Bring Summer to your table by making this Strawberry Spinach Salad with Mango, Avocado, Blueberries, and Cashew Nuts, tossed with a simple homemade balsamic vinaigrette. This recipe makes a great Summer meal – perfect for lunches, picnics, grilled meats, and anything outdoors! This salad has become a new favorite in my family, and we make it all the time at home.
Ingredients you need for Strawberry Spinach Salad
This salad is healthy, gluten free, packed with fiber, nutrients, and vitamins. And, it’s easy to make. In fact, this colorful Summer salad uses only 6 ingredients:
baby spinach, chopped
sliced fresh strawberries
Baby spinach or regular spinach?
For salads I recommend using baby spinach. Baby spinach has more delicate leaves than regular, mature spinach, and is more suitable for salads. Mature spinach is better suited for cooking and sautéing as in this delicious recipe: cooked spinach with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon rind. I also use mature spinach in many of my pasta recipes, such as in this asiago chicken pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.
Homemade balsamic vinaigrette
Make this easy balsamic vinaigrette by combining together 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon mustard powder, and 1 teaspoon onion powder in a medium size bowl and whisking until well-emulsified. Make sure to season your salad dressing with garlic salt or garlic powder, as well as with salt and pepper.
I like the dressing on the sweeter side, which for me means 4 tablespoons of brown sugar in this recipe, but feel free to make it less or more sweet (by adding/subtracting the amount of brown sugar), depending on how you like it!
What does it mean to emulsify? Emulsifying means to thoroughly combine olive oil with the balsamic vinegar until you can see the small drops of oil and balsamic vinegar evenly interspersed throughout the salad dressing. You do that by vigorously whisking the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl, or by shaking them in a closed container, such as a glass jar. After all this intensive whisking and/or shaking, your salad dressing should have a nice, smooth, even texture.
What other salad dressings go well with strawberry spinach salad?
Strawberry spinach salad always goes well with vinaigrette type of salad dressing, not the creamy type. One of the best salad dressing with this kind of salad would be this delicious maple balsamic dressing. For even more Summer vibe, add fresh basil to your dressing. Yes, basil. Strawberries and fresh basil are amazing together! Such as in this Basil Vinaigrette Recipe . And if you want a very Summer, very strawberry dressing and have more time on you hands, do make this sophisticated Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing.
Nuts to include in salads
I am a big fan of nuts. Nuts add earthy flavor, a nice crunch, and beautiful texture to any salad. My favorite nuts to use in salads include: pecans, slivered almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine nuts. I recommend toasting the nuts right before adding them to the salad, as it really changes the flavor of the nut for the better. Tip: when adding nuts to the salad, use half of them whole, but grind the other half into smaller bits, which will add more texture, and it also makes the salad prettier. Also, don’t forget about seeds! Seeds work great in salads, too, especially pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, both toasted.
How to make strawberry spinach salad
- First of all, use baby spinach. I like to chop up the spinach leaves or tear them, so that the salad has the look of a “chopped” salad. Add sliced strawberries, diced avocado, blueberries, and sliced mango. Adding avocado brings creaminess, while mango adds lusciousness to this beautiful salad.
- Brown sugar is essential in this balsamic vinaigrette dressing – when combined with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, it’s what makes this dressing so flavorful and tasty. The mustard powder provides just the right amount of “kick”. A little bit of onion powder and garlic powder (or garlic salt) creates even more flavor!
- Do not add the dressing to the salad until serving time, otherwise the spinach will wilt quickly. Add the dressing right before you’re ready to serve the salad! Also, add just enough dressing to coat the leaves – don’t pour all of the dressing into the salad at once (it could be too much for your taste) – you don’t have to use all of the dressing – let your taste be your guide.
- Finally top the salad with the cashew nuts (use my advice to chop up half of the cashews into smaller bites for more texture).
This salad is colorful and refreshing like summer itself, and the dressing is super delicious!
More Strawberry Spinach Salad recipes
When it’s Summer, I love combining spinach and fresh strawberries in a salad, using all sorts of other ingredients. So here are my suggestions. One of my most favorite salads of all times is a Strawberry Spinach Salad with Bacon, Feta, and Toasted Almonds – this salad has bacon, so enough said! If you like quinoa, you will be pleasantly surprised how well quinoa goes with spinach and strawberries and a balsamic salad dressing in this Quinoa salad with spinach, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, mandarin oranges.
This Strawberry Spinach Salad features Mango, Avocado, Blueberries, and Cashew Nuts ,tossed with a simple homemade balsamic vinaigrette. A great side for picnics, grilled meats, and anything outdoors!
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- garlic salt or garlic powder, to taste
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 10 oz baby spinach fresh (about 10 cups of torn leaves)
- 4 cups strawberries , cleaned and hulled, freshly sliced
- 1 avocado , chopped
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 mango , sliced
- 1/4 cup cashews
- In a medium bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, and whisk together well. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can serve the dressing immediately or you can cover it and chill for an hour.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the salad ingredients, except the cashew nuts. Add the dressing to the salad and toss. Sprinkle cashew nuts on top of the salad.
This recipe was originally published on June 12, 2014, and republished with updates, cooking tips in May 2018.