This baby spinach salad is the perfect answer to a quick lunch, a delicious side salad, or a healthy potluck option. Served with a homemade, honey-sweetened poppy seed dressing, this is a salad packed with flavor…and nutrition! Perfect for welcoming in those early spring greens from the garden or farmers market.
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Don’t you just love Spring? I know it’s entirely too early to really be thinking about spring, but I can’t help myself. Part of the charm of spring is the antipation and waiting that we endure before welcoming it. The thought of tulips blooming, birds chirping, and the brook rapidly flowing is what gets many of through the final months of winter.
One of my favorite aspects of spring is the welcoming in of the vegetable gardening season. In my Zone 5 climate we have to wait quite a while before we welcome harvests from many of our garden vegetables, but the abundance of fresh greens in the spring is just enough to tide me over. Spinach is among the first greens available, since it can be grown in tunnels even in cold weather. Baby spinach is mild, grows quickly, and is inexpensive and abundant in those early spring months. This is when my menu selections shift from soups and pot pies to fresh and delicious salads.
Baby Spinach Salad: Perfect for Spring
This baby spinach salad is one of my favorites to make in the spring. It requires little in the way of produce, asking for just baby spinach and mushrooms. The remainder of the salad is a hearty offering. Packed with hard boiled eggs, bacon crumbles, and mozzarella cheese, this salad is a filling offering for lunch. It also happens to make a lovely potluck option.
I use my recipe for Healthy Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing in this tender baby spinach salad. It’s sweetened with honey, making it a satisfying from-scratch choice made with all natural ingredients. You can certainly opt for store bought if desired, but homemade really is best of all.
What is the Best Salad Dressing for Spinach Salad?
I am of the opinion that Poppy Seed dressing is the best salad dressing when it comes to spinach salad. That being said, there are many different options for spinach salad dressing if poppy seed dressing isn’t exactly your thing.
Store-bought poppy seed dressings tend to have a lot of sugar. This is why I love making my own at home. I can easily serve up a delicious, slightly sweet homemade poppy seed dressing by substituting honey for regular white sugar. While honey is still “sugar”, it isn’t refined and you’re able to use less while still ending up with an equally sweet end product. Plus, honey adds a lovely flavor you just won’t get with refined white sugar.
If you’re still not sold on poppy seed dressing, you can totally use one of these dressing with your baby spinach salad:
- Honey Dijon Dressing – Sue Bee Homemaker
- Zesty Spinach Salad Dressing – Allrecipes
- Hot Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing – Foodie with Family
- Garlic Salad Dressing – Everyday Maven
What Do I Need to Make Baby Spinach Salad?
- Baby Spinach: Spinach is a wonderful green for salads, but it’s baby version is even more delightful. Baby spinach has a lovely, mild taste and is abundantly available in the early spring months. I like to buy mine pre-washed if possible, since it saves a little extra time. If you are harvesting from the garden, a good washing and run through a salad spinner will be sufficient.
- Mushrooms: Either button or cremini mushrooms are quite suitable for spinach salad. I like to trim the woody ends off after cleaning, and then slice into 1/4″ thick slices.
- Mozzarella Cheese: This is my favorite cheese for spinach salad. Cheddar is much too sharp. Provolone would also be suitable, although much harder to find in a block than mozzarella.
- Eggs: For a salad that serves 6, I like to have a full dozen eggs. The eggs provide a good protein source for the salad, so I like for each serving to have the equivalent of 2 eggs (10 grams of protein).
- Cooked and Crumbled Bacon: I have this listed as an optional ingredient. Baby spinach salad is certainly delicious without it, but it really is a lovely treat to have bacon crumbles topping your salad. I like to use leftover bacon, rather than cooking it and crumbling it during the salad preparation. This saves a good amount of time and makes good use of leftovers. You could also use store-bought bacon bits if desired.
- Poppy Seed Dressing: I make a full batch of my Healthy Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing to serve with this salad. It is sweetened with honey, making it a win-win in my books!
Scroll down for the printable recipe 👇
Baby Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing
- 12 cups Baby Spinach Leaves pre-washed
- 8oz pkg Button or Cremini Mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- 12 large Eggs
- 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- 1 batch Healthy Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing or 1 cup of store-bought
- 3 tbsp. Cooked and Crumbled Bacon or store-bought bacon bits
- Bring a medium pot of hot water to a boil over high heat.
- Add the eggs, gently with a spoon, into the boiling water. Set your timer for 10 minutes.
- While the eggs are cooking, prepare the homemade poppy seed dressing (link in post and in notes below). Slice your mushrooms, and grate your cheese if necessary.
- When the eggs are done cooking, drain off the boiling water and add to a bowl of ice cold water. Hold the eggs under a tap running with cold water as you peel them. I like to hit my eggs with the back of a spoon and gently peel the shell off. Set the eggs aside to cool further.
- Add the spinach to a large serving or salad bowl, top with the mushrooms, crumbled bacon (if using), and shredded mozzarella.
- Slice the eggs and top the salad with them. Serve with homemade poppy seed dressing on the side, or drizzle on the salad if you are sure there will be no leftovers. ⅔
- 2/3 cup Real Mayonnaise
- 1-2 tbsp. Pureed or finely minced onion (see the original recipe post for more information on how and why to puree your onion)
- 1 tbsp. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp. White Vinegar
- 3 tbsp. Honey
- 1 tbsp. Poppy Seeds