Summer berry salad with spinach and almonds is one of my favorite salads and one of the joys of summer. My love of berry salads originated with Panera’s strawberry poppyseed salad. After some investigating, I learned the salad has a whopping 19 net carbs per serving. I have a mission: replace the Panera summer salad with a more keto-friendly salad.
The overall points of this post are that you can have a summer berry salad and keep net carbs low. Plus, you can easily toss together a side (or entrée-sized) salad in as few as five minutes by following the steps below.
Be creative with your salad component choices
The most crucial components of a summer berry spinach salad are: leaves, fruit, cheese, dressing, and maybe something crunchy. There are so many ways to twist this up.
- Great summer greens are spinach and arugula.
- I love crumbly cheese with berry salads, like feta, goat, or blue cheeses.
- I use pre-sliced almonds, but other nuts go just as well, especially walnuts or pecans.
- Dressings switch up the flavor of salad massively. For summer, I rely on Garlic Expressions, creamy Italian, poppy seed, or raspberry vinaigrette. In fact, Kraft makes a raspberry vinaigrette with poppyseed with 2.5 g sugar in a tablespoon! I usually avoid very heavy dressings like ranch. You can still consider blue cheese dressing mixed with balsamic or apple cider vinegar to lighten it.
- Feel free to add more protein. Lunch meat from carved turkey or chicken would keep prep time low and not fundamentally change the flavor of the salad as much as ham would.
- There are a few caveats to the fruit for your salad. As always, remember that raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are the keto-eater’s friend, while blueberries are best avoided (per Cronometer: 18 net carbs per cup compared to 6.6 for raspberries, 6.1 for blackberries, and 8 for strawberries). And for salads, grape tomatoes are also very sweet in summer with reasonable carb counts (about 4-6 net carbs per cup).
3 tricks to berry salad assembly in five minutes
- Use pre-washed leaves as your base. Baby spinach, arugula, and miscellaneous “mixed greens” are typically available at my Kroger. While Panera uses romaine, I enjoy other leaves more, and reserve romaine for Caesar salads.
- Avoid salad components that require chopping. For example, raspberries are bite-size by default; crumbled goat cheese is already crumbled; sliced almonds are already sliced.
- If you want to add protein and are serving for guests, leave the protein whole when you present the salad. Let the guests chop the protein themselves. This works really well for chicken or boiled eggs.
One last tip: if you scale up this recipe for a group, leave it dry (no dressing). Let guests add the dressing themselves. This will prevent the salad leaves from wilting or getting soggy.
Summer Berry Salad with Spinach and Almonds
- 2 oz Fresh Spinach ,Washed
- 1 tbsp Sliced Almonds
- 4-6 Raspberries
- 1 tbsp Goat Cheese ,Crumbled
- 1 tbsp Salad Dressing (your personal choice)
- Place the spinach in a small bowl. Top with almond slivers,goat cheese, and berries.
- Toss with no more than 1 Tbsp salad dressing. Eat immediately, or risk soggy salad leaves!*I used Garlic Expressions salad dressing, with 55 calories and 3 net carbs per tablespoon