Strawberry Spinach Salad is the salad of the season! It’s vibrant, flavorful and so easy to make with a blend of baby spinach leaves, fresh strawberries, toasted pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, all tossed in a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. The perfect lunch or easy side dish!
When the weather starts getting a little warmer, I find myself craving fresh salads. Some of my favorites are tomato cucumber avocado salad, chickpea salad and this light, summery strawberry spinach salad.
This salad recipe is sure to be a new go-to recipe all spring and summer long. The fresh and flavorful combination of ingredients just can’t be beat!
This strawberry spinach salad recipe comes together exceptionally fast, and it’s so versatile. Swap out the fruit, nuts, and cheese to your preference or what you have on hand. It’s naturally vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, omit the Gorgonzola cheese and use maple syrup instead of honey in the vinaigrette.
What’s in this strawberry spinach salad?
I’m always looking for side dish recipes that are easy to make and versatile, and this strawberry spinach salad is both. It goes with baked salmon or veggie burgers with ease. In fact, there’s not much that it wouldn’t go with! It’s pretty quick to make: all you’ll need to do is whip up the balsamic dressing, slice the strawberries and toast the pecans.
Here’s what’s in this strawberry salad:
- Ripe strawberries (organic, if possible!)
- Baby spinach (or any lettuce mix)
- Pecans (or try almonds or walnuts)
- Gorgonzola cheese crumbles (feta or goat cheese works too)
- Balsamic vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, and olive oil
How to make balsamic vinaigrette dressing:
The balsamic dressing is really something special in this strawberry spinach salad. The flavor is zesty and bright, tangy from the balsamic vinegar and balanced with a touch of honey. Making balsamic dressing is easy, but it can be tricky to get the perfect emulsion (when the oil and vinegar combine).
Here’s a few tips for getting all of the ingredients combined:
- Don’t use a super small bowl. It’s so much easier to really whisk ingredients together when you aren’t working in a small bowl.
- Whisk the ingredients by hand. Use a large fork or small whisk and start whisking the the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and honey.
- Add the olive oil in gradually. You can add it in tablespoon-by-tablespoon and whisk in between or let oil slowly drip in with the other ingredients as you whisk.
The Dijon mustard in the dressing will help to keep the oil and vinegar emulsified.
Strawberry spinach salad variations:
This salad recipe is super versatile and there are many different ways to change up the ingredients for different flavors and/or to use ingredients that you have in your kitchen. Here’s some fun ideas:
- Fruit. Almost any fruit would be tasty in this salad! Try raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or cherries instead of strawberries (or use a combination of berries).
- Greens. Feel free to use any greens you happen to have available.
- Nuts. For the perfect nutty crunch, you can use any variety of nuts. We love pecans, walnuts or pistachios.
- Cheese. While I love this salad with Gorgonzola, it also works well with feta cheese, goat cheese or blue cheese.
- Add protein. Grill some chicken, slice it up, and add it to the salad.
- Add healthy fats. A chopped or sliced avocado would be a tasty, satisfying ingredient to add.
- Dressing. The balsamic vinaigrette pairs wonderfully with this salad, but a light poppy seed dressing would be tasty too!
Tips for a delicious salad:
- Add the dressing and cheese to the salad just before serving. Strawberry spinach salad doesn’t sit well with the dressing – the spinach leaves will eventually wilt in the dressing.
- For the freshest tasing salad, keep ingredients chilled until just before assembly.
- To save time, you can purchase pecans that have already been toasted. Or you can toast your own by placing them on foil in the toaster oven for 2-3 minutes on the toast setting, or by toasting them in a dry pan on the stove. Watch carefully because they cook very quickly and can burn easily.
Storing strawberry spinach salad:
I don’t recommend storing leftovers. With all of the fresh, juicy ingredients, this salad doesn’t sit or store well after it’s made. Once assembled, the salad needs to be eaten within about an hour; otherwise the greens will begin to wilt and the pecans will soften.
Make ahead tip:
If you want to make this salad ahead of time, prep the dressing, toast the pecans and slice the strawberries. Keep ingredients separate and in airtight containers. When ready to serve, this salad can be assembled in a breeze!
More easy salad recipes:
If you make this strawberry spinach salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment and ★ rating below letting me know how it turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for me and our Clean & Delicious community (thank you!).
Strawberry Spinach Salad
- 8 oz. baby spinach
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. raw honey
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss the spinach leaves and strawberries with dressing.
- Divide the spinach and berries amongst two plates and sprinkle each with 2 tbsp. pecans and 1 tbsp. cheese. Enjoy!
- Makes 4 small salads or 2 large.