup sugar or the equivalent of 1/3 cup sugar in granulated sugar substitute
  • 2½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon onion salt
  • ¾ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ cup salad oil (corn, canola, or safflower oil), divided
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tablespoon poppy seeds

Combine the first 8 ingredients and 2 tablespoons oil together in a blender container.  Cover and blend at medium speed for 1 minute.  Add remaining oil in a fine stream, blending at medium speed until thick and smooth.  Add a few drops of water if consistency is too thick.  Season with salt to taste.  Stir in poppy seeds.                                     

Note: Dressing will keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.


Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing about 1½ cups

  • 3 tablespoons sugar or the equivalent of 3 tablespoons sugar in granulated sugar substitute
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 3 egg yolks or the equivalent of 1½ eggs in egg substitute, IE, Egg Beaters, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup cold milk or reduced-fat or skim milk
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon poppy seeds or as desired

In the top of a double boiler, combine the sugar or sugar substitute, flour, dry mustard, and salt, mixing well.  With a wire whisk, beat egg yolks or egg substitute into sugar mixture, blending well.  Stir in the milk and vinegar, blending well.  

Cook over boiling water until mixture is smooth and thickened.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Remove from heat and stir in poppy seeds.  Cool thoroughly before using.  May store dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.

  • Caramelized English Walnut or Pecan Halves or Peanuts

  • about 24 to 30 English caramelized nuts

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 24 to 30 English walnut or pecan halves or peanuts

Place sugar in a small heavy skillet.  Heat, stirring frequently, over low to moderate heat until sugar turns a light to medium brown and liquefies.  Be careful not to burn sugar.  Remove from heat and quickly add nut pieces, coating nuts thoroughly with caramelized sugar.  Carefully separate nuts from each other and arrange on wax paper to cool and harden.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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