Everyone loves this salad! Freshly toasted pecans, sweet strawberries, and creamy goat cheese star in this delicious Strawberry Spinach Salad with a creamy balsamic poppyseed dressing.
Have you ever had strawberries in salad? If not, you’re in for a real treat with this easy recipe! We’re taking a simple spinach salad up a few notches, and it’s delicious.
This strawberry spinach salad is the perfect side dish for a BBQ, summer party, or a simple family dinner. It’s easy to make, yet just fancy enough to impress your guests!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Fresh Ingredients – The best salads are made with fresh veggies, fruits, and add-ins. This salad has berries, greens, onions, and freshly toasted pecans.
- Creamy Balsamic Dressing with Poppy Seeds– My classic recipe for creamy balsamic dressing is dressed up with the addition of crunchy poppy seeds.
- Something Different – Adding fruit to a salad makes it perfect for spring and summer meals. Strawberries make this salad special and delightfully different from the typical tossed salad.
Ingredients In Strawberry Spinach Salad
Pick up these fresh ingredients to make this tasty strawberry salad.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
For the Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Pecans: Start with raw pecans. We’ll be toasting them up so that they are fresh and flavorful.
- Baby Spinach: You need about 2 packages of bagged baby spinach, or 10 ounces if you buy it in bulk. Look for baby spinch rather than leaf spinach. It has a light flavor and tender texture.
- Strawberries – A quart of fresh strawberries add amazing color and sweet flavor to this healthy salad. Slice them or quarter them, whichever you prefer.
- Red Onion – The spicy bite of thinly sliced red onion balances out the sweetness of the berries and the dressing.
- Feta Cheese – My favorite part! Buy block feta cheese and crumble it yourself. It’s so much creamier and tastier than buying it already crumbled.
For the Creamy Balsamic Dressing
- Balsamic Vinegar: This rich, aged vinegar has umami flavor notes as well as hints of sourness and bitterness.
- Olive Oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil when making salad dressings. It makes all the difference.
- Greek Yogurt: Regular full-fat Greek yogurt is ideal, although you can also make this dressing with low-fat yogurt, dairy-free yogurt or even sour cream.
- Dijon Mustard: This adds a bit of tang and creaminess.
- Honey: The perfect amount of sweetness comes from just a tablespoon of honey.
- Poppyseeds: These add visual interest, and lovely texture to the dish.
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, and garlic powder finish up this tasty dressing.
How To Make the Best Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Roast Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, and spread the raw pecans on a small rimmed baking sheet. Bake the nuts for 8 minutes, then allow them to cool before chopping them up roughly.
- Make the Creamy Balsamic Dressing: Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar, add the lid, and shake until well combined and smooth.
- Assemble the Salad: To a large bowl, add the spinach, strawberries, red onion, chopped pecans, and half of the feta cheese.
- Dress: Add the dressing, and gently toss to combine. Top the salad with the remaining feta, then serve immediately for best results.
Mellow the flavor of red onions by placing them in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes after they are sliced. They will be much milder this way!
- Try different cheese: Crumbled goat cheese is an excellent option in place of the feta. For an extra tangy salad, try crumbled blue cheese instead.
- Don’t let it sit: This salad is best eaten right after adding the dressing. The spinach will wilt down and get soggy if you dress it too soon.
- Dressing Tip: Making dressing in a mason jar is fun and easy, but if you don’t have one, just whisk up the ingredients in a small bowl instead.
Spinach Salad with strawberries is best enjoyed right away. Leftovers won’t be very tasty, as the berries and the spinach leaves will start to wilt under the dressing.
You can store any extra balsamic dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To make this salad ahead, add all of the ingredients except the berries and dressing to a large bowl. Keep it in the fridge for up to a day or so. Just before serving, toss with sliced strawberries and your prepared salad dressing.
What To Serve With This Strawberry Spinach Salad
I love serving a salad with strawberries with grilled foods!
Any dressing that is sweet and savory goes well with this salad. I recommend that you try my creamy balsamic dressing with poppy seeds!
You are only limited by your imagination! Try adding pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chopped crispy bacon, cooked chicken, sliced avocado, or mandarin orange slices.
Of course! Make any swaps that you like. Soft leaf lettuce or tender greens (think butter lettuce, spring mix, or baby kale) would be my first choice, but a crisp lettuce like romaine could also be very good.
Strawberry Spinach Salad will be your favorite salad all summer long! Be sure to Pin the recipe so you always have it ready.
For the Salad
- ¾ cup raw pecans
- 10 ounces (280g) baby spinach leaves
- 1 quart (1lb, 450g) fresh strawberries hulled and sliced or quartered
- ½ red onion thinly sliced, see note 4
- 4 ounces feta cheese crumbled, see note 5
For the Creamy Balsamic Poppyseed Dressing
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt see note 1
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon honey see note 1
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- mason jar or other sealed container
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Spread the pecans on a small rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, then roughly chop.
- To make the dressing: combine all of the ingredients in a jar, add the lid, and shake until well combined and smooth.
- To assemble the salad: to a large bowl, add the spinach, strawberries, red onion, chopped pecans, and half of the feta cheese. Dress with the dressing, and toss gently to combine. Top with the remaining crumbled feta and serve immediately.
- Dressing Substitutions: Greek yogurt can be replaced with non-dairy yogurt to make a vegan dressing. Switch out the honey for agave nectar or maple syrup for a vegan option, or use your favorite sweetener.
- The dressing will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- If you don’t have a mason jar, mix up the ingredients in a bowl using a whisk instead.
- If red onions are too harsh for you, you can slice the onion and place in a bowl with cold water for 15 minutes, then drain and add to the salad.
- Buy a block of feta and crumble it yourself for the best flavor. Goat cheese can be used instead of feta if you like.
- Enjoy this salad immediately after dressing it. Leftovers don’t keep well.
- To make ahead: Store the prepared dressing and salad ingredients separately. Just before serving, slice the strawberries, assemble the salad, and toss with the dressing.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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