Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans, Feta and Balsamic Vinaigrette

05.28.2017

A delicious and easy Strawberry Spinach Salad made with candied pecans, feta and a simple balsamic vinaigrette. This strawberry salad has so much flavor and is great for a summer lunch or dinner side salad.

A close up of a Strawberry Spinach Salad in a glass bowl topped with a balsamic vinaigrette

Strawberry Spinach Salad

You know how I love my spinach salads, especially when there’s an abundance of fresh summer strawberries involved! And especially when it is National Salad Month!

And better yet, in this strawberry salad there’s also a rich balsamic vinaigrette, salty, tangy feta and crunchy, sweet candied pecans involved as well.

In other words, this is one of the best summer salads! It just has the perfect blend of flavors and textures going on and is a perfect way to celebrate National Salad Month.

I was loving every last bite and of course I was heading back for more.

Strawberry Spinach Salad in a glass bowl with a balsamic dressing

How to Store Strawberries

For these strawberries, I used Rubbermaid FreshWorks™ Produce Saver to extend their freshness. This product has brought me some new found sanity! I hate when I buy fresh produce and it goes bad before I have a chance to use it.

I’ve tried so many different things in attempts to extend the life of my fruit and greens but none of it has ever worked. And these really do! So far I’m out to day 7 from the day I purchased the strawberries (I’m writing this the day after pictures were taken and of course they are still looking great).

These Fresh Works Produce Savers use patented FreshVent™ technology that keeps produce fresher up to 80% longer than traditional produce packaging.

Yes, really 80%! (*Based on strawberries in FreshWorks™ containers vs. store packaging. Results may vary depending upon produce and use.)

I took some before and after shots of strawberries in the Produce Saver vs. not and I cannot believe the difference! Check them out below.

Simply remove the produce from the store packaging and place it, unwashed, in the Produce Saver and voilà – fresh fruit and leafy greens for days!

Step by step photos of how to keep strawberries fresh

*Results may vary depending upon produce and use.

Strawberry Spinach Salad Ingredients

  • For the strawberry salad — strawberries, spinach, red onion, feta
  • For the candied pecans — pecans, brown sugar, butter
  • For the homemade balsamic vinaigrette — balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, dijon

How to Make Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • Make the balsamic dressing: Add vinegar to a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  • Pour into a jar or bowl, add olive oil, dijon mustard, honey and whisk to blend while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Thin with a little water if desired.
  • Make the candied pecans: Add pecans, brown sugar and butter to a small non-stick skillet and cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly until sugar starts to melt and caramelize, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Toss the salad: Toss together spinach, strawberries, half of the feta, red onion and pecans.
  • Drizzle about 1/3 of the dressing over salad, then plate and drizzle remaining dressing over individual portions and top with remaining half of the feta.

A close up of a Strawberry Spinach Salad drizzled with balsamic

Can This Salad Be Prepped in Advance?

Absolutely! To make this easy spinach salad in advance, prep all the ingredients and store them in separate containers. Then toss the salad just before you’re ready to serve it.

Once the balsamic dressing has been drizzled over the strawberry spinach salad, you’ll want to eat it immediately, as the dressing wilts the spinach.

Can I Use Another Type of Fruit?

Definitely. Any fresh berry will work in this salad. I’ve eaten this spinach salad with fresh blueberries before, and it was delicious.

An overhead shot of a Strawberry Spinach Salad on a plate with chopped pecans

Tips for the Best Strawberry Salad

  • Try using different berries such as blueberries.
  • Apples and pears are a great option instead of strawberries.
  • If you don’t have pecans, you could try walnuts or cashews.
  • Don’t have feta? Try a crumbly goat cheese instead.

A Strawberry Spinach Salad in a bowl with a fork

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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans Feta and Balsamic Vinaigrette

4.67 from 9 votes

A delicious and easy strawberry spinach salad with layers of exciting flavor! It's perfect for a summer lunch with chicken or serve as dinner side salad.

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Candied pecans

  • 3/4 cup broken or roughly chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter

Salad

  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries , hulled and sliced
  • 5 oz . feta cheese , crumbled
  • 1/3 small red onion , thinly sliced

Instructions

For the vinaigrette:

  1. Add vinegar to a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Pour into a jar or bowl, add olive oil, dijon mustard, honey and whisk to blend while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Thin with a little water if desired. Set aside.

For the pecans:

  1. Add pecans, brown sugar and butter to a small non-stick skillet and cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly until sugar starts to melt and caramelize, about 2 - 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate in a single layer to cool.

For the salad:

  1. In a salad bowl toss together spinach, strawberries, half of the feta, red onion and pecans. Drizzle about 1/3 of the dressing over salad then plate and drizzle remaining dressing over individual portions and top with remaining half of the feta. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Recipe source: Cooking Classy

  • Try using different berries such as blueberries.
  • Apples and pears are a great option instead of strawberries.
  • Don't have feta? Try a crumbly goat cheese instead.
Nutrition Facts
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans Feta and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Amount Per Serving
Calories 404 Calories from Fat 306
% Daily Value*
Fat 34g52%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 23mg8%
Sodium 345mg15%
Potassium 482mg14%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 4570IU91%
Vitamin C 58.3mg71%
Calcium 193mg19%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: salad with strawberries
Calories: 404 kcal
Author: Jaclyn
This post is sponsored by Rubbermaid, however all thoughts and opinions are mine.

 

68 comments

  • Denise Ducharme: This recipe has great flavors! Making this a 2nd time; will add grilled chicken on top for a meal! August 2, 2019 at 9:58am Reply

  • Sandy: Is that really the fat and calories for one serving? Or for the whole salad? Seems awfully high. January 27, 2019 at 10:17am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes between the oil, nuts and cheese it’s quite a few calories. It’s per serving. January 30, 2019 at 11:39pm Reply

  • tala: Hii,
    It sounds so delicious :)
    I just have one question, do you add the spinach without cooking? Like fresh spinach?!!

    And another thing, I don’t like vinegar, is it possible to not add it?

    Thank youu December 22, 2018 at 4:23am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes since it’s a salad it’s much better with fresh uncooked spinach. And I don’t recommend omitting the vinegar but you could reduce the amount. December 31, 2018 at 4:46pm Reply

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