The yummiest red onion salad dressing is served with My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad; perfect for spring and summertime entertaining!

woman holding a large white bowl of My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad

If you have a special friend coming over for lunch or dinner anytime soon, My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad is fantastic. Just add protein (chicken or steak) and it makes a lovely meal. Or, serve as a side dish. 

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad

This is the best “crowd-pleaser” salad that you can make for a party! It’s the first to be devoured! Keep reading where to buy this EPIC salad bowl, too!

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad

Don’t you love it when you find a good salad dressing? The secret is in the dressing! You’re going to love this easy salad dressing that you can make up ahead of time. It’s so good, I keep it stocked in my fridge!

If you love Cafe Sintra’s red onion poppyseed dressing here in Sunriver where I live, well … this recipe is close!

big white bowl of My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad

I’ve made this salad many, many times, and it’s a great way to get kids to eat spinach! It’s colorful, naturally sweet, and as wonderful as it gets. I personally like larger slices of strawberries (slice into thirds) but a quick way to slice strawberries and make them very thin, is to use an egg slicer!

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad with goat cheese

How to Make the Best Ever Strawberry Spinach Salad

Consider this recipe easy and a go-to for your next party.

Prepare the dressing ahead of time.

Wash the spinach and dry well. You can even chop all the ingredients (crumble the cheese) and put in containers until you’re ready to assemble.

As always, do not toss the salad until right before serving!

best dressing for Strawberry Spinach Salad

Key Strawberry Salad Ingredients

Spinach. Spinach and strawberries are classic together and an excellent choice. You can always use any kind of lettuce or arugula for this salad in place of spinach.

Strawberries. Buy the juiciest, ripest fruit you can find. You can always mix the combination with blueberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, or mandarin oranges.

Toasted pecans. We love a crunch to our salad, but if you don’t like pecans, swap them out with toasted slivered almonds or chopped walnuts. TIP: Lay on a papertowel and toast in the microwave for 2 minutes, shuffling them around half-way through.

Goat cheese. Adding a bit of creaminess and tang is what we love with this sweet salad. If you don’t like goat cheese, try adding feta, or a mild blue cheese like gorgonzola.

A tip for buying cheese: Don’t buy it already crumbled. Crumble it yourself, because it will be way more fresh and tasty.

Best red onion dressing: Recipe below, homemade is the BEST.  It thickens up as it sits in the fridge. Add a tiny bit of water or olive oil and whisk to thin it out before using.

mango bowl of My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad

Red onion tip

Adding the red onion really makes the salad. It gives this healthy Strawberry Spinach Salad a friendly bite, keeping it from being too sweet.

RED ONION TIP: I swear by this tip, when cutting red onion. Using a mandolin (pick your best price range– affiliate link), place the setting on as thin as you can get it (to actually make a slice), and slice about half of the onion. Then cut into halves, or fourths, and sprinkle on the salad. The onion is light enough so that you don’t get punched in the gut when you take a bite. It really adds to the salad.

woman holding a Strawberry Spinach Salad

Can you make Strawberry Spinach Salad ahead of time?

The beauty of this salad is that you can gather all your ingredients together ahead of time, and take it with you to a party.

As I mentioned above, prepare everything ahead in small containers or plastic Ziploc bags, and assemble right before serving.

Take the dressing with you, and drizzle and toss on the spot.

The dressing can be made a few days in advance. Easy!

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad with pecans

Additions or substitutions to Strawberry Spinach Salad:

Feel free to make adapations. I do this all the time, depending on what I have in my pantry or fridge! It’s fun to create new flavors and play around with salad ingredients:

  • Grilled steak or chicken slices or leftover rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • Crumbled feta, blue cheese, or creamy goat cheese
  • Candied almonds, walnuts, or pecans, or the spicy ones from Trader Joe’s
  • Toasted almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts (Oregon hazelnuts are the best!)
  • Mandarin oranges (canned) or small pieces of pineapple
  • Fresh raspberries or blueberries
  • Pickled red onions
  • Sunflower seeds (leave out the nuts and add seeds to make a nut-free salad)
  • Dried cranberries or cherries or other dried fruuit
  • You can always grab a pre-made salad dressing, like Marie’s Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing.

So friends, whether you’re looking for a healthy lunch or are looking for a salad to bring to a party that people will devour, this Strawberry Spinach Salad with my delicious homemade dressing is the recipe for you!

the big board 26-inch

And it’s a starter or side for any spring or summer party menu! For Easter, we divided up the meal at my friend Marie’s house. Just look how pretty she displayed The Big Board (26-inch) in her kitchen for Spring! If you didn’t know, Marie has her 19th novel that was just released, if you love fiction!

Lori made the Lamb Roast with Garlic and Rosemary and a trifle dessert. Marie made the side dishes (sauted beets and kale gratin), and I brought this strawberry salad today and the amazing Potato-Fennel Gratin (thank you Ina Garten!)recipe!

Where to buy the EPIC SALAD BOWL?

Right here, you can grab this mango wood salad bowl. I use it several times a week, and it’s the best bowl to take a salad to a party in!

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad with pecans
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Get the Recipe:

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad

TIP for toasting peans: Lay on a papertowel and toast in the microwave for 2 minutes, shuffling them around half-way through. Allow to cool before chopping.
TIP for the dressing: It thickens up as it sits in the fridge. Add a tiny bit of water or olive oil and whisk to thin it out before using.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Yield: 8


For the salad:

  • 1 ½ cup pecans
  • 16 ounces baby spinach
  • 16 ounces strawberries quartered or sliced
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 avocado, diced (optional)

For the dressing (there will be leftovers)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar


To make the poppy seed dressing:

  • Place the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend slowly, while adding the olive oil. Allow the flavors to blend at room temperature while preparing the salad. The dressing will be on the thicker side.
  • Toast the pecans; cool and set aside. Chop before using.

To assemble the salad:

  • In a large bowl, add spinach, sliced strawberries, and chopped pecans. Top with red onion sliced and crumbled goat cheese; optional to add avocado.
  • Add salad dressing and toss until evenly coated right before serving!
Cuisine: American
Course: Salad
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

My Favorite Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe