Strawberry Spinach Salad is loaded with sweet strawberries, salty feta cheese, toasty pecans, and a delicious homemade blush wine vinaigrette!
It's hard to believe that June has already arrived! Though spring doesn't technically wrap up until later in the month, in my mind, it's already summer in every way that matters...school is letting out, vacation is upon us, and here in Texas, temperatures are already cruising into the mid-90s. I don't know about you, but my palate changes with the seasons. Summertime has me gravitating towards recipes that are on the lighter side, quick and easy to prepare, and raring to take advantage of in-season produce. So along with homegrown tomatoes and dinners from the grill and freshly churned peach ice cream, nothing screams summer like salads...and specifically, this Strawberry Spinach Salad with feta and pecans!
In fact, this Strawberry Spinach Salad, with its varied flavors and textures, is probably my very favorite salad, whether I'm eating it in January or June. The juicy strawberries are a nice counterbalance to the crisp spinach, the feta cheese adds a creamy richness, and the toasted pecans supply the perfect amount of crunch.
Homemade Blush Wine Vinaigrette
The friend who first shared this recipe with me instructed me to dress the salad with the ever-popular Brianna's Blush Wine Vinaigrette. And that I did, for years and years.
Then one day, as I was throwing this salad together for a party, I realized that I only had a little bit of salad dressing left in the fridge and no new bottle in the pantry like I had assumed. There wasn't time to run to the store, so I perused the ingredient list on the back of my almost-empty bottle and came up with my own version of Blush Wine Vinaigrette. And let me tell you, I think it's better! I was able to cut back on the sugar (which Brianna's lists as its first ingredient) while still maintaining a pleasantly (but not cloyingly) sweet end result, and adding a splash of lemon juice seemed to brighten up the overall flavor.
The greatest testament to this salad's deliciousness, however, is that my extremely picky, suspiciousofanythinggreen 3-year-old will eat a whole bowl of it with nary a protest. And that makes for a start to the summer that's sweeter than strawberries.
More Summer Salads
- Marinated Tomatoes
- Summer Lentil Salad
- Corn, Tomato, & Avocado Salad
- Chicken Berry Pasta Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Feta, Toasted Pecans, & Blush Wine Vinaigrette
FOR THE BLUSH WINE VINAIGRETTE:
- 1/2 cup sunflower oil (or another light vegetable oil)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
FOR THE SALAD:
- 12 ounces baby spinach
- 16 ounces strawberries, washed, hulled, & sliced
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- Prepare the vinaigrette. Measure the oil, vinegar, water, lemon juice, sugar, and garlic salt into a Mason jar. Tightly screw on lid and shake vigorously until everything is thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spread pecans on sheet pan and bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted, watching carefully to prevent burning. Allow to cool and coarsely chop.
- In a large salad bowl, layer the spinach, strawberries, pecans, and feta cheese. Just before serving, dress with Blush Wine Vinaigrette and toss until salad ingredients are evenly coated.
- Toasting the pecans takes a few extra minutes, but it really is worth it as it brings out much more flavor and crunch.
- Only use as much vinaigrette as needed to dress the salad. You will have some leftover.