Strawberry Spinach Salad
This colorful, naturally sweet and delicious salad is simple to put together and made with one of my favorite balsamic vinaigrettes. Sweet strawberries, salty feta and crunchy walnuts make up this simple spinach salad. The balsamic vinaigrette is easy to make and definitely a keeper and one that you will make over and over again for other salads too. It’s the perfect salad to bring to a party, bbq or potluck. It’s easy, crowd-pleasing, and very adaptable. This is definitely one of those salads that you can alter and adjust the recipe to suit your taste. Here are the basic components and some substitutions you can make.
Strawberry Salad Main Ingredients
I always go for baby spinach as it’s usually ready to serve without having to chop it. But really and truly any spinach would work just make sure it’s in bite sized pieces. If you want to switch things up and use a mix of greens with the spinach that is totally fine. Spring mix or baby kale and arugula would be wonderful in this salad too.
Strawberries and spinach seem to be the most classic salad combo but they aren’t the only one. This salad goes with any berries and I would go as far as saying any summer fruit. I love this spinach salad with stone fruit too. Adding fruit to salad can be a bit new for some people but berries seem to be a nice way to sneak them in for colour and some sweetness without being too objectionable. Once people try the combo they can’t seem to get enough.
You all know I love feta. It goes so well in salads. It’s tangy and creamy and perfectly balances the sweetness in the salad from the berries and the vinaigrette. You can pick the type of feta according to taste. I like a salty tangy, semi creamy one - but if you prefer a drier one that crumbles easier that is fine too. Goat cheese is also a perfect stand in for feta in this salad. It’s less salty or briny but brings it in the creamy department.
Nuts and seeds in a salad give it extra crunch and texture. I’m a huge fan of all nuts. I chose walnuts for this one because I love walnuts and feta together but feel free to use toasted slivered almonds or toasted pecans. I love to toast mine with butter for extra flavour and some decadence but that is optional. Some people like to candy them and that is also great. I find this salad has enough sweetness on its own so I don’t candy them in this recipe. You can dry toast them in the oven in a sheet pan or in the pan as is directed if you would rather not use the butter. If you are allergic to nuts feel free to sub them out for seeds. Pepita crunch in a salad is always good!
To add it or not to add it is definitely the question and also your choice. I love adding it to the salad as long as it’s very finely sliced. A tip for using raw like this in a salad is to soak the red onion slices in water for a few minutes first. This preserves the onions’ flavor but removes the harsh/sharp aftertaste. If you would rather a more mellow flavour you can use sliced shallots in place of the red onion. Or if you are not a fan of either just leave them out.
Delicious salads like this one are endlessly adaptable. Here are more suggestions:
- Grilled chicken slices or leftover rotisserie chicken
- Canned mandarin orange segments
- Fresh raspberries or blueberries
- Raspberry vinaigrette
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Sunflower seeds
- Your favorite red wine vinaigrette
- Dried cranberries or cherries
Servings: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Total time: 20 min
For the Salad
- 11oz of baby spinach
- 1 lb of strawberries hulled and sliced
- 1 cup of walnuts
- 2 tbsp of butter (optional but recommended)
- ½ small red onion sliced thin (optional)
- ¼ cup of crumbled feta
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ shallot peeled minced (optional)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small pan/skillet heat butter over low heat, add walnuts and sauté until lightly toasted and fragrant, approximately 5-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t scorch. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel and allow to cool while you make vinaigrette.
In a small bowl with a whisk, or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, shallots, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir or shake well to combine. Vinaigrette can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for up to 1 week.
In a large bowl, add spinach, strawberries, walnuts, onions and feta. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and toss until evenly coated.