Heather’s Healthier Cranberry Spinach Salad

This is a VERY popular salad with spinach, toasted almonds and bits of dried cranberries. The salad dressing is both sweet and tangy with sesame and poppy seeds. Though the original recipe is fairly low in fat and sugar - it was still too sweet for me. With a few minor adjustments, I was able to recreate the same taste and texture but with less fat and calories. "Spinach, toasted almonds and bits of dried cranberries are tossed together in a bowl and dressed with a sweet and tangy vinegar and oil dressing full of sesame and poppy seeds."


¾ cup almonds, blanched and slivered
1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces (9 oz bag of baby spinach from your produce section works great)
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/3 cup white sugar (Splenda worked great for us)
2 teaspoons minced onion (try grating it if you have eaters who don’t care for onions)
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ cup white wine vinegar (or other white vinegar)
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup vegetable oil


1. Toast the almonds quickly and without any fat! Put the almonds on a plate and microwave for 30 seconds on regular temperature. Move them around a bit and then microwave them for another 20 seconds. Let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil.
4. Toss with spinach just before serving.


  • Try adding crushed sugared pecans.
  • This recipe is also fantastic with walnuts, pine nuts or pecans! Or you can also toast your nuts in oven: I just spread them on a baking sheet and baked them dry at 400 degrees for 5-8 min, watching to make sure they didn't burn. If all fails, I love using Almond Accents to save time.
  • Great additions to this salad would be crumbled bleu cheese, crumbled goat cheese, sliced strawberries (in lieu of the cranberries), crumbled bacon, or grilled chicken.
  • If you don’t have white vinegar, you can use all cider vinegar.

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