How to Build a Simple Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad

Rainie Robinson
by Rainie Robinson
2 servings
10 min

My friend’s patient once told her that he didn’t really like the lettuce part of his salad very much. We usually joke about this because it’s so true — the toppings are always the best part!

The thing is if you’re not used to making a salad you may try to put a romaine lettuce with berries and wonder why it’s not the best option or you may try to put spinach with something savory and decide it’s not your favorite either. Step out of the traditional salad box and start using things that actually go together. If you’ve got spinach, berries, and other types of fruit you may not want cucumbers and tomatoes and traditional salad toppings. Or you may! Making it your own is part of the fun!

But if you’re new to making salads there are some basic flavor and texture pairings you can start with. Once you are enjoying those combinations, start adding your own flare!

What Goes Well with Spinach?

Start with a salad base of spinach and think about adding some type of fruit. Berries do well and so do raisins and cranberries. Mandarin oranges or another sliced citrus goes well here too!

What Kind of Protein Tastes Good with Spinach?

With spinach or mixed greens, nuts really add to the flavor. But with things like Romaine lettuce or even an iceberg lettuce nuts don’t really do that great.

Walnuts, pecans, or even a mix of nuts goes really well! You could also try to add sunflower seeds or another type of plant protein that you like!

What Type of Cheese Works Well with Spinach?

Of course, cheese is all about personal preference, but typically with a spinach based salad a softer cheese is my go to. I love feta, blue cheese, goat cheese, and even brie. I like to save cheddar, mozzarella, and other traditional salad cheeses for salads with a romaine or green leaf lettuce base.

What Type of Dressing Should You Use?

For sweeter-based salads or salads with a spinach base, I would go with something like a balsamic vinaigrette or a poppyseed dressing. Things like Caesar dressing or Italian dressing or even just an olive oil and vinegar dressing may not go as well here because they go well with more savory type dishes. For those types of dressing I would consider a romaine or green leaf lettuce.

Of course these suggestions are just a start and you should totally feel free to make a salad you love! But, there is a reason we always like restaurant salads more– well 2 reasons really! 1) we didn’t have to do the chopping and 2) they know what goes good together! Make your salads more interesting by starting with a few basics!

How to Build a Simple Cranberry Walnut Spinach Salad
Recipe details
  • 2  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 10 min
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  • 3 cups spinach leaves washed and drained
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/2 cup cranberries dried
  • 1/2 cup Blue Cheese crumbled

Start with lettuce and layer all ingredients.
Serve with a light Balsamic vinaigrette. For a lighter option, squeeze a lemon over top and drizzle salad with 1/2 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt!
Rainie Robinson
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