There aren’t a lot of salads that I like so much, I crave them, but this salad is an exception. Each time I make this salad dressing, I buy a big package of spinach and enjoy it daily until either the dressing or spinach is gone. Spinach salads with strawberries aren’t all that uncommon, but what I love about this version is the double dose of strawberry from both the dressing and the slices on top. The dressing is on the sweet side being primarily a berry puree, but the addition of a touch of vinegar and champagne help balance the sweetness with a mild acidity that make it seem like, well, salad dressing. As for toppings, I generally like to keep it simple with sliced almonds and strawberries. However, I have also added green apple slices, and used pecans or walnuts in place of the almonds. I haven’t tried it myself (yet), but I think crumbled goat cheese would be another lovely addition. The version here is my favorite but you can play around to find the combination you prefer.
For the dressing:
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
2½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1½ tbsp. champagne*
1 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
Sliced almonds, for topping
Sliced fresh strawberries, for topping
In a blender or food processor, combine the strawberries, vinegar, champagne, sugar and salt. Process until the mixture is well combined and completely smooth. Transfer to an airtight bottle or container and refrigerate until ready to use. *I like to buy mini bottles of champagne for cooking, rather than have to open a whole bottle for a couple tablespoons. In a pinch I have also used white wine and the dressing still tastes great. Another option is to skip the separate vinegar and champagne, and instead use champagne vinegar (about 3 tbsp.)
To serve, portion baby spinach leaves out on salad plates. Drizzle with the strawberry champagne vinaigrette. Top with sliced almonds and strawberries. Serve immediately.