Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta
This tasty Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta made its impressive debut at a small luncheon with some dear friends. After their first bites, all 3 asked, “Is this on your blog?” reinforcing the need to publish it as soon as possible!!
With pecans, sliced strawberries, feta, dried cranberries, sliced Pink Lady apples, and a Maple Vinaigrette, this Spinach Salad with Strawberries was a huge hit!
Why You Must Make
- Four out of four of us LOVED this salad when I shared it with my girlfriends!
- It’s perfect for summer dining when fresh strawberries are sweet and flavorful.
- You can easily tweak it with different berries, cheeses, nuts, etc. depending on your palate and what’s in season.
- Baby Spinach – Buy prewashed to avoid having to wash and dry your greens. Look for “baby” spinach as it will be tender. You may substitute arugula or baby greens.
- Apples – The original recipe called for Granny Smith apples, but I prefer Pink Lady or Honeycrisp as they have a touch more sweetness. I peeled my apples, but you can leave the peels on.
- Feta – I found that feta not in brine is easier to cut into cubes. Crumbling it will also work. Other cheese options are listed in the tips above.
- Nuts – I used pecan halves, but walnuts or sliced or slivered almonds would be delicious, too. Toast them first to enhance their flavor. This brings out their essential oils.
- Dried Cranberries – Also called Craisins.
- Fresh Strawberries – Other seasonal berries or even more than one kind of berry can be used. Or try a can of drained mandarin oranges!
- Balsamic Vinegar – I use an aged 18-year-old traditional balsamic vinegar. It’s sweet and syrupy. I buy it locally at Artisano’s spice shop.
- Maple Syrup – Real maple syrup, not Log Cabin or other artificially flavored syrups.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I use California Olive Branch brand.
- PRO-Tip: If you’d like to start making this spinach salad ahead of time, the feta can be cubed, the pecans toasted, the craisins measured and the vinaigrette mixed.
- After you slice your apples, they will start to oxidize (turn brown) when exposed to air. So peel and slice close to serving time and make sure they’re coated in salad dressing to minimize browning.
- If you don’t like pecans, use another nut like walnuts or almonds, or leave them out.
- To maximize the flavor of the nuts, either roast them in the oven for 5 minutes or so or heat them in a dry skillet, shaking them frequently so they don’t burn. Heating your nuts will bring out the essential oils and enhance their flavor.
- Other berries can be used in place of or in addition to the strawberries. Fresh raspberries and blueberries would work well.
- Instead of feta, try Brie, goat cheese, blue cheese, or fresh Mozzarella.
- PRO-Tip: The greens will start wilting as soon as you toss the salad with the salad dressing so wait to dress the salad until close to serving time.
- The dried cranberries add a nice chewy texture to the mix. Dried cherries can be substituted.
- We enjoyed this spinach salad with Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants for lunch.
- It would be wonderful served with a BLT or Grilled Chicken or Flank Steak.
- Some garlic bread or corn muffins are also delicious with this salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
The process of making a vinaigrette is super easy, just remember that the oil is the last ingredient to be added and it should be drizzled in slowly while whisking constantly to create an emulsion.
For example, in this recipe, the vinegar, maple syrup, and salt are whisked to combine, then the olive oil is added slowly while whisking continuously. Once the dressing is thick and well combined, it’s ready to use.
A sweet vinaigrette works well to play off the sweetness of the berries plus it balances the acidic vinegar. My mom’s also spinach salad has sugar added. but maple syrup or honey will also work well to sweeten the dressing.
Summer is prime strawberry season. Our local strawberries are ripe in early June. Florida strawberries are at their peak from December through March.
You May Also Like:
- Greek Salad with Feta
- Spinach, Strawberry, Pomegranate, and Feta Salad
- Marinated Vegetable Salad
- More of the Best Salad Recipes
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- A pinch of table salt
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 6-ounce bags of baby spinach
- 1-2 Pink Lady apples, peeled if desired, cored, and sliced
- 8 ounces Feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
- ½ cup pecan halves, toasted
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
- ½ cup fresh strawberry slices
- Make the dressing by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and salt.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Set aside.
- Toss or arrange all the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Toss with dressing before serving.
- Recipe from my friend, Laura.
- May substitute your favorite nuts, cheese and/or berries.
- I made this salad for 4 and used just one bag of baby spinach and one apple, but the full amount of all the other ingredients.
- The dressing can be made the day before.
- Do not cut the apples until right before tossing to avoid browning.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 313mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 12gProtein: 6g
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