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Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese

This Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese is a delicious way to get some greens on the holiday table, and this makes a lovely salad for Christmas too! And this tasty salad is low-glycemic (if you use the cranberries conservatively), gluten-free and South Beach Diet Phase Two. Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like these.

Click here to PIN this Thanksgiving Spinach Salad!

Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese [found on KalynsKitchen.com]

I’m always on a quest for Carb-Conscious Thanksgiving Recipes at this time of year, but truthfully some of the Thanksgiving recipes I created in the very early days of the blog are still my favorites. Back in 2007 I spent a couple of hours looking through 20 years of November issues of my favorite food magazines and then marched into the kitchen and came up with this Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese without a recipe except the one I made up in my head. I’ve served this many times through the years, and it’s always been a hit!

Dried cranberries are traditional for Thanksgiving and I think the small amount used here really gives the salad a Thanksgiving feel. Still, dried fruits are higher in concentrated sugar than fresh fruit, so if you’re a low-carb eater or a South Beach dieter, be sure to use a small amount of dried cranberries compared to other ingredients. Of course if you’re making this on Thanksgiving Day this salad is still going to be a pretty healthy alternative compared to many Thanksgiving foods, even if you splurge on the dried cranberries, so enjoy!

(Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese was updated with better photos, November 2015!)

Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese [found on KalynsKitchen.com]

Whisk together the white balsamic vinegar, agave nectar (or sweetener of your choice), olive oil, and salt to make the dressing. Measure out the salad toppings.(Thanks to Ree for the cute measuring cups that came in the mail!) Toss the spinach with the dressing (you might not need it all) and top each salad with the almonds, goat cheese, and dried cranberries. That’s all there is to this delicious salad.

Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese [found on KalynsKitchen.com]

I promise, this salad will be a big hit on the Thanksgiving table. If some people don’t like goat cheese, use Feta or Parmesan for a salad that will still be delicious.

Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese [found on KalynsKitchen.com]

Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese
(Makes 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

5-6 oz. baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
2-3 oz. goat cheese (the type that comes in a log; Costco brand is good)

Dressing Ingredients:
1 T white balsamic vinegar (could use regular balsamic)
1/2 tsp. Agave nectar (or use your favorite sweetener)
2 T olive oil
pinch of salt


Wash spinach if needed and spin dry, then place in large bowl. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, agave nectar and salt, then whisk in olive oil. Toss spinach leaves with dressing (you may not need all the dressing if you prefer your salads on the dry side). Arrange spinach on individual serving plates and sprinkle each salad with dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and goat cheese. Serve right away.


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Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Dried cranberries are relatively high in sugar, so even with the small amount used in this recipe, this salad is definitely a splurge for South Beach Phase Two and probably too high in carbs for a low-carb eating plan. If you don’t want to splurge, the salad will still be delicious without the cranberries.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

More Thanksgiving Ideas with Cranberries:
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon, Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Parmesan ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Green Beans with Pecans and Cranberries ~ eCurry

Trina’s Low-Sugar Fresh Cranberry Salsa with Cilantro, Lime, and Jalapeno ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries Stir Fry ~ Diethood

Thanksgiving Green Bean Salad with Blue Cheese, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen

Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese found on KalynsKitchen.com

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27 comments on “Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese”

  1. Kalyn, this looks really fantastic.

    Here, cranberries are not common and dried ones are only just making it onto the scene. Also goats cheese is relatively expensive. But the dish looks so delicious, so simple yet really inviting. I am going to save it for our summer holiday season (Dec – Jan).

  2. I love dried cranberries, and hats off, really, to Ocean Spray for marketing them now as “craisins.” You can find them in my local markets in the produce section, near the nuts and other dried fruits.

  3. Great salad Kalyn and it’s funny how 2 people can be thinking about the same foods. I was going to post my spinach salad today but now I’ll wait a bit!

  4. Peter, never too many spinach salads. Please post yours and I will add it to my links!

  5. You’re the best resource for fresh food recipes…they are always amazing!!!

  6. What a lovely recipe, Kalyn … definitely one to try, even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a beautiful looking winter salad, full of goodness – just what’s wanted when there’s no lettuce or other salad greens

    Thanks for sharing!


  7. This looks yummy. I’ve made salads that are similar using toasted pinenuts or candied nuts instead of almonds. Almonds are probably way more healthy.
    I’ve never tried agave necture though.
    Looks good.

  8. Looks really good. Anything with goat cheese. This could probably be on a Christmas buffet also.

  9. I like this recipe Kalyn, I lke spinach so Gloria

  10. Kalyn I really hope you were downloading a LOT of photos or your downloading is really slow otherwise you’re really woofing your food ;))
    The salad looks and sounds really fabulous and one I know I will be making. I can never be getting too much spinach or cranberries.

  11. Meeso, thanks! I try to find interesting things to cook.

    Joanna, I agree, perfect for winter.

    Chigiy, agave nectar is really very tasty, and it’s completely natural. The amber type tastes a lot like honey.

    Helene, great idea. I didn’t think about the colors, but it looks very Christmas-like.

    Gloria, me too, thanks.

    Tanna, laughing here. I usually have 100+ photos, so it does take a while. I will try to eat more slowly and not wolf down my food! I promise!

  12. Yum! This is a salad I could grab onto! I love dried cranberries. Funny thing is – I remember interning at an ad agency in college in Boston on the Ocean Spray account…They had me in an office once, glueing a “new product” to fill a map of the US – a product they called Craisins. If I knew then what I know now!

  13. i am always at a slight loss when it comes to making salads and coming up with interesting ingredients for them.
    this one sounds delicious. perfect for thanksgiving indeed!

  14. I love dried cranberries! I just made a similar salad (right down to the goat cheese). I’ve found that grape seed oil is a really nice alternative to olive oil in salad dressings. My dressing for my similar salad was white basalmic, grape seed oil, a little bit of all fruit raspberry jam (the natural sugars might now work with the diet you are on), and a squirt of a course ground mustard.

    I don’t usually comment here but I’ve recently fallen in love with dried cranberries so I thought I would say hi.

  15. That’s just the way I cook – “er, um, what needs using up in the fridge? Oh I know, we’ll make this!” The only problem is that selection of ingredients seldom coincides so fortuitously in my fridge again 😉 Salad looks awesome. I’m a late arrival on the cranberry scene but am now addicted to dried cranberries…

  16. ohhhhhhhhhhhh I am certainly going to do this salad it looks fabulous.. our wedding is the weekend before Tgiving .. so this will be an easy salad to make… for Tgiving.. not too much work.. and I love stuff that looks and tastes like I worked harder than I did LOL

  17. Very good. I make a baby spinach salad with craisins (well, fruit-sweetened organic dried cranberries these days), the occasional grape tomato, nuts (sliced almonds are my fave) and crumbled blue cheese with a maple-balsamic vinaigrette (equal measures balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil–but agave nectar would be a perfect sub). I’m actually planning that salad to go with my Tgiving meal–along with another favorite: pureed white beans instead of mashed potatoes! Mmm!

  18. Looks great! I love dried cranberries in my salad…I usually do one with feta, almonds, and craisins, with a maple mustard dressing! So pretty for fall/winter too!

  19. Yum! I love all these ingredients & especially like the addition of cranberries. Cheers! Heather

  20. I buy all ingredients for this at Trader Joe's. Delicious salad! I make it often.

  21. This is just like one that I make often, I just never had a recipe. Would like your permission to share this on my site (giving you credit, of course).

    • Dawn, I give permission to share the photo if accompanied by a link to get the recipe from my site (and as long as the recipe itself is not reprinted with the photo.) Thanks; glad you like it.

  22. Love this recipe Kalyn–so glad you reposted it!

  23. I love the goat cheese – it adds a creaminess and slightly tart flavor to balance the sweetness of the cranberries. Lovely salad!

  24. Pingback: CT FM 030: December Foods In Season ⋆ Recipe This

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