This is one of my all time favorite salads – it’s almost identical to one that was served where I used to work. All of us ladies in the office were hooked on it! Not only is it beautiful and colorful, but it’s healthy and delicious too. Well, if you count candied pecans as healthy. I think we will.
The homemade strawberry vinaigrette is so easy to make in your blender and is sweet from the berries and sugar plus a little tart from the balsamic vinegar. Plus, pink dressing makes everything awesome. The candied pecans give the salad a nice little crunch and texture plus add protein to the dish. They’re very simple to make on the stovetop with only three ingredients and seriously take this salad to another level. I may or may not have snacked on them as I cooked…
Then sprinkle on some crumbled feta (goat cheese would work nicely too) and sliced fresh strawberries and you are all set. I also often add some grilled chicken to make the salad an extra filling meal. Hope that you enjoy!
Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette, Feta, and Candied Pecans
For the dressing:
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
For the candied pecans:
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup pecan halves
3 Tbsp sugar
For the salad:
Baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried if needed
Sliced strawberries, for topping
Feta cheese crumbles
Yield: Enough dressing and pecans for at least 4 salads
To make the dressing, simply combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. (add a little more berries or sugar to taste if you think it needs more sweetness)
To make the candied pecans, melt the butter in a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss in the sugar and pecans, stirring to evenly coat. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar begins to caramelize and the pecans brown. Spread the pecans out on a lined baking sheet to cool.
To serve, arrange the spinach on a plate or in a salad bowl and add the candied pecans, feta crumbles, and sliced strawberries. Drizzle on the vinaigrette when you’re ready to eat. Enjoy!