Spinach Strawberry Salad with Roasted & Salted Pecans, Feta Cheese and Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing

This Spinach Strawberry Salad with Roasted & Salted Pecans and Feta Cheese is one of our favorite recipes to make once spring and early summer hits. It’s crisp, refreshing, and the perfect addition to any of the get-togethers you’re planning in the coming weeks (hello Memorial Day!). Top this salad with a homemade Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing and get ready to be blown away with a medley of delicious flavors.

If salad isn’t something you usually go for when you’re piling food onto your plate at a summer barbecue or pool party, try this one out and let us know what you think. This salad has been known to convert salad haters to lovers! The sweet berries, tangy feta cheese, and savory roasted and salted pecans are the perfect marriage of flavors and take this salad to the next level.

We used this recipe from Well Plated as a jumping-off point for this salad. Instead of toasting raw pecans, we decided to use Mascot’s roasted and salted pecans which saved a step. You could also use our Glazed Pecans or Praline Pecans on top of this salad which adds a sweet versus savory crunch. It really is up to you!

Spinach Strawberry Salad Recipe

For the Salad:

  • ¾ cup roasted & salted pecans (option to use glazed, praline pecans or toast your own raw pecans)
  • ½ small red onion very thinly sliced
  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 quart strawberries hulled and quartered (about 1 pound)
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (note: buy the block-style feta, not pre-crumbled for the best texture)

For the Balsamic Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Chop the pecans.
  2. Place the sliced onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad (this keeps their flavor but removes the harsh onion bite).
  3. Prepare the dressing: In a small mixing bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients—vinegar, oil, poppy seeds, honey, mustard, salt, and pepper—until well combined.
  4. Assemble the salad: Place the spinach in a great big serving bowl. Add the strawberries. Drain the red onion and add it as well. Drizzle about half of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat the leaves. Assess the amount of dressing. You want the spinach leaves to be nicely moistened but not swimming in dressing. Add a little more if needed to suit your preferences. Add the feta and pecans. Toss lightly to combine. Serve immediately, with extra dressing on the side as desired.

 

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