Summer Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

It took me a long time to genuinely like salad.  This is in large part due to the fact that growing up, “salad” in our house consisted of iceberg lettuce (yuck) topped with sliced carrots (double yuck).  That’s it.  No wonder I never wanted anything to do with it.  Thanks to the brilliance that is Caesar salad, I eventually came around to the concept in general, but even still my taste for salad is typically more traditional.  Usually green lettuce topped with various other vegetables, maybe croutons and even cheese if I get really crazy.  The idea of fruit on a green salad  is one that did not sound appetizing at first, but after having a strawberry-balsamic type salad at a friend’s house several times, I realized that it can actually be a pretty tasty combination.

Last summer I saw this salad on the menu at Panera, but never got around to trying it.  When I was planning the menu for our recent 24, 24, 24 party, I was trying to think of a salad that was a little more exciting than the usual tossed green salad, and this immediately came to mind.  The poppy seed vinaigrette was quick to mix up with ingredients I already had on hand, and I really enjoyed the flavor.  It’s slightly creamy but has a nice citrusy bite from the orange juice and apple cider vinegar.  And it turns out that fruit topping a green salad can actually be pretty delicious.  Such a mix of gorgeous colorful fruit is pretty hard to resist.  (By the way, thanks to my friend Shanon for the beautiful plating job!)

Summer Strawberry Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
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For the dressing:
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp. minced shallot
¼ tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. light mayonnaise
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1½ tsp. poppy seeds

For the salad:
Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
Strawberries, hulled and sliced
Mandarin orange segments
Fresh pineapple, cubed

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the vinegar, sugar, shallot, dry mustard, salt, mayonnaise and orange juice.  Process to blend well.  With the feed tube open and the processor on, add the vegetable oil in a steady stream and continue processing until incorporated.  Add the poppy seeds and pulse briefly just until blended.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the salad, chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces.  Plate individual servings of the lettuce in salad plates.  Top each serving with strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges and pineapple cubes as desired.  Drizzle lightly with the poppy seed dressing and serve immediately.

Source: salad inspired by Panera, dressing from Jamie Cooks It Up

25 Responses

  1. I have a favourite mustard poppyseed vinaigrette dressing from a restaurant back home and it’s one of the foods I miss most from Canada. I’ll be sure to give this one a try as it looks delish!

  2. Yay! I’m so glad you put this recipe up. I was hoping you would after seeing the picture of this salad in your dinner party post 🙂

  3. Looks light and refreshing. Perfect salad for spring!

  4. oh I love all the colors in that salad -perfect for summer!

  5. I love poppyseed dressing it is so good. I also think this is a perfect spring- summer dish & am thinking that it might hit our Mother’s Day table 🙂

  6. Yum! We were planning on doing a strawberry/spinach salad for Mother’s Day, but I love trying new salads & this one looks beautiful & tasty! 🙂

  7. I was hoping that you would post this recipe! Love this salad from Panera. (Try adding some grilled chicken for a great summer lunch or dinner.) Thanks so much for your wonderful blog. Love your recipes and your beautiful photography.

  8. Looks good!! I love Panera but normally order a soup or dessert :). I’ve not tried a salad with fruit in it before, but this one looks delicious!!

  9. I love mandarin oranges in my salads! Looks wonderful, Annie! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I was just served a strawberry / poppyseed salad at a friend’s house a few weeks ago, and it was so good! I love all of the pretty fruits in your salad.

  11. Congrats on the Foodie Blogroll today! I love the sounds of this vinaigrette and can’t wait to try it!

  12. What a great way to boost fruit & veggie servings – looks delicious!

  13. Yum. Going to pick strawberries next week *fingers crossed*. Might have to give this one a try!

  14. Annie, that salad looks SO light and refreshing! Thank you for the recipe. I love the addition of poppy seeds.

  15. Lovely salad! As a kid I loved iceberg lettuce, but my mom refused to buy it. Nowadays I savor rich dark greens, spinach, kale, purple cabbage, chard, its all good raw and cooked.

  16. Putting lots of fruit on green salad is how I convinced my boyfriend to start eating salad. He’s a sucker for anything sweet! I’m going to have to try this dressing – I love poppy seeds.

  17. what a delicious colours! omg!

  18. I have made one similar to this for many years and always love it this time of year. I use baby spinach instead of lettuce and no mayo so less creamy. I’m sure a creamy poppyseed is a different delish with this! Yummy & pretty and always well received! Will have to try your version soon!

  19. I have been searching everywhere for this recipe. I remembered seeing it somewhere but couldn’t remember where. I wanted to make it for mother’s day. My mom, my sister and my grandma love salad so I wanted to do something different. I can’t wait to try it! Thanks!!!!

  20. Shout out! 🙂

  21. Wow, this sounds like a yummy salad! I haven’t tried fruit in a savory salad yet, but this just looks too delicious and colorful to resist!

  22. I made this salad for Mother’s Day and everyone raved about it. I added a little goat cheese and used spinach leaves. It was fantastic!!!!!

  23. This is without a doubt my all-time favorite salad. And that’s saying a lot. Even my husband loved it, and he is more of a meat and potatoes guy.

  24. Annie about how many people does this serve? I am making it for the 4th and can’t decide if I should double the dressing or not and how much lettuce and fruit to get. Thanks!!

    • I can’t really say because everyone’s idea of a serving is so different. To me, the best way to estimate is to look at the amounts of all the ingredients in the dressing and try to think about how much they will make. I think it makes quite a bit of dressing, so really you just need to buy enough lettuce, etc. for the number of people you plan to serve.

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