Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad


It’s that time of year where most of us could probably use a few more greens in our diet between all those cookies :). Here is a simple Cranberry Spinach Salad with a Sesame Seed Dressing that would be perfect to serve on Christmas. It’s got the perfect blend of sweet + savory + toasted crunchy goodness and you’ll love every last bite of it. This salad is a breeze to make and the only chopping required is for the shallot, gotta love that!

Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad with Sesame Seeds Dressing | Cooking Classy

For this recipe you can use either store bought toasted sesame seeds or you can toast up some white sesame seeds yourself. I toasted my own but I’m sure I didn’t get them golden enough. I tried to toast the almonds and sesame seeds at the same time and the almonds browned quicker surprisingly, so lesson learned. Next time I’ll toast the almonds in the oven on the cookie sheet then the sesame seeds just in a skillet. It was still completely delicious though plus with how easy it was to make I’m sure this will making plenty of appearances on my dinner table! I also didn’t add poppy seeds this time around, next time I’ll add them and see which way I like it better. I’m sure it would even be good with just poppy seeds and no sesame seeds. That’s the beauty of making a salad, they’re so versatile and there’s always room to switch things up.

Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad with Sesame Seeds Dressing | Cooking ClassyCranberry Almond Spinach Salad with Sesame Seeds Dressing | Cooking Classy Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad with Sesame Seeds Dressing | Cooking Classy


Cranberry Almond Spinach Salad

4.83 from 17 votes

Yield: About 8 servings



  • 16 oz baby spinach
  • 1 cup almonds , toasted
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Sesame Seed Dressing

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp finely minced shallot
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds , toasted
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional)


  1. For the dressing: In a bowl or jar whisk together white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in olive oil, honey, shallot, sesame seeds (your sesame seeds should look more golden than mine - I didn't toast mine long enough) and optional poppy seeds until mixture is well blended.
  2. For the salad:
  3. Add spinach, almonds and cranberries to a salad bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Serve immediately after adding dressing.
  4. Recipe source: adapted from Allrecipes


  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar: I love the dressing on this salad – there’s something about sesame dressing with almonds that gets me so excited to eat my greens! December 12, 2015 at 6:31am Reply

  • Dave C: This has been my wife’s go to salad for parties for several years. Always well received, the bowl comes home empty every time. A great dish not limited to the holiday table. December 12, 2015 at 8:19am Reply

  • SeaFooD Recipes: wow! i just try this its so yummy and its looks healthy too. thanks for this special recipe. December 12, 2015 at 10:33am Reply

  • Laura ~ RYG: Classy is just the right word here. So stunning visual presentation =) December 14, 2015 at 6:06am Reply

  • Claire Adams: This is a fabulous recipe! I have tried it several times, with variations; every time it has been amazing! I have to quadruple it for Christmas, but no big deal. I love it!! Thanks so much! December 22, 2015 at 8:26pm Reply

  • Danielle: This was so delicious! Easy to make. The dressing was especially yummy on the salad. Thanks for the inspiration and the notes about toasting times for the almonds and he sesame seeds. My Christmas guests all lived and ate several servings! December 25, 2015 at 9:11pm Reply

  • Laura Dembowski: I eat tons of salads so I’m always looking for new ways to make them more exciting. This sesame dressing is totally going to do that! December 27, 2015 at 6:41am Reply

  • Sean John: Wow! That looks yummy salad. I have eaten entree salads in a Mexican food court twice of thrice but don’t know how to make it. Can you tell me the procedure for preparing entree salads or caesar salad as well? January 1, 2016 at 1:51am Reply

  • Sharlene rivera: Do you refrigerate left over dressing???? May 31, 2016 at 5:59pm Reply

  • Connie: I made this for Mother’s Day and everyone just loved the salad .. The dressing was delicious. June 27, 2016 at 7:27am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad it was a hit Connie! June 29, 2016 at 11:22am Reply

  • Karin: My 5 kids just ate spinach! WITHOUT complaint! Fantastic recipe, Thank You July 19, 2016 at 5:23pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome! So glad they loved it. July 20, 2016 at 12:20pm Reply

  • NormaLou: This salad is absolutely delicious. I made it for the first time yesterday and took it to a potluck at our lodge and it was a hit. Even my hubby, who doesn’t care much for vineigrette dressings said it was great. So, its a keeper. Oh yes, I only made one change to the dressing…. I added a TBSP of Dijon mustard. September 8, 2016 at 11:22am Reply

  • Iteach: I added about 2 T of kikkoman sweet soy glaze to the sauce. It was amazing! October 15, 2016 at 4:45pm Reply

  • Andrea Brewster: I’m having trouble dissolving the sugar in the olive oil as the recipe directs. Any hints? October 22, 2016 at 2:07pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Maybe try a blender. October 23, 2016 at 11:40am Reply

      • Andrea Brewster: After doing a little research, I found out sugar doesn’t dissolve in oil. I added the combination of the rest of the ingredients to the sugar and oil, and it made a sort of emulsion. It was delicious. Thank you for this recipe. October 23, 2016 at 1:16pm Reply

        • Jaclyn: So I’ve updated the instructions, sugar does dissolve well in vinegar so if you mix those together first next time you make it then add the oil it should work out better. I appreciate your feedback! October 24, 2016 at 12:03am Reply

          • Tamie: Has anyone tried Splenda as a substitute for the sugar? April 13, 2017 at 4:12pm

    • HEATHER SMITH: Recipe directs u to dissolve it in vinegar before adding olive oil December 17, 2017 at 4:42pm Reply

    • Ljh: Try microwaving it for 15 seconds or more if needed then chill in refrigerator December 28, 2017 at 9:15am Reply

  • Melissa D.: I got this recipe from a friend about 10 years ago and we LOVE it! Every time I make it for a potluck or dinner party, people ask for the recipe! October 30, 2016 at 10:40am Reply

  • Charlene: Is it possible to make this without the sugar and just use the honey in place of it? I have a guest who cannot eat white sugar. December 22, 2016 at 12:46am Reply

  • Sue: Fantastic recipe. I actually forgot the oil by mistake. Seemed fine to me. I also added about 75 grams of cubed Brie cheese. Great for a summer BBQ. Thanks for this awesome recipe. December 23, 2016 at 11:19am Reply

  • Ashley: Simple and delicious. Really no need for the white sugar, though. Made it with just the honey and had a perfect sweetness with a tiny bit of tang. Pinning for later! January 6, 2017 at 12:29pm Reply

  • Kristen: I love this salad. Tastes so good! I make it at least twice a week. Thank you! January 15, 2017 at 2:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy you love it Kristen! January 31, 2017 at 11:45am Reply

  • Vickie: I add some grilled chicken strips for a main meal on a hot summer night. April 19, 2017 at 9:47am Reply

  • Doreen: Love this simple salad! So pretty and delish! I dress individual servings right before serving and I leave the remainder undressed for leftovers so spinach doesn’t wilt. Added a bit of feta to mine…it was wonderful. Thanks for a new go to😊 July 31, 2017 at 4:22pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You’re welcome! Thanks for the great review! August 11, 2017 at 12:16pm Reply

  • Cheryl: Has anyone tried adding chicken and feta to make it a main meal??? November 4, 2017 at 8:05am Reply

  • Maria di Crescenzo: I love this salad November 17, 2017 at 11:00am Reply

  • Karen Tanto: Can I make dressing the night before? November 22, 2017 at 8:56am Reply

  • Sherry Otto: How do you toast the almonds, and the sesame seeds, and for how long ? I had a salad one time, that was so delicious, and had these “red things” in it–just loved it !! But always wondered what these were–now I know !! November 24, 2017 at 7:28am Reply

  • Carol: Made this salad a few times. It has always received rave reviews. I followed the directions as written. Would not change anything. Love it December 11, 2017 at 5:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for your feedback Carol! December 12, 2017 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Diane: Can the dressing be made ahead of time? December 14, 2017 at 4:34am Reply

  • Liz Van Hooser: will substituting red wine vinegar for white wine vinegar affect
    the taste? December 16, 2017 at 6:30am Reply

  • Donna: I enjoyed this salad and will definitely make again. December 18, 2017 at 12:08am Reply

  • Kathy Diehl: My husband says this one is hard to beat! December 20, 2017 at 2:21pm Reply

  • Mary Kay: Its easy delicious and very versatile. I made the dressing separately (also kept the shallot separate) so I could eat the salad throughout the week and even longer. You can add different nuts, pepitas, fresh apples,pear, feta etc December 21, 2017 at 8:29pm Reply

  • Karen D: Proclaimed “Delicious” by the whole family! December 27, 2017 at 2:30pm Reply

  • Cassandra: Thanks for sharing the recipe. Can I replace the white wine vinegar with something else? Can’t find it at my place. December 29, 2017 at 11:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Rice vinegar or red wine vinegar would be good since they are also more of a mild vinegar. Hope you enjoy! December 31, 2017 at 11:32pm Reply

  • Claude: Super! December 30, 2017 at 6:37pm Reply

  • pam: We all loved it! It was gone and could have made more! I need to know because I have a granddaughter who eats gluten free because she has to. Is this gluten free? January 1, 2018 at 10:42am Reply

  • susie: i’ve made this several times and it is always terrific, everyone loves it…however, I add crumbled bacon on top. January 7, 2018 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Donna: Delicious! I also added a bit of soy sauce to the dressing, chicken, feta, and fresh orange slices to the salad to make it a full meal. January 18, 2018 at 6:20pm Reply

  • Sherri: Cranberry almond spinach salad January 25, 2018 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Beth Slatnick: Haven’t tried it yet. Looks really good. January 29, 2018 at 8:53am Reply

  • Ron M.: Any idea on the calories/macros for this salad? February 8, 2018 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Zoe Mouskou: Looks fantastic. Will try it immediately. Thank you. February 17, 2018 at 10:44am Reply

  • Phyllis: It was delicious! Has anyone tried this with a hot bacon dressing? March 6, 2018 at 5:55pm Reply

  • Steffi: I have made this several times and everyone LOVES it and asks for the recipe. April 7, 2018 at 9:32am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for leaving a comment! So glad it was enjoyed! April 12, 2018 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Deb: Super easy salad that is very tasty. You can add chicken for additional protein and taste! Have made this salad multiple times. April 13, 2018 at 7:01pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it Deb! April 18, 2018 at 10:42am Reply

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