Sunday, April 9, 2017

Best Ever Strawberry Spinach Salad (With Video)

Best Ever Strawberry Spinach Salad will rock your world! This simple recipe is a celebration of summers bounty in the most spectacular salad you will ever eat. Fresh crisp spinach salad is taken to another level with bursts of sweetness from fresh summer fruit and buttery avocado. It is tossed in a sweet and tangy vinaigrette and topped with crunchy nuts and creamy cheese.

We celebrated the holidays with my husbands family as we usually do this past Christmas. There is always an amazing spread of decadent food, but I have to admit I really look forward to the salads. Chad is not a big salad eater so I don't usually make salads unless we are having a party or company. I tend to grab whatever I have in the house and put together a simple salad that will keep for a long time because I am the only one eating it.

But, I just really love a good salad. This year Chad's sister prepared a fabulous salad that really knocked my socks off. It was spinach salad with blueberries, avocado and a sun-dried tomato dressing. I am sure there were other ingredients but those really stuck with me. I must have eaten 4 bowls of it and wished there was more.

So, of course this spring when I started craving strawberry spinach salad all I could think of was how amazing it would be if I added blueberries and avocado. So, I did and it really sparked up my salad. The buttery avocado and bright blueberry flavors added so much to this new favorite but I felt like I really still needed something to make it perfect.

I started thinking about crunch and cheese and remembered this one restaurant that we have been to a few times makes this a salad with blue cheese and candied pecans that I absolutely love. That was it! The very next day I decided to put it together.

This divine recipe all starts with baby spinach and fresh summer berries. Thinly sliced red onions are added to enhance the flavor. Then it is tossed in a fabulous sweet and tangy vinaigrette and topped with fresh avocado, buttery candied pecans and melt in your mouth blue cheese.

This spinach salad is so summery and refreshing. It is truly my favorite salad of all time and I can not stop eating it and you are going to love it too!


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Best Ever Strawberry Spinach Salad
SERVES 6 | ACTIVE TIME 15 Minutes | TOTAL TIME 30 Minutes

Candied Pecan Ingredients

1 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup pecan halves
pinch salt

Dressing Ingredients

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup extra light tasting olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Salad Ingredients

10 ounces fresh baby spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 small red onion sliced
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 avocado, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 (5 ounce) package blue cheese crumbles

Place a silpat mat or a sheet of parchment paper on the counter top to dry the pecans.

In a small skillet over medium heat melt butter. Add pecans, sugar and salt. Stir until pecans are well coated. Stir until the sugar caramelizes, about 3-5 minutes.

Spread onto silpat or parchment paper. Separate pecans. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile: in a pint size mason jar combine dressing ingredients. Seal and shake until well combined. Set aside on the counter.

In a large bowl combine the spinach, onions, strawberries and blueberries. Pour about 1/2 of dressing over salad, and toss. Top with avocado, cheese and candied nuts. Serve remaining dressing on the side.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes before serving (or serve immediately).

Serve with the remaining dressing on the side. Enjoy!

DONNA'S NOTES:  I love to snack on the candied pecans and they are great on ice cream so I double the candied pecan recipe and save 1/2 for later. The recipe as written will allow about 5 candied pecans per serving.

The dressing may solidify in the refrigerator. It is best to allow dressing to sit on the counter. Shake well before using.

If you are making the salad ahead. Prep the salad ingredients and refrigerate. Then dress the salad about 15 minutes before serving. This will help keep the spinach from wilting.

Mozzarella, feta or goat cheese are also amazing on this salad.

Lighten it up by subbing plain pecans for the candied ones and eliminate the sugar from the dressing.

Add sliced grilled chicken for a fabulous summer meal.

Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
Copyright ©2016 The Slow Roasted Italian – All rights reserved.

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Check out some of our favorite summer salads:  Click on the image or the bold recipe title and it will open each one in a new tab.

Hawaiian Tortellini Salad is a like a party in your mouth! It's a blend of your favorite island flavors in a fabulously bright, sweet and tangy summer pasta salad. A simple recipe with an outstanding pineapple-ginger dressing, this will be a hit everywhere you take it.

Best Ever Tropical Fruit Salad is the only recipe you'll ever need.  My entire picky family devoured this fruit salad. The dressing is truly magical. The combination of citrus juices with honey are phenomenal. Then we added a few special ingredients that give it a little nuttiness and a touch of zestiness to kick it up a notch. Perfect any-occasion dish.

Greek Tortellini Salad is loaded with fresh vegetables and tortellini pasta, making this Greek Pasta Salad  almost perfect.  Add a sweet and tangy dressing to the mix and you have yourself a perfect must try recipe! An easy make-ahead recipe.  Simply layer salad and pack dressing separately.  Add dressing and toss to coat when you are ready to serve.

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  1. Looks so good, have to try this one

  2. I bet this is great with grilled fresh salmon...

  3. Yes it is .. The best ever!!!! Love it. Thank you

  4. So good!!! Thanks

  5. Yum ,will make soon ,will share my results. Thank you

  6. The Best Ever Strawberry Spinach Salad was amazing! I am recommending it to others! Shared on Facebook, too! I added chicken to mine.

    1. I just fixed this salad too with a few modifications (what I had available) and plain pecans. Awesome! But more importantly, the dressing was fabulous. I normally would not eat Dijon mustard but I had some Stone Ground in refrigerator for my husband and used it. That will be a staple for me from now on.

    2. It all sounds yummy! Just wondering if I can use EXTRA VIRGIN Olive Oil (which I have on hand), instead of EXTRA light Olive Oil? Will that make a difference?

    3. Yes! I use the extra light tasting olive oil because it has a mild flavor. You could use extra virgin, but it will have a stronger taste in the dressing. Enjoy!

  7. Looks amazing. Do we have a nutrition breakdown for this? Seems heavy on the sugars.

  8. Earlier in article, you mentioned that the dressing had sun dried tomatoes in it. I don't see them listed as an ingredient. Is this a different dressing?

  9. Everything looks so yummy. Have to try these.

  10. Every recipe looks yummy. Will try them.

  11. This salad was so good! We had it with grilled boneless chicken thighs and it was perfect. Thank you for the recipe. It is being added to my favorites list. :-)

  12. I used honey in place of sugar in the dressing. It turned out just as good as when my mom made it. Also if you have either an immersion blender or standard blender. I recommend adding all ingredients blending a minute then slowly add the olive oil, this will emulsify the dressing and it won't separate.

  13. What kind of cheese could I use instead of Blue Cheese?
    Can't eat it due to allergies :(

  14. Maybe Feta cheese

  15. Tried feta cheese & my husband & I loved it! Thank u for sharing this delicious dressing. I shared the recipe to my sis & cant wait to make it for my mom.

    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianOctober 23, 2017 at 7:23 AM

      Thanks, Kris!!We are so happy you enjoyed it!

  16. My husband absolutely adored this salad. Thanks for sharing!

  17. I made beautiful and delicious. The dressing is a perfect compliment to the fruit and greens. Made double the amount of nuts...used walnuts instead of pecans. This is the perfect salad. I used it as the only side for Chicken and Dumplings. Now that is a beautiful Sunday to share with friends. Thanks for this forever salad beauty.

    1. Holli@TheSlowRoastedItalianOctober 23, 2017 at 7:22 AM

      Thanks so much, Connie!!! We are so happy you enjoyed it!!

  18. What would be a good alternative to Blue cheese?

  19. Would using honey in place of sugar for the dressing work ?


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