I made this salad for the first time last year around this time when strawberries were in abundance at the local markets. The combination of fresh sweet strawberries and spinach is just too good. I made this for my in laws last year who were visiting from India and they just loved this combination. Since then I have been asked to make this repeatedly and it has become my signature salad.
In my version, I omit the cranberries and candied walnuts . I also like to add onions ( my husbands favorite addition to savory foods ) and my twist , spicy walnuts. I have also lightened up the dressing to let the flavors of the ingredients shine.
To make spicy walnuts, heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan on medium heat and roast the walnuts. This can also be done in the oven
When it is almost roasted, add 1/2 tablespoon oil , honey and stir/toss to coat the walnuts . Then add the spice powders. Add cayenne according to your preference . I intended for these walnuts to be properly spicy.
Once the spices are roasted too and the walnuts are evenly coated , switch off the heat. Sprinkle some sea salt over the walnuts. Take it off the heat and let it cool in a baking tray.
Prep the strawberries by hulling them and slicing thinly lengthwise. Slice the onions in thin circles and separate the pieces.
Combine the spinach, strawberries, onions and feta cheese.
For the salad dressing , mix the juice of one lemon with a few tablespoons of balsalmic vinegar or a vinaigrette. Add a few grinds of pepper.
Toss the salad with the dressing and let the flavors mingle for at least half an hour before serving. Fold in or garnish with spicy walnuts just before serving.
Note : This salad stays well in the fridge for a few hours. I have actually eaten it the next day also but the spinach does become a bit soggy by then.