If you ask me, this low FODMAP spinach strawberry salad is a wonderful way to ring in the warm weather. Whether you’ve got digestive issues or not, this low FODMAP salad recipe is tasty and classic!
(Updated: January 31, 2021)
I’ve been finding that when spring breaks, suddenly I start craving a LOT more salads…
(There’s never a wrong time to eat a salad, but in my experience salads are just so much more enjoyable when the sun is warm and there’s no snow on the ground!)
Salads are one of those foods that get easily labeled and hyped up by diet culture:
- We are programmed to believe that if we want to be “healthy”, we must choose the salad.
- We are programmed to believe that when we eat a salad it must be as bland as possible if we are “being good” – fat-free cheese/dressing, dressing on the side or even sans dressing.
- Side note: by opting for low-fat or no-fat dressing, we are actually doing a disservice to our bodies because dietary fats help us to absorb all the amazing fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, K) found in leafy greens. Fats also help us to feel fuller and more sustained for longer!
- We begin to believe that “healthy” = “salad” = “rabbit food” = “boring” and not fun or cool.
Nowadays many of us automatically connect salads and dark leafy greens with DEPRIVATION, BORING, or other negative connotations… without even realizing it! 🙁
Why is this a problem? Because it reinforces black-and-white thinking, yo-yo dieting and mind games around food.
Salads can be healthy, delicious and gourmet.
Salads and dark leafy greens in general, when consumed responsibly (whether raw or cooked or juiced), make for an AMAZING tool to help replete vitamin/mineral deficiencies and thus support mental and emotional heath on a cellular level, since our brain is a vital organ which is biochemically impacted by our nutritional status.
Also great for a lot of other things, whether someone has an eating disorder or not.
I rest my case: We need to change the way we talk and think about salads!
Let’s make salads fun again. 😉
First off – don’t choose salad because you “should”; choose salad if it appeals to you and it’s something you enjoy!
Next – make sure you include ALL the macro’s (carbs, proteins, fats) in addition to the veggies so that you are sustained for more than an hour or two.
- This means including some type of carb (i.e. fruit or roasted sweet potatoes or cooked rice/quinoa), protein (cheese, beans, chicken, or hard boiled egg etc.), and fat (dressing, oil and vinegar, sliced avocado and/or nuts). Those are just some ideas. 🙂
This kind is my favorite, and what I’ve been making quite often: Low FODMAP Springtime Spinach Strawberry Splendor Salad.
AKA: a bed of baby spinach tossed with fresh strawberries, sliced cucumbers, creamy goat cheese and crunchy pecans drizzled in a naturally sweetened balsamic glaze… basically a 5-star meal and even good enough to be a dessert!
- We get our energy-boosting carbohydrates from the berries and honey, heart-healthy fats from the extra-virgin olive oil and pecans, vegetarian proteins from the pecans and cheese, fiber from the fruit and veggies, and micro-nutrients (vitamins/minerals) in every bite.
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, arugula, kale, romaine, collards etc. pack the most incredible nutritional punch. Iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene, vitamin K… I could go on. 😉
- One more thing I love about this salad is that the vitamin C from the berries combines with the plant-based iron in the spinach so that the iron converts from “non-heme” to the activated (“heme”) form, becoming more bio-available – readily absorbed by the body. (You can read more about iron and anemia here.)
Enjoy and please share or comment to let me know what you think!
Low FODMAP Springtime Spinach Strawberry Splendor Salad
- Cutting board
- Peeler for peeling cucumbers
- Knife for chopping veggies
- Large salad bowl
- Salad tongs
- Liquid measuring cup for making dressing
- Whisk for dressing
- 1 lb. container of baby spinach washed
- 1 pint strawberries washed and sliced
- 1 large European cucumber washed, peeled, and sliced
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (both low FODMAP) For nut allergies: swap nuts for sunflower seeds!
- 4 oz. or 3/4 cup goat cheese or feta
- Vegan/dairy free alternative: omit the cheese or try Treeline cashew-based probiotic-enriched French style plant-based cheese!
- Optional: for extra protein (esp. if making into a meal versus a side dish), add ~6 to 8 oz. cooked, diced chicken.
- Vegan/vegetarian protein option: add ~6 to 8 oz. firm tofu
Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp real maple syurp (low FODMAP, vegan) GAPS option: swap for raw honey*.
Dressing (do this first):
- Prepare vinaigrette by whisking olive oil, balsamic and maple syrup (or raw honey) in a small bowl until smooth.
- In a large bowl, toss spinach with the vinaigrette dressing (right after dressing has been stirred) then add remaining ingredients. Continue to toss until uniform.