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Spinach Salad with Soy Dressing and Popcorn Croutons


I’m always looking for a fun crunch topping to add to my salads. Of course, toasted nuts such as sunflower seeds would work here too. Fresh popcorn sprinkled on top is not only on trend but also makes for Instagram-worthy photos and lots of opinionated fun conversation. I like to use homemade popcorn because I can season it to match the salad, but feel free to use a good-quality, fresh and crunchy store-bought variety too.


Prepare the Salad

1. Make the dressing: Whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, shallot, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, ginger, honey, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream until emulsified.
2. In a large bowl or on a platter, place spinach, cucumber, radish, snow peas, and scallions. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Top with popcorn and serve.

Prepare the Popcorn

1. Add oil and two popcorns kernels to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Cover and wait for the kernels to pop, which might take a few minutes.
2. Once the kernels pop, turn off the burner, remove from heat and let it cool for about one minute, then pour in remaining popcorn kernels. Cover and give the pot a little shake to distribute the kernels evenly.
3. Put the pot back over medium heat and continue cooking the popcorn, carefully shaking the pot occasionally to cook the kernels evenly. Once the kernels start popping, tip the lid just a touch to allow steam to escape slightly.
4. Continue cooking until the popping sound slows to about one pop every few seconds. Remove the lid and pour popcorn into your serving bowl. Sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, to taste, and any other topping you would like. Toss well and serve immediately, for best flavor and texture, or within a few hours.


Photography by Chay Berger