Super Spinach Salad

There’s this salad that I’ve been obsessed with at Trader Joe’s. It’s called the Super Spinach Salad.

If I need to pick up something quick for lunch at work, I almost always grab this salad.

I’m straight up addicted.  Thankfully, it’s a healthy addiction!

The only problem is that the carrot dressing that comes with the salad adds like a bajillion grams of fat & calories onto this mother load of healthy ingredients.

It seems so unfair.

And then I changed the game. I MADE MY OWN.

Turns out you don’t need a bunch of oil in a salad to make it awesome. This one here happens to be vegan & gluten free too.

I think I just turned this into a Super Super Spinach Salad. Alliteration salad, it is!

And we’re off!

First we make the Carrot Ginger Dressing.

 

Peel the carrots! Chop them up.

Put them in a pot of water & bring to a boil.

Juice the lime, grate some ginger & chop up an onion.

Put the carrots under some cool water.

Add the ingredients sans the carrots into a food processor or blender.

Whirl it up! Now add the carrots.

Bing! Carrot Ginger Dressing. It’s creamy & tangy. It’s Asian inspired.

Now let’s make a salad with it.

This is what I like in my Super Spinach Salad.

There’s actually edamame in the original recipe. Soy makes me bloated. REAL TALK.

I added avocado cuz I love them. End of story.

Pile all of your stuff on.

Bust out a can of garbanzo beans. Rinse. Take out a little bit for your salad.

Chop up tomatoes.

Spoon the carrot ginger dressing on top.

GET DOWN WITH THIS SALAD.

Scrumptious Super Super Spinach Salad. See what I did there?

Super Spinach Salad

serves 2

  • 6 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 small vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 6 tablespoons Carrot Ginger Dressing (see below)
  • salt & pepper

Divide ingredients between two large salad bowls. Place about 3 tablespoons of carrot ginger dressing on each salad and toss. Season with salt & pepper and serve immediately.

 

CARROT GINGER DRESSING:

recipe adapted slightly from Appetite for Reduction, by Isa Moskowitz

makes 8 servings

  • 3/4 pound carrots (about 4-7 medium sized) peeled & sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 big lime)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Fill a 2 quart saucepan with water and carrots and bring up to boil over medium high heat. Boil carrots for 10-15 minutes, until fork tender.  In a food processor, combine the remaining dressing ingredients and process until garlic is finely chopped. Add carrots and continue to process. To thin down the dressing, add more water. Dressing will last up to a week in a covered container and must be kept refrigerated.

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68 Comments

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  • Amanda
    October 10, 2012

    This is my very FAVORITE salad from TJs too! I like that it has lots of protein, and I would totally never put any of these ingredients together on my own. Yay recipe hack!

  • October 10, 2012

    I have favorite salads at Mellow Mushroom and Roly Poly that I about die for. When I realized I could easily make them at home it was like I had a religious experience.

  • October 10, 2012

    I think I broke my husband last night with the huge greek salad I made…he didn’t want me to pack him one for lunch today and chose a banana instead. But, I’m not going to stop loving crazy-good giant salads! This one is on the list…that carrot dressing intrigues me!

  • October 10, 2012

    Super YUM! I have seen that salad at TJ’s, but never made the moves on it. I’ll be making my own now!

  • October 10, 2012

    Yep, yep, yep! I totally blogged about this salad last year. Can’t stop lovin’ it, yo!

  • jenny
    October 10, 2012

    omg I want this RIGHT NOW. I love carrot-ginger dressing.

  • October 10, 2012

    Stellar. Stupendous. Should be in my belly!

    Or at least take a bath in the dressing.

  • October 10, 2012

    Oh my god, Tracy! I’m doing a juice cleanse and am determined to get back into a healthier pattern of eating and I am 100% sure this will be the first dinner I make. LOOKS AMAZING OMG.

    • Tracy
      October 10, 2012

      GOOD JOB, AMY!!!! You’ll love this then. It tastes soo healthy but FANTASTIC.

      • Dona
        October 10, 2012

        I’m on day one of my first blue print cleanse and I thought the same thing. Great recipe for post cleanse!

        • Tracy
          October 10, 2012

          Proud of you!

  • October 10, 2012

    I have been OBSESSED with this exact TJ’s salad for months now but too scared/lazy (sclazy?) to figure out that carrot dressing on my own. Thank you so much for doing it for me!

    • Tracy
      October 10, 2012

      Yaaaay! This dressing is pretty close. The original one is really sweet. This one, not so much! You’ll love it anyways.

  • October 10, 2012

    That dressing looks fabulous. What a salad!

  • Alisa
    October 10, 2012

    I was just proclaiming my love for this salad to a co-worker the other day. It’s so…ohmygodmymouthishappy!

    Your dressing recipe just might be the push I need to invest in a food processor.

  • October 10, 2012

    Gorgeous! I’m going to try this. Thanks for the recipe.

  • October 10, 2012

    Hooray for salads! I’m definitely going to have to make up a batch of that dressing. Somehow the thicker & creamier salad dressings just scream fall to me. :)

  • October 10, 2012

    My mom makes carrot ginger soup every year for Christmas… I have never thought of making it as a salad dressing! That sounds ridiculously good.

    • Tracy
      October 10, 2012

      It’s fantastic and it has just the right amount of sweetness!

  • October 10, 2012

    I love love love this salad and as soon as I saw the photo I knew what it was. I did a rendition of it for my blog too http://www.abbieanderica.com/2012/07/salad-challenge-conclusion.html
    I can’t wait to try your version of the dressing. Why are all TJs dressings so bad for you?! Ugh.

  • October 10, 2012

    That juicer is neat-o!

  • October 10, 2012

    Wow. Om nom nom.

  • Sarah
    October 10, 2012

    I happened to have all the dressing ingredients and most of the salad ingredients today (lucky me, because it’s a rarity) and it came out so good! Even my boyfriend liked it, although he couldn’t love it because it didn’t resemble ranch in any way, healthy things scare him. Will definitely be making this again!

    • Tracy
      October 10, 2012

      SARAH!! That’s fantastic. I’m so glad you liked it. Oh Ranch….why?!! ;)

  • October 10, 2012

    This is such a great idea – recreating your favorite Trader Joe’s salad.
    I eat their salads at least twice a week and it never occurred to me, to try and make my own version.

    Inspiring! :-)

  • October 10, 2012

    definitely saving this. spinach and avocado are two of my favorite things to eat, this is so perfect.

  • October 10, 2012

    I am so making this dressing and will probably smear it on everything! SOUNDS AMAZING!

    Huge spinach salad fan – a few years ago, like 20, I lost a ton of weight eating spinach salad. It feels you up and makes you happy!

    • Tracy
      October 10, 2012

      Wow really? I need to binge on it then!

  • heather
    October 10, 2012

    dang. i am going to bust out this salad real soon. thanks trace

  • October 10, 2012

    I love this salad too!!!! This salad dressing is a total game changer!! I am making it tomorrow! What a sneaky way to get people (kids or my husband who eats like a child)to eat carrots!

    • Tracy
      October 12, 2012

      If you can get my kid to try it, I’ll give you 50 bucks.

  • October 11, 2012

    This looks so good! Is that a special grater for your ginger? It looks porcelain, i’ve only seen metal graters!

    • Tracy
      October 12, 2012

      Yes. It is porcelain. I picked it up at a Japanese dollar store awhile ago. It’s GREAT. I should say it’s GRATE. It works SOOOO well.

  • Bree Moseley
    October 11, 2012

    This is my favorite salad!!!! I only buy it once in awhile to take for lunch on my long clinical days, but now I can’t wait to make it on my own!

  • Kelly
    October 11, 2012

    Gaaa! This salad looks AH-mazing and I’m going to have to make it RIGHT AWAY! I love everything you do, but you KILL ME with your awesome salads! I’ve made Mom’s Green Salad, Sushi Roll Edamame Salad, Everyday Chickpea Salad, a few Slaws as well as Spicy Sunflower Salad with Carrot Dressing! They are SO GOOD! Thanks for another awesome salad!

    • Tracy
      October 12, 2012

      Salad Fan! I love you. I’ll keep making more just for you!

  • October 12, 2012

    I love your real talk. I finally live near a Trader Joe’s but have not tried this salad. Maybe I’ll skip it and make your version instead?

  • Kristine
    October 12, 2012

    I made this salad tonight for dinner (minus the quinoa cause I was out) and it was fantastic! Thanks for another great recipe!!!

  • Bethany
    October 12, 2012

    Okay, I just found your blog via Pinterest, and then I spent about an hour reading through recipes, and then I pinned like over 20 of your main course recipes in 10 minutes… I’m in love with this blog. The photos are beautiful, the food is (mostly) super healthy :) and the I love the way you photograph each step and describe the process. SOOOOO much better than just reading a recipe and seeing the perfect end result photo. I can’t stop reading posts. I’m almost nervous to move on to the dessert category… So glad to be following this blog, and so looking forward to cooking and eating my life away.

  • Kristen
    October 13, 2012

    How many carbs?

  • October 14, 2012

    My favorite TJ’s salad is the Field Fresh Chopped Salad…have you had that one? Pretty please re-create that one next! :)

  • October 15, 2012

    Oh, I so could use some of that salad right now. I hear you about making your own — those commercial dressings scare me!

  • October 15, 2012

    How could I ever want the Trader Joe’s version after seeing this beauty? I love everything in there – great lunch!

  • L.
    October 15, 2012

    this looks amazeballs.

    also: saw this, laughed so hard i nearly peed myself and thought of your intense mayo hate – http://gawker.com/5951836/heres-a-woman-with-a-phobia-of-mayonnaise

  • Bethany
    October 15, 2012

    We had this for dinner tonight! Fantastic! I’m so happy to have found it, and my husband LOVED it. Thanks!

  • Aly
    October 17, 2012

    I made this for dinner last night too. My husband also LOVED it. He took the leftovers to work, and just told me he licked the bowl. The only thing I added to his was chicken because he’s just a guy who likes a protein like meat or fish at dinner.

    Apparently I’m headed back to the store tonight to buy more salad ingredients to go with the extra dressing because he’s dying for more tomorrow. Huge win in my house!

  • October 24, 2012

    Same wavelength Tracy! I’ve been recreating this salad for almost a year now using this carrot miso dressing (http://www.choosingraw.com/carrot-miso-dressing/). It’s really easy – I make it all in the food processor first using the grating blade and then with the standard s blade. It would save you the effort (and extra dishes) of boiling the carrots!

    • Tracy
      October 24, 2012

      Oooh awesome! I’m going to try that. Especially with the miso! Thanks MARTINE!!!

  • Erin
    October 27, 2012

    Hi!

    New reader and first post! I’m super picky and suspected that this recipe my not quite be for me, but boy am I glad that I clicked on this story anyway and looked at the pictures! I consider myself a pretty savvy cook, but I did not know that there was such a thing as a porcelain grater! Can you (or anyone) recommend a place where I can get one? Also, can you use it for zesting fruit? Thanks!

    -Erin

    • Tracy
      October 28, 2012

      I got it at a local Japanese store. I think it was like a dollar? I love it! I’ve never zested fruit with it- and I would imagine that it would pulverize it a bit. I always use my micro-plane for zesting. It’s awesome.

  • Jen
    November 5, 2012

    With a newborn and a sixteen month old I have been kind of obsessed with wanting to eat this salad…didnt get the dressing made round one…but just the combination of spinach avocado and pepitas was amazing..first good salad in a long time!! Thanks for your podcast and site…
    My daughter Larkin goes around saying “depper depper do” after hearing Cooper say it!! So funny!!

  • Shannon
    November 7, 2012

    omg i made this for my lunch this week and i love it! i was getting bored of my salads for lunch and this was perfect!

  • Rachel
    December 31, 2012

    How long would the dressing last in the fridge you think? Going to try this this week and hope my 3 year old likes it :)

    • Tracy
      January 1, 2013

      About 3 days?

  • amanda barkey
    January 5, 2013

    just made this. again. for the gazillionth time… cant get enough!

    • Tracy
      January 6, 2013

      that reminds me….I NEED TO MAKE SOME MORE!!

  • tdata
    January 15, 2014

    I am at work eating the Trader Joe’s version and looking at the label wondering why this is vegetarian and not vegan….

    Thanks for sharing the recipe!! I am thinking of making this at home soon and definitely wouldn’t mind getting rid of the canola oil in the original and subbing some good fat like coconut oil.

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