The only Strawberry Spinach Salad recipe with a homemade balsamic dressing that you will ever need! Healthy, super tasty and a crowd favorite this simple salad takes only 20 minutes to make (including toasting nuts!).

Our other favourite vibrant salad recipes are this simple spinach salad recipe, arugula salad, and this Mexican kale salad.

Strawberry and spinach salad with pecans in a serving bowl.

Making a fresh, beautiful, and colourful salad, like this strawberry spinach salad recipe, has never been so easy! It really is the best salad to make for any sort of gathering as it has something for everyone.

Leafy greens, fresh sweet strawberries, tangy feta, crunchy pecans, and a homemade balsamic dressing without refined sugar are so good! When you’re craving healthy no bake strawberry cheesecake or strawberry yogurt but know you should have some greens, make this salad.

And while it’s not exactly healthy dessert recipes, it’s a wonderful balance of taste. Light, sweet, and that naturally sweet and tangy dressing is so delicious.

Close up pecans, strawberries, red onion and feta for strawberry spinach salad.

Fresh quality ingredients provide vitamins and minerals and it’s entirely flexible, too! Use berry salad dressing, swap pecans for walnuts, or use a different cheese.

And while this salad is perfect for spring celebrations and summer BBQs, swap apples for strawberries in the fall or add squash during winter! Even salad skeptics will happily dig in and enjoy this strawberry salad no matter the season.

How to Make a Strawberry Spinach Salad

Consider these directions as your jumping off point to making this salad your own! Omit what you don’t want or add in more of what you love.

1. Toast pecans: Preheat the skillet well then add nuts and toast them until they’re fragrant. Nuts burn fast once they hit a hot surface, so stir often and don’t walk away. Once toasted, remove them from the heat immediately.

2. Make the dressing: Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and soy sauce with a fork in a bowl. Or shake dressing in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

3. Combine everything: In a large bowl add spinach, chopped strawberries, and onion, toasted pecans, crumble cheese on top. Drizzle with the dressing.

Avoid soggy salad! It’s best to drizzle the dressing on top just before serving. Otherwise, if it sits too long, the salad will become soggy!

Salad Ingredients

  • Spinach: I like to buy pre-washed baby spinach because it is so affordable and convenient. Garden spinach that is coarsely chopped works as well. Spinach is a versatile salad green that can be used not only for salad, but also for healthy spinach dip and hot healthy spinach artichoke dip.

An 11 oz box of baby spinach that goes into this salad contains 69 grams of fiber, 89 grams of protein, and some crazy amount of vitamins A and K!

  • Strawberries: Fresh, plump, sweet, and loaded with vitamin C. Hull and chop in halves or even quarters. I do not recommend using frozen berries as the salad will become extremely soggy, use those in healthy strawberry muffins or healthy strawberry bars!
  • Red onion: This is nature’s antibiotic. It adds zest and keeps the recipe from being too sweet. No need to pre-soak it IMHO.
  • Pecans: Quickly toasted on a skillet- pecan halves add an extra dimension with crispy roasted crunch and deeper nutty flavour.
  • Cheese: Soft goat cheese “melts” into the dressing making it creamier. Whereas feta cheese crumbles are saltier and hold on their own better.

I encourage you to always buy organic spinach and strawberries, and only when they’re in season. According to the Dirty Dozen, these rank at the top of produce heavily sprayed with pesticides that are impossible to wash off.

Strawberry Spinach Salad Dressing

I know homemade salad dressing can be intimidating. Never know what to add and the ratio. But this balsamic dressing is embarrassingly easy to make with only 4 ingredients.

Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • Olive oil: Quality raw extra virgin olive oil would be the best with its deep velvety smooth texture and fruit taste. For example, light olive oil is best for sauteing, has a mild taste, and has fewer health benefits.
  • Balsamic vinegar: Sweet deep balsamic vinegar makes the dressing. You can substitute it with red wine or apple cider vinegar.
  • Maple syrup: Adds sweetness. Honey or agave syrup can be substituted.
  • Soy sauce: I used Bragg’s liquid aminos but regular soy sauce also works. It completes the last requirement for a good salad dressing in a ratio of oil+acid+sweet+salt. You will appreciate its umami flavor in many healthy salad recipes!
Baby spinach, pecans, strawberries, feta cheese, maple syrup ingredients.

Variations and Substitutions

There are so many reasons to love this salad, and one of my favorites is that you can easily swap ingredients to what you have on hand.

What To Serve with This Salad

As is this makes the perfect side salad or starter, but you can easily turn it into a complete meal for a light lunch or dinner!

Serving on Easter or Mother’s Day? End your feast with healthy lemon bars or healthy carrot cake bars!

Can This Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?

This salad is a perfect candidate for Easter or Mother’s Day when strawberries are in season!

If you choose to assemble the salad ahead of time, refrigerate covered salad in a bowl. You can also prepare the components separately and assemble all of it just before serving.

Either way, always keep salad dressing separate in a jar for up to 2 days and add it just before serving. Warm up on a counter for 15 minutes or in a glass with hot water, and give it a shake afterwards.

If you like nuts super crunchy, store them separately in a dry place. Nuts absorb the moisture really in the bowl and fridge fast.

FAQs

What can I use instead of feta cheese?

Soft mozzarella cheese, either cubed or baby mozzarella balls, and crumbled blue cheese would be delish with strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing! Bocconcini or gorgonzola would also be great.

I have an allergy to tree nuts, can I omit the pecans?

Yes! Sunflower seeds would be a great nut free replacement.

Can I add poppy seeds to the dressing?

Sure you can. This strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing is amazing as is, but some people might enjoy adding poppy seeds, while others prefer a squeeze of dijon mustard.

Strawberry and feta spinach salad in a bowl for serving.

More Healthy Salad Recipes

And may I suggest this healthy strawberry smoothie? I know it’s not a salad but it’s SO GOOD!

Strawberry spinach salad with balsamic dressing being poured on salad.
Strawberry spinach salad with feta cheese in a bowl with utensils.

Best Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing

The only Strawberry Spinach Salad with a homemade balsamic dressing that you will ever need! Healthy, super tasty and with tons of substitutions this simple salad takes only 20 minutes to make (including toasting nuts!).
5 from 28 votes
Servings 8 servings (side dish)
Calories 263
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Strawberry Spinach Salad:

  • 1 lb strawberries hulled and sliced in halves (quarters)
  • 3 oz goat or feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 11 oz box baby spinach pre-washed

Balsamic Dressing:

Instructions 

  • Preheat ceramic non-stick medium skillet on medium heat and add pecans. Toast for about 3 minutes or until fragrant, stirring frequently. Remove from heat immediately to prevent nuts from burning.
  • In a small bowl, combine olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and whisk with a fork. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add spinach and top with strawberries, cheese, red onion and toasted pecans.
  • Drizzle dressing on top and stir gently until well combined. Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

  • Store: Salad is best consumed within 1-2 hours of mixing. You can refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 day in an airtight container but keep in mind spinach will get soggy.
  • Make ahead dressing: Whether you choose to make balsamic or poppy seed dressing, both can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for up to 4-5 days. 
  • Other greens: For a peppery twist, add part arugula. 
  • Other berries and fruit: Use fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries instead. 
  • Other cheeses: Soft mozzarella cheese, either cubed or baby mozzarella balls, and crumbled blue cheese would be delish! 
  • Out of pecans? Roast almonds, chopped walnuts, pistachios or even cashews.
  • Added protein. Top with some healthy grilled chicken recipe for protein.
See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 218mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is THE best salad! I made it for Easter and again for Father’s Day! My guests rave about it. It is easy and delicious, and best of all nutritious. Make it! You won’t be disappointed!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this and skipped the pecans and substituted a can of drained and quartered mandarin oranges. It was awesome!

  3. 5 stars
    Beautiful receipts love to learn from this one of the top of places for leaning great cooking tips love it

  4. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe on Saturday. It is the best Strawberry Spinach Salad ever!! On the menu tonight to go with salmon.

  5. 5 stars
    I made the spinach strawberry salad tonight and used fresh blueberries instead of strawberries and used blue cheese crumbles. It was one of the best salads and your dressing recipe was fantastic. I used a raspberry balsamic. Just delicious!

  6. 5 stars
    This was delicious and I will definitely make it again. I did substitute almonds for the pecans and was a bit skeptical about the soya sauce in the dressing but it really does work!

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