July 15, 2022

A light spinach salad with a homemade dressing showcasing ripe summer fruit.

Salads make great one-dish, less-fuss summer suppers. But most store-bought dressings are heavy on calories and fat – they can destroy the health value of your meal, fast.

For a delicious new spin on a traditional spinach salad, toss it with this tangy homemade blackberry balsamic vinaigrette. The trick to the creamy yet healthy dressing is the pureed fruit. Blueberries, strawberries, peaches or raspberries make great stand-ins for the blackberries, so use what you have on hand and make extra to keep in the fridge for up to a week.

The fat content of this salad dressing comes from canola oil and toasted almonds. If you are following a low-fat diet, omit the almonds from this recipe.

Top this spinach salad with chicken, fish, steak or white beans for a heartier meal with a boost of protein.

Recipe: Spinach Salad with Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Stacey Kendrick
Serves: 2 servings
  • Dressing Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon blackberry, raspberry, strawberry or apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup fresh blackberries
  • Salad Ingredients
  • ½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed and dry
  • ½ cup mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh blackberries
  1. To prep the salad, toss the sliced red onion with balsamic vinegar. Sauté the onions in a nonstick frying pan on medium-low heat until they are soft and begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. If you are in a hurry, you can use raw onion instead.
  2. While the onions are cooking, put all of the ingredients for the dressing into a food processor or blender, or use an immersion blender. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Toast the almonds in a toaster oven or in a frying pan on very low heat. They burn fast, so watch them carefully.
  4. Assemble the spinach, cooked onions, mushrooms, almonds and berries in a salad bowl. Lightly drizzle with the dressing. Toss gently.
Serving size: 1/2 recipe Calories: 302 Fat: 21 grams Saturated fat: 1.6 grams Carbohydrates: 24.6 grams Sugar: 11.2 grams Sodium: 68.5 milligrams Fiber: 6.1 grams Protein: 6.1 grams

Stacey Kendrick, MS, is a health educator with more than 20 years of experience in wellness and population health. She is the mother of two adult daughters. She teaches healthy cooking classes, runs, gardens and enjoys backyard bonfires.