This Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette is light, refreshing, sweet, and tangy. Filled with hydrating cucumbers, crunchy toasted walnuts, and funky blue cheese, it's perfect as the side salad or main star!
When I was in dental school, I used to meal prep salads every single week. They weren't the most exciting but I loved how versatile they could be and how easy it was to make a big batch. Now that I have more time to experiment with toppings and dressings (hello shelter-in-place!), it's been so much fun to dress up my salads with different colors and textures! Not to mention the boost of fruit and veggies is always needed.
The base of this salad is baby spinach, my absolute favorite leafy green. It's full of vitamins A, C, and K and magnesium and iron. It's perfect for picky eaters because of it's mild, lightly sweet flavor. The two main add-ons are cucumbers and strawberries. Cucumbers promote hydration (they're 95% water) and provide a light crunch. I love fruit in my salads and juicy, sweet strawberries pair so well with the ingredients in this salad. Funky blue cheese adds a salty, creamy component while toasted walnuts add much-needed crunch. Toss in some hemp seeds for some protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
To make this salad a complete meal, add some protein. Grilled chicken, salmon, or steak would be a great addition. Feel free to throw in some grains as well - farro is a personal favorite. It's so easy to personalize!
to make this spinach and strawberry salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Like most salads, this one is incredibly easy and quick to whip up! First, prep the ingredients: de-stem and halve the strawberries, slice the cucumbers, crumble the cheese, and toast the walnuts. Persian cucumbers are a personal favorite because they make perfect bite-size slices and have very few seeds. To toast the walnuts, place them on a dry skillet over medium heat (shaking every so often) or in the toaster oven for a couple minutes. Don't forget to season the ingredients before dressing them!
For the vinaigrette, mix the balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, dijon mustard, maple syrup, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream while continually whisking to emulsify. If you have leftover dressing, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge and shake before using.
If you try the recipe, please take a snapshot and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @balancewithjess or #balancewithjess. I love seeing your re-creations!
Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 2 Persian cucumbers sliced
- 1½ heaping cups halved strawberries
- ¾ oz blue cheese crumbled
- ½ cup walnuts toasted
- 1 teaspoon hemp seeds
- Combine all the ingredients for the salad. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk everything but the olive oil together. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Continue whisking and stream in the oil to emulsify. Dress the salad with as much or as little as preferred.
products i used
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