Berry salad with poppy seed dressing is a potluck classic that celebrates peak berry season.
In this age of year round supermarket berries we take them for granted, and we also lose sight of what makes them magical. Off-season berries may look appealing, but they lack the luscious sweetness and juiciness we’re longing for. When berry season hits we owe it to ourselves to make the most of these incredible fruits. This simple berry salad delivers on the wow factor, for sure.
the berries for berry salad
- fresh mint
- cider vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- poppy seeds
tips for making berry salad
Fruit salads are stunning on a potluck table, but they’re a little finicky. Best practices include:
- Better berries = better berry salad. This is a rule that’s often hard to live by. It’s tempting to grab off-season supermarket berries in the hope that they will magically make the perfect sweet juicy berry salad. But the flip-side is that when you do encounter wonderful berries, keep this recipe in mind. This is an excellent recipe for the height of strawberry season.
- Use a light hand when tossing. Ripe berries are delicate; I like to minimize tossing, and I use thin metal spoons (not clunky wooden salad servers!) When adding the berries to your bowl, layer the different varieties as you add, so they’re already mixed before dressing.
- Add the dressing JUST before serving. Fruit that is sliced, or bruised from tossing, will start to degrade right away.
- Consider creating single servings in jars or plastic cups. Divide the fruit into the cups and then drizzle with dressing ~ no tossing necessary.
variations on berry salad
- Add crumbled goat or feta cheese over the top.
- Add lemon zest.
- Other fruits like grapes, watermelon, or mango can be added.
- We love the crunch of poppy seeds, but you can leave them out if you prefer.
- For the ultimate brunch dish, top your berry salad with grilled shrimp!
make ahead instructions
Do not dress the salad until shortly before serving. If you want to get a head start, you can toss the berries together and refrigerate, undressed. Make the dressing ahead, too. Then toss the salad and dressing just before serving. Do this up to 1 day in advance.
tips for storing fresh berries
- If you need to wash your berries before refrigerating, make sure to dry them thoroughly. Washing introduces moisture, which can lead to spoilage.
- Place the berries in a container that allows air circulation, such as a colander or a loosely covered container. This promotes airflow and helps to prevent moisture buildup.
- Line the container with paper towels to absorb excess moisture, helping to keep the berries dry.
more summer fruit salads
Berry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- 1 lb strawberries, washed and dried
- 1 lb blueberries, washed and dried
- 6 ounces raspberries, washed and dried
- 6 ounces blackberries, washed and dried
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint, sliced in thin ribbons
poppy seed dressing
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Gently toss the berries and mint together in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and taste to adjust anything to your liking.
- Just before serving, drizzle over the salad (you may not need all of the dressing) and gently toss again.
- The salad is best served right away. If you want to make it ahead of time, keep the berries and dressing refrigerated seperately and combine at the last minute.