Looking for a light, easy to prepare starter or side dish salad? Then you’ve come to the right place! This Baby Spinach Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing is just what you need. Not only is it beautiful on the plate, it’s bright and fresh tasting, too. While many spinach salads call for bacon, this salad is made just with eggs and fresh herbs. Simple, yet still delicious. Directions on how to make perfect hard boiled eggs (both traditional method and in an Instant Pot) are included, too!
Simple Spinach Salad
I love light, fresh and easy to prepare starter or side dish salads. Salads that are light enough not to compete with other dishes I’m serving, while still flavorful enough to be delicious on their own. This Baby Spinach Salad is one of my favorites.
Spinach Salad Dressing Recipe
The Lemon Dijon Dressing blends perfectly with the spinach, eggs and herbs, adds a nice tang, and enhances the fresh flavor of the spinach. Plus, it’s quick and easy to prepare – you can even do all the prep ahead of time!
This scrumptious spinach salad recipe comes from Gary Hardin, an excellent cook and even better friend I knew while living in Amsterdam. It’s the type of recipe my mom loved, which is why we included it in our cookbook, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®. While it calls for just a few ingredients, it’s still delicious – and beautiful on the plate, too.
Lemon Dijon Dressing
Fresh, tangy and light, this delectable Lemon Dijon Dressing calls for just 6 ingredients – lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. And, it takes just minutes to prepare! Here are the easy steps:
- Mash together lemon zest and salt.
In a small bowl, mash together lemon zest and salt (works best with a mortar and pestle, but use a fork if you don’t have one).
- Add mustard and lemon juice.
Whisk in Dijon mustard and fresh lemon juice.
- Add olive oil.
Slowly whisk in extra virgin olive oil.
- Adjust seasonings.
Add additional salt, lemon juice and fresh ground pepper to taste.
How to Make Spinach Salad
Time needed: 22 minutes.
There are four basic steps to making this salad – hard boiling the eggs, preparing the topping, mixing together the dressing and tossing it all together! Here are the details:
- Hard boil eggs.
Hard boil the eggs either in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop – I provide detailed directions for both methods in the recipe card below.
- Prepare the egg and fresh herb topping.
Peel and chop the hard boiled eggs and fresh herbs. Mix together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Prepare the Lemon Dijon Dressing.
See the details above – and in the recipe card!
- Toss salad; sprinkle with topping.
Toss the spinach lightly with some of the dressing. Either place the spinach on a serving platter or divide among 6 individual salad plates. Sprinkle egg and herb mixture over the top.
When to Add the Dressing for Spinach Salad
Toss the spinach with the Lemon Dijon Dressing right before serving, so the spinach doesn’t wilt. You want your salad to be fresh and crispy!
Spinach Salad FAQ
For this spinach salad, I definitely recommend using baby spinach leaves. They are lighter and more delicate, blending better with the other flavors. For wilted spinach salads, I prefer more mature spinach, as it tends to hold up – and taste – better when cooked.
If your baby spinach didn’t come pre-washed (it will say on the bag/plastic container), then you should wash it in cold water. The leaves should be dry before tossing, allowing the dressing to adhere. I also like to remove the longer stems. They are edible, but I think the salad looks better without them!
Just about anything goes with this salad! I prefer not to overdo an ingredient in my menu planning, so I would not serve it with a lemony main dish. Given its lightness, this salad pairs really well with heavier dishes like beef or pasta.
Yes, definitely! In fact, virtually all spinach salads call for raw spinach. Even in a traditional wilted spinach salad, raw spinach is tossed with a warm or hot dressing to wilt the leaves, so even in that the of dish the spinach isn’t cooked.
Given how easy it is to make your own salad dressings, I’m not a big fan of purchased dressing. Homemade tastes fresher, is more flavorful and better for you. However, if you’re in a pinch and have to buy one, make sure to take a look at the ingredients. Try to find one with less added sugar and salt, and avoid ones with corn syrup or artificial additives and preservatives.
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Note: This post is an update to an older one from a few years ago. I’ve taken new, better photos, added more discussion, as well as included directions on how to hard boil eggs!
Prepared with eggs and fresh herbs, this Baby Spinach Salad is a light, easy to prepare starter or side dish. A tangy Lemon Dijon Dressing keeps it bright and fresh.
- 2 large eggs
- handful of fresh green herbs – parsley, chives, tarragon and/or basil
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 to 6 cups fresh baby spinach, longer stems removed
Hard-boiled eggs – Instant Pot method
- Place wire rack (or steamer basket) in Instant Pot along with 1 to 1 1/2 cups water.
- Place eggs on rack, spacing out as evenly as possible. (I cook 4-6 at a time, refrigerating the extra for another recipe.)
- Seal and cook on high for 7 minutes if eggs were at room temperature, 9 minutes if not. When timer goes off, release pressure, following the “quick release” method.
- Carefully remove eggs (they will be hot!) and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Let rest in water until eggs are cold to the touch.
Hard-boiled eggs – traditional method
- In a large saucepan, place eggs in one layer and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes (cook for longer time if at higher altitude or eggs weren’t at room temperature).
- Remove pan from heat and leave eggs in hot water for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Drain and run place eggs in a bowl of ice water until cooled.
Egg and Fresh Herb topping
- Peel and chop the hard boiled eggs and herbs; mix together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Lemon Dijon Dressing
- In a small bowl, mash together the lemon zest and salt (works best with a mortar and pestle, but use a fork if you don’t have one).
- Whisk in the mustard and the lemon juice.
- Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
- Add additional salt, lemon juice and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Toss the spinach lightly with some of the dressing.
- Either place spinach on a serving platter or divide among 6 individual salad plates; sprinkle egg and herb mixture over the top.
Make ahead: Eggs can be hard boiled up to 5 days in advance and refrigerated. Dressing can be made up to 24 hours ahead, covered and refrigerated.
Keywords: spinach, salad, hard boiled eggs, fresh herbs