Spinach Salad with Raisins and Walnuts

Spinach might be the most “ugh” vegetable we know, even though lots of people love it. This salad recipe is perfect if you’re not sure about spinach. It’s not exactly raw and it’s not exactly cooked. The spinach wilts a little in the hot dressing and gives you the best of both worlds, and the nuts and dried fruit add just the right crunch and sweetness. Give it a try — you might turn out to like it after all! 

If you’ve got favorite ingredients, consider adding them! For example, our Kids Advisory Board member Janie Wilson prefers this salad with pecans and goat cheese instead of walnuts and the cheeses we suggest. Sounds good to us!

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Hands-on time: 15   |    Total time: 15   |    Makes: 4 Servings


Cutting board
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Salad bowl
Small skillet
Measuring spoons
Large skillet
Measuring cup
Pot holders
Tongs or salad servers


1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach leaves (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar (any kind you like)
1⁄4 cup coarsely chopped toasted *walnuts
1⁄4 cup raisins (any color) or dried cranberries
1⁄4 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese or grated Parmesan cheese


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Put the spinach in the salad bowl and set aside.
  2. Put the skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Add the oil and garlic and cook until the garlic is just sizzling and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the salt, pepper, and vinegar to the pan.
  3. Carefully pour the hot dressing over the spinach and toss. Add the remaining ingredients and toss again. Serve right away.



No fresh garlic? No problem! Substitute teaspoon garlic powder, and add it with the salt and pepper. (Just heat the oil by itself for a minute or two first.)

* If you or anyone you’re serving is allergic to walnuts, skip them or swap in sunflower seeds or something else crunchy you can eat.