Who would have ever guessed that strawberries and spinach would be the dynamite combo to liven up a standard leafy salad?! Sweet, juicy strawberries and blueberries, feta cheese, creamy avocado, crunchy candied pecans, and a zesty vinaigrette come together to make this Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad a family favorite!
This spinach strawberry pecan salad ticks off all the boxes for a nutritious, tasty spring or summer salad, packing fresh flavors, crunch from the red onion and pecans, and creaminess from the avocado and feta cheese.
It’s a fantastic addition to any barbecue dishes, casseroles, or fish dishes such as pan-seared salmon or grilled trout. You could even add shredded chicken or chicken cubes to this Strawberry Spinach Salad for a light protein-packed lunch!
- fresh spinach, rinsed and pat dry – if you’d like to add other leafy greens to the salad, you certainly can – we use baby spinach because it is tender and already in perfect bite-sized pieces.
- candied pecans – make your own or buy packaged, you can even use raw or toasted pecans.
- strawberries – rinsed, dried, and halved or quartered, stems removed – use ripe fruit during the peak of strawberry season for the most delicious strawberry spinach salad
- red onions, thinly sliced – The red onion really adds a bit of bite to the salad and draws away from the ingredients being overly sweet.
- fresh blueberries, rinsed – I love to add a little complimentary fruit to this salad – blueberries vary the flavor and texture a bit.
- avocados – the avocado complements the creaminess of the feta and the nuttiness of the pecans, toss with a little lemon juice to prevent browning
- feta cheese, crumbled – the salty feta cheese adds contrast to the layers of sweet ingredients and it also gives smooth, creamy texture
- vinaigrette – we used a bottled vinaigrette here for ease – there is a mango champagne vinaigrette that is lovely with sweet strawberries. Of course, a poppyseed dressing or a simple balsamic vinaigrette is always a winner or you can even drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil.
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Substitutions and Variations
- Use goat cheese or blue cheese instead of feta.
- Toss in a teaspoon of poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
- Use your favorite vinaigrette for the salad dressing – sweet varieties work the best. Otherwise, consider combining ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil with maple syrup and a drop or two of lemon juice for your own homemade sweet dressing.
- Use store-bought candied pecans or make your own crunchy pecans from scratch for this salad. Feel free to include different nuts too, if you like, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios.
- Add other fruit to this salad such as apple, pear, or mandarin oranges. You could also add extra berries such as raspberries and blackberries or stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, and plums.
- Add grilled chicken breast to this strawberry feta salad.
- Quinoa, farro, or other grains, can take this easy spinach salad from a great side dish to the main event.
PREP: Rinse all fresh produce and pat dry. Slice strawberries and any other veggies. Toss the avocado chunks in a teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent browning.
Step 1: In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach candied pecans, strawberries, onion, and blueberries. Add avocado and cheese.
Step 2: Pour salad dressing over ingredients and toss gently to combine. Adjust dressing to taste.
Step 3: Garnish with a pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.
Toss with the salad dressing immediately before serving to maintain the crispness of your fresh ingredients in this healthy salad.
Tips for the best Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad
- The great thing about this salad is that the ingredients and quantities are completely customizable. Feel free to experiment with your personal preferences!
- For homemade candied pecans, simply combine 1 cup of pecans, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a skillet. Then heat and stir the ingredients until the sugar is completely dissolved in the butter. Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 until the pecans are crisp. Making extra candied pecans is great as a future snack too!
- The type of vinaigrette used for the recipe is flexible. A sweet vinegar dressing is extremely complimentary! Other great options include poppyseed dressing or a store-bought mango champagne vinaigrette.
- Substitute blue cheese or goat cheese for the feta. They are both rich and creamy cheeses which would work very well as a replacement.
- Serve your strawberry spinach salad ingredients in a large bowl, preferably in glass, to showcase all of those beautiful fresh strawberries and bright salad ingredients.
Healthy Salad Alert!!
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, and they don’t contain any cholesterol, fat, or sodium.
Spinach is truly good for you, just like your mom said. It’s a fantastic source of iron and is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights diseases. When eaten raw, it also provides a good amount of vitamin C. -UCI Health
Yes, you can! Separate the dry components of the salad from the wet and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator overnight or a day prior to serving. The dressing can be stored in a small mason jar but make sure that you shake it well before adding to the salad.
I don’t suggest making this salad too far in advance (as in, longer than a day) since your fresh ingredients will start to lose their structure and textures from wilting, especially with the salad dressing added.
Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days at the most.
Depending on how much dressing was added to the salad, your salad may or may not hold up well for too long in storage, so it’s best to use it up as soon as possible.
Make some roast beef sliders or jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwiches to accompany the stored salad the next day as a way to use up leftovers.
Yes, definitely! I’ve actually combined strawberries with blueberries for this salad although you can opt to use only strawberries or only blueberries. Any other berry will also work really well in this salad.
Apples and pears would be another delicious option in place of the strawberries and blueberries or as a fruity addition to the strawberries and blueberries used. Almost any fruit will work well in this strawberry spinach salad recipe because of the sweetness and the versatile feta cheese and pecans.
If you tried this Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad
- 5 oz. fresh baby spinach rinsed and pat dry
- 1 cup candied pecans
- 1 quart strawberries rinsed, dried, and halved or quartered, stems removed
- ¼ red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh blueberries rinsed
- 2 avocados diced
- ½ cup feta cheese crumbled
- ½ cup vinaigrette more or less to taste
- In a large salad bowl, toss together spinach candied pecans, strawberries, onion, and blueberries. Add avocado and cheese.
- Pour salad dressing over ingredients and toss gently to combine. Adjust dressing to taste.
- Garnish with a pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Serve immediately.
- The ingredients and amounts are completely customizable.
- Toss avocado chunks with a teaspoon of lemon juice to prevent premature browning.
- To make your own candied pecans, combine 1 cup of pecans, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a skillet. Heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved in the butter. Spread onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 until pecans are crisp.
- Sweet vinaigrettes are delicious with this recipe, as is a poppyseed dressing. We used a store-bought mango champagne vinaigrette and it was perfect.
- Great substitutions for the feta cheese include blue cheese or goat cheese.
- The separate components of the salad can be prepared a day ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator in separate airtight containers or bags until ready to serve.