1.5cupsspinachpreferably baby spinach. If using regular spinach, cut the stems and chop roughly
6strawberrieshulled and chopped
Toasting the nuts:
Heat a pan and when it is hot, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the nuts. Toast them for 2 to 3 minutes and remove them from the pan, and set them aside. (No need to add oil)
Prepare the dressing:
In a mason jar or salad dressing mixer, add all the ingredients given under "for the dressing" - poppy seeds, ground pepper, salt, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, and orange juice. Whisk well and set it aside.
Assemble the salad:
In a big salad bowl, add spinach, strawberries, toasted nuts, and cottage cheese.
Just before serving, add the required amount of dressing.
Gently combine. Add avocado if using and serve right away.
I did not toast the poppy seeds, but you can toast if needed. In that case, toast for about 1 to 2 minutes over medium-low heat.
Cheese is optional. You can replace cottage cheese with feta or cheese of your choice.
You can use white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar instead of regular balsamic vinegar.
Adjust spices, honey/maple syrup, and citrus juice as per your taste preference.