Updated: Feb 2, 2022
Happy American Heart Month! With heart health on my mind, I wanted to share this gorgeous heart healthy salad with you. My Strawberry Avocado Salad with Poppyseed Dressing has everything you want in a hearty, filling, delicious green salad - a hint of sweetness, fresh herbs, creamy avocado, fresh mozzarella, and a nutty crunch! I'm not a meal repeater, but I could seriously eat this salad for 5 days in a row, it's that good!
Dang Good Salad
Everyone: "You must eat a lot of salads since you're a dietitian." Me: "Nope." This is a pretty common misconception about dietitians. I enjoy salads, but I probably only make a salad once every 2 weeks. NO JOKE. But you best believe that when I do make a salad, I make a dang good salad with all the toppings like this Strawberry Avocado Salad with Poppyseed Dressing. The combination of flavors and textures is so wonderful and delicious; it's the perfect plant-based dinner for two.
Support Your Health with Strawberries
Ruby red strawberries are the perfect sweet addition to this nourishing salad, but before I get to the recipe I want to address how eating strawberries may support your health.
In addition to adding sweetness to you life, several studies have shown that strawberries may play a role in promoting immune health, a healthy microbiome, brain health, and heart health and are a good fruit option for individual with diabetes.
Strawberries and Immune Health
Strawberries contain immune supporting nutrients, namely vitamin C. You might be surprised to know that a serving of strawberries actually contains more vitamin C than an orange! Per the USDA FoodData Central database, a 1 cup serving of strawberries contains just 48 calories, 12 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 3 g dietary fiber, 88 mg vitamin C, 36 mcg folate, and 230 mg potassium, while an orange contains 82 mg vitamin C. So next time you feel a cold coming on, eat a serving of strawberries to support your immune system!
Strawberries and Gut, Brain, and Heart Health
In additional to vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber, strawberries contain antioxidant properties. Pelargonidin, a flavonoid found in strawberries, has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that improve the function of the gut microbiota, cardiovascular system, metabolism, and neurons.
Along with most fruits and vegetables, strawberries contain dietary fiber which may help lower cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. Additionally, strawberries contain potassium which, according the the NIH, can help control blood pressure and prevent the risk of stroke.
Strawberries and Diabetes
As mentioned earlier, a 1 cup serving of strawberries contains 12 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, and 3 g dietary fiber. Compare that to a 1 cup serving of grapes which contains 27 g carbohydrates, 21 g sugar, <2 g fiber or a medium apple which contains 28 g carbohydrates, 21 g sugar, and 5 g fiber. Needless to say, strawberries are much lower in sugar than some other fruits.
Per the American Diabetes Association berries, including strawberries, have been identified as one of the top food choices for individuals with diabetes as they are lower in sugar compared to many fruits and are packed with dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Heart Healthy Salad
Strawberries are not the only heart health promoting ingredient is this delicious salad. Both walnuts and avocados contain healthy fats as well as fiber to promote heart health and overall health! Like I said earlier, this heart healthy salad has everything you want in a hearty, filling, delicious green salad.
What’s in This Recipe?
Spring mix – contains fiber and vitamins A, K, and C
Spinach – contains fiber, vitamins A, K, and C, iron, and calcium
Strawberries – rich in vitamin C
Mozzarella – contains calcium, vitamin D, and protein
Walnuts – contains vitamin E, fiber, plant based protein, and heart healthy ALA omega 3 fatty acids
Avocado – contains heart healthy fats, fiber, plant sterols, vitamins, and minerals
Fresh basil – contains hypolipidemic and antioxidant substances
Canola oil or vegetable oil – contains heart healthy fats
Apple cider vinegar – contains acid which enhances flavor
White vinegar – contains acid which enhances flavor
Agave or honey – natural sweetener
Seasonings – black pepper, dried mustard, and salt
Poppyseeds – contains fiber, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and zinc
Notes: This recipe is naturally gluten free and vegetarian. *To make this recipe vegan and dairy free, omit the cheese or use vegan mozzarella.
Strawberry Avocado Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 0 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Servings: 2 large salads or 4 small salads
4 cups spring mix salad
2 cups raw spinach
8 strawberries, slices into fourths
1/2 cup mozzarella pearls*
1/2 cup raw or toasted walnuts
1 avocado, cored and sliced
Black pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp. basil, roughly chopped
1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tbsp. agave or honey
1/2 tsp. dried mustard powder
1/2 tsp. poppyseeds
1/4 tsp. salt
Place half of the spring mix and spinach in a large serving bowl. Top with half of the sliced strawberries, mozzarella pearls, and walnuts.
Repeat step 1 for the second layer.
Top the salad with sliced avocado, black pepper to taste, and fresh chopped basil.
Next, make the dressing by adding the dressing ingredients listed above to a glass jar with a lid. Cover and shake vigorously until the dressing is fully combined.
Drizzle the salad with poppyseed dressing as desired. Serve immediately.
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