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This tomato spinach salad is a simple, but delicious rendition of a basic chopped spinach salad, tossed with juicy cherry tomatoes and fresh shaved Parmesan. It takes only minutes to bring this quick dinner salad together, vinaigrette included!
As a blogger, I spend a LOT of time working on recipes, which means a lot of standing in the kitchen working out kinks. Sometimes by the time dinner rolls around I want clean, simple, to the point food that my family will still enjoy, but won’t take me forever to get on the table.
This super simple chopped spinach salad with tomatoes and Parmesan is tossed in a light homemade basil balsamic vinaigrette and often appears on our dinner table as an easy side dish. The combo of juicy tomatoes, sweet and herbaceous vinaigrette, and salty cheese is all the spinach needs to be the perfect bite. Try this salad for a perfect example of how simple from scratch cooking can be!
The ingredient list couldn’t be much simpler! I’ve included the recipe for my preferred vinaigrette, but you can also toss this with your vinaigrette of choice!
- Spinach – I prefer fresh whole spinach which I wash, store and chop myself. You can of course use baby spinach if you prefer that.
- Parmesan cheese – If you have or want to get parmigiano reggiano (real, authentic Italian parmesan), please do! It’s delicious! But also expensive, I’m using an american Parmesan here.
- Cherry tomatoes – I think the sweet bite of cherry or grape tomatoes works best in this kind of salad, but if you have bigger fresh tomatoes that you’d like to use, they work too.
For the Vinaigrette (optional)
- Salt – Essential for the vinaigrette, and also a secret to the salad!
- Pepper – For the vinaigrette, you’ll need some fresh cracked pepper.
- Olive oil – A nice, fresh olive oil is the key to a good homemade vinaigrette.
- Canola oil – I like to blend oils in my vinaigrette to make them cheaper to make, but also to prevent the olive oil from solidifying in the fridge when I store extra.
- Balsamic vinegar – I like one that’s been aged a little, but isn’t too syrupy.
- Basil – A handful of fresh basil leaves go into the vinaigrette, and really enhance the salad.
TIP for storing fresh greens: Dark greens stay good in your fridge longer when washed and dried. When you get home with your spinach, immediately wash, dry, and store in an airtight, but not compact container (think a large Tupperware, or ziploc bag that doesn’t compress the greens.) They’ll stay crisp and vibrant for longer!
How to MAke A Chopped Spinach Salad
Simple ingredients, simple process, delicious and satisfying flavor. What more can I say?
- I like to make my vinaigrette first, simply combine the ingredients into a jar and shake like crazy for a few minutes until the dressing comes together!
- For the salad simply wash and dry your spinach, a salad spinner is insanely useful for this, I use mine CONSTANTLY. Then give it a rough chop.
- Slice your tomatoes and shave your cheese, I use a vegetable peeler like this to shave hard cheeses and it works like a charm.
- When you’re ready to serve the salad, lightly sprinkle the greens with a pinch of salt, then add a drizzle of the vinaigrette around the outside of the bowl, rather than dumping it on top. I use 1 to 2 tablespoons.
- Toss the salad by gently moving the greens on the outside of the bowl down and then under, like you’re folding cake batter, so that they all gently get coated with the vinaigrette clinging to bowl without becoming soggy in one area.
- If you’re serving in one big bowl, add your toppings, or separate into portion sized bowls and add toppings in each.
- Just before serving, drizzle the tops of the salad with a touch more vinaigrette. Serve and enjoy!
Interested in making a different vinaigrette for this salad? Check out my How to Make A Vinaigrette Guide for ideas and tips!
I don’t recommend doing much ahead of time aside from washing your greens and making the vinaigrette. The cheese will dry out, tomatoes would need to be refrigerated after slicing (the cold greatly affects flavor and texture), and dressing the salad too far in advance would lead to soggy greens.
Serve your salad within 15 minutes of making it for best quality.
Of course! I usually have Romano, Asiago, and Parmesan in my fridge and have used them all on this type of salad frequently.
That depends on your appetite! I’d say 2 large dinner salads (could be your entire dinner, especially with sliced chicken added!), or 4 side salads.
When making salads with leafy greens, toppings inevitably fall to the bottom of the bowl where they sit in a puddle of dressing. By dressing the greens first (and by dressing them lightly with the technique I suggest) you avoid the puddle, and you actually get a bite of toppings with your greens. How it’s composed makes a big difference!
I hope this fills a gap in your weekly meal plan when you need some quick and easy, but still flavorful! I must make this salad once a week when tomatoes come in season, and I’d love to hear it becomes a favorite for you too. Below are a few suggestions for what to serve with it! Until next time, happy eating!
Serve This with…
- Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce
- Dr. Pepper Braised Short Ribs
- Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
- Crispy Chicken Sandwiches with Avocado
- Citrus Soy Grilled Chicken
- 6 cups spinach chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs canola oil
- 1/2 tbs fresh basil, finely sliced about 2-3 leaves
Add all the ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until it comes together, a minute or two. Set aside.
Wash and dry spinach, then chop roughly and add to a bowl.
Slice tomatoes in half and shave cheese, set both aside separately.
Lightly salt the spinach and pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette around the outside of the bowl. Toss the spinach in a folding motion, gently incorporating the vinaigrette until it is all lightly coated.
Keep in large bowl for serving, or portion spinach into individual serving bowls. Add toppings to top of spinach.
Lightly drizzle another teaspoon or two of vinaigrette over the top of the tomatoes and Parmesan once added.