by Olena

Strawberry Spinach Salad

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Olena Osipov
5 from 21 votes

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The only Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe 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!).

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

Strawberry feta Spinach Salad in a bowl with linen beside it and utensils

Fresh Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta

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. Dark leafy greens, fresh sweet strawberries, tangy feta, crunchy pecans, and a homemade balsamic dressing made without refined sugar!

When you’re craving a strawberry cheesecake or strawberry yogurt but know you probably should have a salad, this delicious strawberry salad is the best of both worlds. And while it’s not exactly a dessert, it’s light, sweet, and that naturally sweet dressing makes up for it!

Why Make Spinach and Strawberry Salad?

  • A salad for the senses: A wonderful balance of taste from sweet, to bitter, to salty, all in one bite and so pretty to look at!
  • It’s simple: There’s no major prep work and it comes together in minutes.
  • Healthy: Fresh, quality ingredients that provide vitamins and minerals and there is no refined sugars. 
  • Flexible: Use a berry salad dressing instead, swap pecans for walnuts, or use a different cheese. Omit what you don’t want or add in more of what you love.
  • Year-round: Enjoyable any season from spring to summer BBQs or swapping apples for strawberries in the fall or squash in the winter!  
  • Delicious: That sweet and tangy dressing is just the icing on the cake. Or, you know, literally the dressing on the salad!

Ingredients for Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 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 spinach dip and hot artichoke spinach 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.
  • Red onion: This is nature’s antibiotic. It adds zest and keeps the strawberry spinach salad 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 Balsamic Dressing

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

  • Olive oil: Quality raw extra virgin olive oil would be the best oil 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 strawberry spinach salad dressing in a ratio of oil+acid+sweet+salt. You will appreciate its umami flavor in this salad!

How to Make Strawberry Spinach Salad

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

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Other greens: For a peppery, slightly bitter twist, add a bit of arugula. We love it in this sweet and zesty arugula beet salad. It will go so well with berries too! There is also a nice blend of arugula and baby kale sold in most stores that would be divine.
  • Other berries and fruit: Bad weather and can’t find strawberries? Use fresh blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries instead. Also, some readers love to add pineapple tidbits and mandarin oranges. Want to make it in the fall? Apples and pears are a great option instead of strawberries. Just check out this quinoa apple salad.
  • Creamy dressing: Don’t love balsamic dressing? Try my healthy poppy seed dressing instead or choose another of our favorite dressings.
  • Out of pecans? Roast almonds, chopped walnuts, pistachios, or even cashews taste amazing in strawberry feta spinach salad.
  • Other cheeses: Soft mozzarella cheese, either cubed or baby mozzarella balls (hello, tomato mozzarella salad), and crumbled blue cheese would be delish with strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing! Bocconcini or gorgonzola would also be great.

Fresh is best! I recommend buying a block of cheese and crumbling it yourself as pre-crumbled cheese in a tub is coated in anti-caking agents.

Tips for Best Results

  • Don’t let it sit too long. Enjoy the salad as soon as possible. Immediately after assembling, especially with dressing on it.
  • Toasting technique. Make sure the pan is hot before adding the nuts. Watch it closely so the nuts don’t burn. 
  • Clean fruit. Wash and trim your strawberries before cutting them in half.
  • Avoid dirty dozen. Use organic whenever possible!
  • Pungent onions. Not a must, but to rid the strong aftertaste of the red onions, you CAN if you want, presoak them.
  • Added protein. Top with some grilled chicken for protein.

 

FAQs

Can I add poppy seeds to the dressing?

Sure you can. This strawberry spinach salad balsamic dressing is amazing as is, but you really can tweak it however you’d like. Some people prefer poppy seeds, while others prefer dijon mustard. I mean, you’ll probably want to play around with some of the other ingredients to make it make sense, but you get the idea!

What is the best way to store my strawberries?

To get the most bang for your buck, you want them to last at least a week! Don’t wash them unless you’re going to use them immediately. Transfer them to an airtight container, layer them evenly spaced out and keep them in the fridge. If you notice one start to turn, get right of it so it doesn’t spread to the others.
The reason for not washing them, is you want to avoid excess moisture which is mold’s best friend.

Is balsamic dressing healthy?

For sure! Balsamic vinegar is on the sweeter side, so if you’re worried about sugar content, whether refined or not, you can opt to use apple cider vinegar instead. Using high-quality olive oil (or even avocado oil if you prefer) will give you the good fat benefits you need. Using a gluten-free Bragg’s Liquid aminos is also a way to keep the flavour but not the gluten in strawberry feta spinach salad. The maple syrup is high in antioxidants, among other nutrients, so overall, yes this balsamic dressing is healthy.

Are spinach salads healthy for you?

I’ll say! This one is. It’s when you start to add in all kinds of sugary dressing with all sorts of additives, colours, preservatives, and other unnecessary ingredients that come from store-bought dressings that it starts to tip the scale a bit.

What is the best way to cut strawberries for salad?

This salad is loaded with a whole bunch of good stuff, so it’s easy for something to get lost if it’s too small. The best way to cut strawberries for this salad is to keep them in half! Sometimes slices are great too if you have an egg slicer for even pieces. I recommend avoiding small diced chunks so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

How do I pick the best spinach for salad?

I can’t stress how important it is to aim for organic spinach when possible! If you’re looking for convenience, I’d say pick up a box of fresh organic spinach that doesn’t look wilted. The vibrant green is what you want and make sure to check the date on the box. If extra packaging is something you’d like to avoid, by all means, but a bunch of package-free spinach (again organic), just make sure to trim the stems and give the leaves a really good wash.

strawberry feta spinach salad in a bowl for serving

Serving Recommendations

Turn this light lunch or dinner into a complete meal!

Serve with Caprese chicken and zucchini, a one-pot healthy chicken Tuscan pasta, or Mexican stuffed peppers for a complete dinner idea.

For a bigger lunch crowd make these Instant Pot ribs, Instant Pot pulled pork, ground chicken burgers with a side of strawberry spinach salad!

Making Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad Recipe in Advance

Spinach and strawberry salad is a great make ahead salad: It is a perfect candidate for Easter or Mother’s Day brunch when strawberries are in season!

Make ahead: 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. I always buy pre-washed organic baby spinach, so I can easily add it to a salad bowl right before mixing. Either way, always keep the salad dressing separate in a jar for up to 2 days and add it just before serving.

Store dressing: Whether you choose to make balsamic or poppy seed dressing, both can be prepared ahead and refrigerated for up to 4-5 days. Just warm up balsamic vinaigrette on a counter for 15 minutes or in a glass with hot water, and give it a shake afterwards. It will be smooth and flowing again.

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

More Green 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 onto it
Strawberry Spinach Salad

Strawberry Spinach Salad {with 4 Ingredient Dressing}

The only Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe 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 21 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 8 servings (side dish)
Calories: 263kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

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.
    Strawberry Spinach Salad
  • In a small bowl, combine olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and whisk with a fork. Set aside.
    Strawberry Spinach Salad
  • In a large bowl, add spinach and top with strawberries, cheese, red onion and toasted pecans.
    Strawberry Spinach Salad
  • Drizzle dressing on top and stir gently until well combined. Serve immediately.
    Strawberry Spinach Salad

Store: This 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: Refrigerate covered salad in a bowl and dressing in a jar separately for up to 2 days. I always buy pre-washed organic baby spinach, so I can easily add it to a salad bowl right before mixing. If you like nuts super crunchy, store them separately in a dry place. Nuts absorb moisture and loose crunch when refrigerated.

      Video

      Notes

      • 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. Just warm up balsamic vinaigrette on a counter for 15 minutes or in a glass with hot water, and give it a shake afterwards. It will be smooth and flowing again.
      • Other greens: For a peppery twist, add part arugula. There is also a nice blend of arugula and baby kale sold in most stores that would be divine.
      • Other berries and fruit: Bad weather and can’t find strawberries? Use fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries instead. Also some readers love to add pineapple tidbits and mandarin oranges. Want to make it in fall? Apples and pears are a great option instead of strawberries.
      • Creamy dressing: Don’t love balsamic dressing? Try my healthy poppy seed dressing instead.
      • Other cheeses: Soft mozzarella cheese, either cubed or baby mozzarella balls, and crumbled blue cheese would be delish! I recommend to buy a block of cheese and crumble yourself as pre-crumbled cheese in a tub is coated in anti-caking agents. Fresh is best!
      • Out of pecans? Roast almonds, chopped walnuts, pistachios or even cashews.
      • Don’t let it sit too long. Enjoy the salad as soon as possible. Immediately after assembling, especially with dressing on it.
      • Toasting technique. Make sure the pan is hot before adding the nuts. Watch it closely so the nuts don’t burn. 
      • Clean fruit. Wash and trim your strawberries before cutting them in half.
      • Avoid dirty dozen. Use organic whenever possible!
      • Pungent onions. Not a must, but to rid the strong aftertaste of the red onions, you CAN if you want, presoak them.
      • Added protein. Top with some grilled chicken 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 | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3717IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 2mg
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      41 comments on “Strawberry Spinach Salad

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      1. 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!

      2. 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!

      3. 5 stars
        Sooooo yummy! We all loved it. I made candied pecans and added blueberries. Also I soak the red onion in cold water for about 20 minutes as it seems to taste a lot milder. Make it soon. I am making it again this Sunday.

      4. 5 stars
        one of my favourite salads and dressings … often not in a store to get organic but do buy them when possible … I have used the options ingredients when necessary

      5. 5 stars
        Such a fantastic salad and the dressing is great. I also use the dressing for drinking meat. Keep up the fantastic recipes. Have loved each and every recipe I try of yours.

      6. 5 stars
        I love all your salads but every time I make another one I haven’t made before from you list I say…oh my another great salad.

        This salad is like dessert. The salad is light and has a sweet and sensual taste to it. The dressing is amazing. Not heavy, not oily, and not over powering. Its fabulous.

        If you dont like salad you have to try this. It’s like eating dessert. Its GREAT.

        Keep up the great selection, great taste, and great healthy meals.

        1. Thank you very much for the wonderful review. It made my day to hear how much you are enjoying my salad recipes.

      7. 5 stars
        Absolutely delicious, always scraping the bottom! Even the family members that never liked salads are sold on this one!

      8. Sounds great but I don’t have balsamic vinegar– only white, apple cider and red wine vinegars. Can i use one of these or make a substitute using one of them?

      9. 5 stars
        I was looking for an easy and simple meal on Friday night and decided to go for this salad. I had some grilled chicken on the side. The salad is delicious and I loved the dressing.

      10. 5 stars
        This was delicious. Will be making it again! I Decreased the amount of maple syrup a bit since the vinegar was pretty sweet.

      11. 5 stars
        Fantastic. Quick and easy too. I used blue cheese and felt I’d like it a bit sweeter…(only had pretend maple, not the real thing) so I added some honey. It will be a staple in our house for sure. Thanks a lot.

      12. 5 stars
        I made this today for lunch and enjoyed all of the fresh, complimentary flavors and textures! The balsamic dressing is the best homemade balsamic dressing I have ever been able to make myself. I usually struggle with getting the right proportions or the right flavors, but this recipe is spot on perfect and will be my new go-to dressing for many different salad recipes! I added cubed chicken to this salad since my husband prefers a meat protein in his meals (I baked chicken tenders in the oven with EVOO, fresh garlic, salt, pepper and a little hot chili pepper) and we also added croutons. I will definitely make this again!

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