Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed Dressing and Spinach Bleu Cheese Salad

Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed DressingI’m not gonna lie, this poppyseed salad dressing tastes really good without the poppyseeds. I know, because I made it again yesterday, trying (in vain) to shake out the last 12 poppyseeds stuck to the bottom of my empty jar.

Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed DressingBut it still tastes amazing. I guess Poppyseed dressing sounds better than Mustardy Oil and Vinegar. And I will say that I do really like the hint of flavor the poppyseeds add.

Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed Dressing

Poppyseed-less dressing is one thing, but listen to this: One of Eric’s old coworker’s (who is LDS like us, and doesn’t drink alcohol) was at a business lunch one time. Everyone at the table was ordering fancy cocktails. He decided to branch out:

“I’d like a virgin mimosa please!”

Waitress: “So you want…a glass of orange juice?”

Speaking of Mormons, have you guys ever been to Cafe Zupas? It’s a Utah chain. I love the place. Good, cheap food, mostly soups and salads. I have a copycat version of their Easy Cheddar Cauliflower Soup and it never fails.

Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed Dressing
Their most famous salad is called the Nuts About Berries Salad. It’s very sweet, with lots of different berries and cinnamon-candied almonds. It’s topped off with this Poppyseed dressing.
Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed Dressing
I love the dressing but the salad itself is a little on the sweet side for me. So I left out most of the berries, didn’t candy the almonds, and I added bleu cheese for a little savory bite. I love this dressing because I usually have the ingredients on hand. And there are only 7 of them. 6 if you omit the champagne poppyseeds. This dressing is the best because it does a magnificent  job covering up the taste of spinach. (Always a plus in my book).
Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed Dressing

 P.S. Spellcheck did not scold me about the fact that the second word in this post is “gonna.” This concerns me. Even our computers are getting dumber guys.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Copycat Cafe Zupas Poppyseed Dressing and Spinach Bleu Cheese Salad

Yield: Serve 6


    For the Poppyseed Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I used half canola, half olive)
  • For the salad:
  • 16 ounces baby spinach
  • about 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 6 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


  1. Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Toss all the salad ingredients except the almonds in a very large bowl. Add as much of the dressing as you want. Add the almonds. Toss and serve immediately.


This is a salad recipe, not a croissant recipe. If you want more almonds or less bleu cheese, embrace it.

Source: dressing recipe from The Pretty Life Anonymous

Long live salad:

Bleu Cheese Dressing Recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen

Sweet Sensation Salad with Blush Onion Vinaigrette from It’s Always Autumn

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch from Will Cook for Smiles

Fail-Proof Honey Mustard Salad Dressing from Heather’s Dish

And poppyseeds: Meyer Lemon Bars with Poppyseed Crust from Foxes Love Lemons <<–These slay me. SLAY i say.





  1. says

    Hah! Spellcheck also tells me problematize is not a word. I beg to differ (though apparently anyone outside of academia has not heard it either…). I do love my salads on the sweeter side so I can imagine loving the original. Even with poppy seeds, sounds lovely!
    Ala recently posted…Friday Wallflavourites: Edition 5My Profile

  2. Malcolm says

    Why do you use Canola Oil ? As an artist, I can say that it makes a pretty good cheap paint thinner, but from what I have read about it, it should not be eaten by human beings in search of good health. The same goes for microwave ovens—they are banned in several European countries because they destroy all of the good things in food. Like enzymes that we have to have to digest the food.

    • says

      Interesting Malcolm! I’ve never heard of canola oil being bad for you. I’ve never sought any research though. To each his own I suppose! Olive oil will work great in this recipe.

      • M says

        Canola (a.k.a rapeseed) oil is not in and of itself unhealthy. There are a couple of issues with it though (sorry for the length of this post).

        First, it’s been suggested that canola oil (and other sources of Omega-6) is being over-consumed displacing other necessary healthy fats from our diets (such as Omega-3 found in fatty fish, flaxseeds and walnuts among other foods).

        Second, unless it’s been certified organic, there’s a good chance the canola seed, from which the oil is produced, is a genetically modified organism (GMO). The “raison-d’être” for GMO canola is so that it can resist the herbicide Roundup/glyphosate (which is sprayed to eliminate weeds competing against canola for space and nutrients in the soil). By consuming “regular” canola oil, you are exposing yourself to two man made substances for which the long term health risks of ingestion are unknown. (There was apparently a study showing that people who spray Roundup for a living have higher rates of stomach cancer than the general population and that’s apparently all that’s known about the safety — or lack thereof — of either one of those products in humans.)

        I choose not to use canola oil, among other products derived from GMOs, because I happen to like monarch butterflies. Their caterpillars feed on milkweed which is one of the weeds targeted by Roundup. I use grape seed oil instead.

        I’m not totally against GMO: apparently GMO tobacco plants are being used to produced experimental drugs (including an Ebola vaccine). But in this case, the plants are usually grown in greenhouses (this is more likely done to protect the plants against industrial espionage but it does limit their ability to contaminate the environment) and the drugs they produce are more extensively monitored and studied than other man made products, such as synthetic herbicides. In short, I’m for the promise of GMO but not its abuse or recklessness.

        • Laura says

          There is no proof that GMOs contaminate the environment. There is ample proof that GMOs are needed to feed the growing population. I don’t use canola oil due to the fact it goes bad fast. A lot faster then olive oil. There’s a reason but I don’t remember off the top of my head. :/ I don’t use it fast enough and for someone who builds up food storage, stocking up on an oil that goes bad fast didn’t make sense to me. I’ve replaced all use of it with extra light olive oil and I don’t have any more problems with rancid oil.

  3. says

    Karen! I am laughing SO much about ordering a “virgin mimosa” Haha! That’s a fancy way to order orange juice.

    This salad is my kind of salad. I love poppy seed dressing. Those little specks sure do make dressing better.

    Have a great 3 day weekend friend!
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely recently posted…Five Things for FridayMy Profile

  4. says

    I love bleu cheese with all my heart, but no one in my family can stand it. This fact depresses me beyond words. But I may just have to make this beautiful salad anyway. To heck with the haters!
    Ami recently posted…A belly full of fear.My Profile

  5. says

    Hahaha, love your story about your husband’s coworker! I’m pretty ignorant of fancy alcoholic beverages myself and having babies doesn’t help me learn any faster. ;) Oddly enough, I missed bleu cheese crumbles during pregnancy more than alcohol. This looks so delicious and makes me glad that I can eat bleu cheese in salads without guilt now!
    Claire @ Lemon Jelly Cake recently posted…You’re the best mom (for your children)My Profile

  6. says

    I’ve slayed you? Oh no, I hope you’re OK ;)

    I have to admit, for a long time I’ve sort of been freaked out by strawberries in otherwise savory salads. But this spring, I keep seeing recipes that include strawberries and I’m thinking they look sooo good. And I think this one just set me over the top! Giving this a go next week!
    Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons recently posted…Chicken Gyro Salad with Yogurt DressingMy Profile

    • says

      Cafe Zupas is the best right Deborah?? I could eat soup and salad for days. And no, I live in Sacramento, but we just moved here 1.5 years ago from Orem (my husband and I met at BYU and then he worked at UVU for a few years). Too bad we’re not close enough to get together!


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