Prepare dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients in a cruet or jar with a lid and shake. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before serving.
For the Walnuts
Tear off a 2-ft section of parchment paper for the walnuts to cool on when they're done.
Toast 3/4 cup of walnuts in a skillet over med-high heat for 5-6 minutes until browned in spots. Slide skillet off the heat and pour 1/3 cup pure maple syrup evenly over the walnuts (it should sizzle when it hits the hot pan).
Return to the stove and cook over med-low heat so the maple syrup gently bubbles for about 2 minutes, while stirring. Once the syrup thickens and coats the walnuts, sprinkle a pinch of sea salt evenly over the walnuts.
Pour the candied walnuts out onto the parchment paper, separating any that stick together, and allow to cool about 10 minutes. The maple coating will harden as it sits.
Layer the Salad
Tear any large spinach leaves into bite-size pieces. Layer spinach leaves in the bottom of a large bowl with the sliced strawberries and nuts on top, as desired. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients, and toss. Serve immediately.
Spinach Salad Recipe Variations
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and Mandarin orange segments are a great substitute for the strawberries.
Sub pecans, sliced almonds, or cashews for the walnuts.
Make it nut-free by using sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds in place of the walnuts.
Garnish with a sprinkle of feta or Cotija cheese for a salty punch.
Sub Spring Mix or Power Greens for the baby spinach
Add sliced grilled chicken to make it a main course salad.