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Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad

This fresh strawberry, goat cheese, and spinach salad is a flavor explosion! It’s loaded with goat cheese, bacon, pecans, and red onions. Then, drizzled with an easy honey balsamic vinaigrette. It’s a perfect salad for a warm, sunny day. Make this strawberry salad in spring and summer with the best red ripe strawberries!

Summer strawberry, goat cheese, and spinach salad on a white plate.

I love making this strawberry goat cheese salad with the first strawberries of spring. Juicy ripe strawberries and tender green spinach capture the fresh seasonal flavors of spring and summer.

I get so excited every year over strawberry season! We have the most amazing local strawberry farms, and I love picking them up straight from the farm. You can enjoy this sweet and savory salad through the summer.

You’ll love this combination of rich, tangy goat cheese and sweet, juicy strawberries. Add toasted pecans and bacon pieces for a salt and crunch. Then, top it off with a sweet honey balsamic vinaigrette and marinated onions. So, so good. 

This recipe makes 2 dinner-sized portions or 4 side salad servings. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd. Serve this strawberry and spinach salad as a light meal, a side, or a starter. To make a heartier meal, top it with your protein of choice. It pairs perfectly with grilled chicken.

This sweet and savory strawberry and goat cheese salad is quick and easy. Less time spent on dinner means you get to spend more time outside.  

Ingredients

Strawberries, spinach, bacon, red onion, goat cheese, pecans, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, Dijon, salt, and pepper on a counter.
  • I usually buy a container of pre-washed baby spinach to keep this simple. If you have baby spinach in your garden, you can use that.
  • Fresh strawberries are the star of the show. Use the best strawberries you can find. I love making this when strawberries are growing at our local farm! 
  • Crumble plain chevre goat cheese on this salad to add a creamy texture and tangy flavor.
  • Pecans add a mild nutty flavor and give it plenty of crunch.
  • The salty umami burst from the bacon adds a mouthwatering contrast to the sweet strawberries. I make my easy oven-cooked bacon for this salad. If you like to save time, you can use packaged bacon pieces.
  • The dressing is a super easy shaken vinaigrette. Shake balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and extra virgin olive oil in a mason jar. Yes, it’s that easy.
  • Marinate slices of red onion in the vinaigrette to mellow the onion and flavor the dressing. It’s such an easy and nutritious way to add flavor!

Substitutions & Variations

  • Make it Red, White, and Blue: To make a stunning patriotic salad, change how you present the salad. You’ll arrange it differently than described in the recipe card and add blueberries. Go ahead and toss the spinach in the dressing with the onions. Then, arrange it on a platter and top with the pecans and bacon. Then, sprinkle on the goat cheese. Next, arrange the strawberries on top. Last, add a cup of blueberries. This red, white, and blue salad is sure to impress. Arrange it right before the time to serve. This doesn’t refrigerate well.
  • Swap the Cheese: Use feta instead of chevre goat cheese.
  • Mix up the Nuts: Use walnuts instead of pecans.
  • Change the Sweetener: Use maple syrup instead of honey in the dressing.
  • Other Ideas: You can also swap the goat cheese crumbles for a few slices of pecan-crusted goat cheese. Or use homemade candied pecans in place of the toasted ones. Yum!

How to Make Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Spinach

The honey balsamic vinaigrette contains more vinegar than a typical vinaigrette. The extra punch cuts the richness of the bacon, nuts, and cheese. The dressing combines the steps of marinating red onions and making a vinaigrette. The onions marinate in the vinaigrette while you prepare the salad ingredients. It helps them mellow out a little bit and flavors the vinaigrette. 

Making the vinaigrette in a mason jar means you can skip slow pouring the oil while whisking. Shake the mason jar instead. 

You will want to use a heavy-bottomed pan to toast the pecans. I love this 12-inch cast iron skillet for jobs like this.

Pay close attention while you are toasting the pecans. This step only takes a couple of minutes. Stir them frequently. They’re done once they’re fragrant. Remove them from the pan and let them cool on a cutting board before chopping them. You can start assembling your salad while the pecans cool. 

A salad with spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, pecans, onions, and bacon.

Once the ingredients are prepped, all that’s left is building the salad. Arrange the spinach on a large platter or in a salad bowl. Then, top with the strawberries, goat cheese, pecans, and bacon. Last, drizzle the onions and vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.

Serve this salad immediately.

How to serve Strawberry, Spinach, and Goat Cheese Salad

  • I look forward to making this strawberry goat cheese salad on warm spring days. It also makes a delightful and refreshing salad during the heat of the summer. It’s quick, nutritious, and refreshing! 
  • Serve it as a side salad with your favorite summer meal. It’s delicious with any grilled protein and starch.
  • Try serving it as a light meal that is still very satisfying. You can add extra protein if you like. Grilled chicken, salmon, sliced steak, or tempeh all pair well with it.
  • Or, serve it with a scoop of quinoa to add a serving of whole grains and protein.
  • I also love making this as a first course for a spring or summer dinner. Try it for Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, or 4th of July. You can easily double or triple the recipe to feed a crowd. If you make a big batch, use a quart-size jar for the dressing!

Looking for more strawberry recipes?

I look forward to making this strawberry goat cheese salad every spring! If you loved the recipe, use the stars in the recipe card to give it a 5-star rating!

Print

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad

A spinach strawberry goat cheese salad.

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5 from 1 review

Fresh strawberries, spinach, goat cheese, bacon, and red onions tossed in a honey balsamic vinaigrette make the perfect salad for warm spring and summer days.

  • Author: Mandi
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 side salads 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the dressing

  • 1/2 of a small red onion
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the salad

  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 5-ounce package of fresh, pre-washed baby spinach (about 5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries (from 6 or 7 large strawberries)
  • 4 ounces of plain chevre goat cheese, crumbled
  • 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled or 1/3 cup packaged bacon pieces

 

Instructions

Make the vinaigrette

  1. Peel and thinly slice the red onion and put it in a pint-sized mason jar.
  2. Add the remaining dressing ingredients to the mason jar.  
  3. Screw the lid on tightly and shake until well combined.  
  4. Allow the vinaigrette to marinate at room temperature while you prepare the salad ingredients.

Toast the pecans

  1. Toast the pecan halves in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir them frequently until they become fragrant—roughly 2-3 minutes.
  2. Then, pour them onto a cutting board and wait for them to cool to room temperature.  
  3. Once the pecans have cooled, roughly chop them.

Assemble the salad

  1. Arrange baby spinach in a large serving bowl or platter.
  2. Top with pecans, strawberries, bacon, and goat cheese.
  3. Give the honey balsamic vinaigrette a quick shake, then pour on top and toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately. 

Notes

If you double or triple the recipe, use a quart-size jar for the dressing.

Make a Red, White, and Blue Salad for the 4th of July or Memorial Day: You can make a stunning patriotic salad. Add 1 cup of blueberries and follow the instructions in the variations section of the post.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 422
  • Sugar: 10.7 g
  • Sodium: 624.9 mg
  • Fat: 35.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.6 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Protein: 13.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 27.3 mg

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