Nutrient-dense berries do double duty in this summery lunch. They add natural sweetness to the strawberry–poppy seed dressing, and they give the spinach salad a wonderful burst of color and flavor.

Note: The strawberry poppy–seed vinaigrette tastes best if you use only the soft, flavorful red parts of the strawberries, so cut off the stems and the berries’ white matter (hulls) before adding them to the blender. It keeps well in the refrigerator in a sealed container, up to a week.

Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes

1 16 oz. container strawberries (about 20 large), tops removed
1 small shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. poppy seeds
4 ounces baby spinach (about 4 big handfuls)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pickled red onions (recipe follows), optional

Slice half the strawberries and set them aside for the spinach salad. Remove the hulls from the remaining berries so that only the red parts remain, and coarsely chop.

Place the chopped strawberries, shallots, vinegar, salt and a few grindings of pepper in a blender, and blend on high until smooth. Add the oil and poppy seeds, and blend again. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed and transfer to a serving container.

Place the spinach, feta, walnuts, onions and reserved strawberries in a large bowl. Add strawberry–poppy seed vinaigrette (to taste) and toss the spinach salad just before serving.

Quick Pickled Red Onions

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Keeps well in a sealed container, up to 2 weeks.