Strawberry spinach salad with fresh mint, briny feta, and a lemony balsamic dressing will have your taste buds firing on all cylinders. Serve on a beautiful day when the grill is hot and the sun is shining!
Strawberry spinach salad, just like my beloved Mediterranean Watermelon Salad, proves that juicy, bright fruit can–and should–play for the savory team. All you need is salty feta cheese and fresh herbs to leave you wondering if strawberries ever really belonged on ice cream. (Okay, they’re also great on ice cream! But don’t miss out on what they can bring to the savory table.)
This strawberry spinach salad feels like a celebration of the season on a platter. A recipe like this is meant for those beautiful months when you can let fresh ingredients do all the talking. Consider this our hard-earned reward for cooking with the seasons.
We’ve reached the time of year when you don’t need to do much work to have a colorful meal loaded with flavor, and I am here for it! Enjoy this salad as a healthy and fresh main dish, or serve it on the side of Grilled Chicken or Broiled Salmon.
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Strawberry Spinach Salad
The ingredients for this strawberry feta salad can be found year-round. That said, they’re at their most vibrant during spring and summer. Be patient if you can!
- Lemon: One whole lemon perfectly balances the sweetness of the honey balsamic dressing.
- Balsamic vinegar: With a sweet and tart flavor and slightly syrupy consistency, balsamic is an excellent pairing for strawberries.
- Honey: Honey balances the vinegar and gives the dressing a glossy finish. Use a high quality variety, my favorite being our Alfa honey from Greece.
- Seasoning: All you need is a healthy pinch of salt and black pepper to enhance the flavor of this fresh salad.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: A peppery olive oil, like Spanish Hojiblanca, will add another component to this dish. Or, opt for something silky smooth, like our Italian Nocellara, to give the fresh summer the spotlight.
- Sliced almonds: Blanched almonds don't have skin, but they do have the best flavor, and pre-sliced will save you some time.
- Baby spinach: Delicate and slightly sweet baby spinach is strawberry’s perfect match. If you’d prefer another green, go for something equally as tender. Baby arugula would be a deliciously peppery substitution.
- Strawberries: Grab the reddest strawberries you can find, with no thick white tops. A bright red and fragrant fruit is a great sign that the strawberries are fresh.
- Shallots: Shallots are sweeter and milder than onions so they won’t compete with the salad’s delicate flavors. If you’d rather substitute with onion, use a small amount of very finely chopped red onion. Shocking it for 10 minutes in ice water also mellows the bite.
- Mint: Mint bridges the gap between sweet and savory, and adds a fresh element. If you’re not a fan of mint, parsley would work in its place or you could just leave it out.
- Feta: If you can, go for a high-quality sheep’s milk feta preserved in brine and crumble it yourself. Pre-crumbled feta only saves a few seconds and tends to be less fresh and flavorful.
How to Make Strawberry Spinach Salad
This easy salad recipe requires almost no cooking at all. A quick toast of the almonds and you’re done! Make the dressing the night before serving to get ahead. Simply give it a nice whisk and dress the salad in the final moments before serving.
- Get ready: Peel and thinly slice 2 small shallots. Crumble enough feta to fill a ¼ cup measure. Trim the heads off the top of 1 pound of strawberries, then thinly slice.
- Make the dressing: Juice one lemon into a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey and whisk to combine. Whisk in a big pinch of kosher salt and black pepper (about ¾ teaspoon each). Continue vigorously whisking as you begin to drizzle in extra virgin olive oil. Slowly add oil until the dressing reaches your desired consistency, ¼ to ⅓ cup. Continue to whisk until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside for now.
- Toast the almonds: In a small skillet set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add ½ cup of sliced almonds and cook, tossing regularly. When they turn golden brown and become fragrant, about 5 minutes later, remove from the heat. Set aside to cool while you work on the salad.
- Assemble the salad: In a large salad bowl, add 6 ounces of spinach. Add the strawberries, shallots, and mint. Pour in the dressing over the salad and toss well. You want to ensure the dressing is evenly distributed, and the spinach is well coated.
- Finish and serve: Add the feta cheese and toasted almonds and give it another gentle toss. Serve, topped with more feta to taste!
Tips for Making Strawberry Spinach Salad
This easy salad recipe will adorn your table with vibrant color and flavor with very little effort. Here are some extra tips to make the fruits and vegetables pop.
- Thoroughly wash the strawberries. Strawberries are like little magnets for dirt. Sometimes the very best strawberries from the farmers market come caked in extra love from the earth. To clean them, fill a mixing bowl with cold water. Give them a bath while you remove their tops.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the mint. Mint is especially delicate. The leaves easily bruise, losing some of their bright green color and fresh flavor. There are many ways to chop mint leaves, all of which are better with a sharp knife. One of my favorite techniques is to stack the leaves on top of each other and roll them like a cigar. Slice crosswise down the cigar in a confident rocking motion to avoid bruising. Kitchen scissors or gently tearing with your hands also works well.
- Use the spinach to taste test the dressing. The best way to check the salt levels on a salad dressing is with a leaf. Dip a baby spinach leaf into the dressing and take a bite. Add more salt to the dressing if it tastes flat.
- Keep an eye on the almonds. The oil in nuts tastes very bitter when you take the toast a step too far. Keep an eye on them as they toast and toss frequently. As soon as they’re golden brown, remove them from the heat.
What to Serve with Strawberry Spinach Salad
Strawberry spinach salad goes best as a side to other light Mediterranean dishes. Grilled Swordfish would be absolutely delicious. The memory of simple summer meals like strawberry feta salad and grilled swordfish helps get me through the depths of winter!
For a vegetarian feast, try alongside Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers With Basil Vinaigrette. You’d be hard-pressed to find a plate that looks that colorful and pretty at a restaurant. If you’re a meat eater, smokey and deeply savory Grilled Chicken Kabobs nicely balance to the fresh salad.
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Strawberry Spinach Salad
For the dressing
For the salad
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces baby spinach
- 1 pound strawberries trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 small shallots thinly sliced
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup crumbled feta plus more to your liking
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and honey. Add a big pinch of kosher salt and black pepper (about ¾ teaspoon each). Whisk to combine. Continue vigorously whisking as you begin to drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil. Slowly add oil until the dressing reaches your desired consistency, between ¼ cup and ⅓ cup. Continue to whisk until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking.
- Toast the almonds: In a small skillet set over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add the almonds and cook, tossing regularly, until they turn golden brown and become fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately and set aside to cool while you work on the salad.
- Assemble the salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, shallots, and mint. Pour in the dressing and toss to ensure the dressing is well distributed, and the spinach is well coated.
- Finish and serve: Add the feta cheese and toasted almonds and give it another gentle toss. Serve, topped with more feta to taste.
- If your almonds are looking on the edge of too toasty, spread them on a plate to cool. They will continue to toast in the hot pan–even off the heat–so you don’t want to overdo it.
- Strawberries are great little dirt collectors. To wash them, give them a bath in cold water. The water will get in all the nooks and crannies where the seeds live.
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