Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Hazelnuts

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Overhead shot of a gorgeous strawberry spinach salad with candied hazelnuts and dairy-free feta crumbles

This salad has it all, friends! Sweet strawberries, crunchy candied pecans, salty vegan feta, nutrient-packed spinach, and a tangy balsamic dressing. The components marry together for a party in your mouth!

Not only is this salad full of flavor, but it’s so beautiful and easy to make. Just 30 minutes required for this showstopping recipe perfect for hosting or hanging on your own! We love it as the main event topped with protein or alongside creamy pastas or savory soups. Let us show you how it’s done!

Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, black pepper, maple syrup, coconut sugar, shallot, strawberries, spinach, hazelnuts, and vegan feta cheese

How to Make Strawberry Spinach Salad

We start this party off with the sweet and crunchy candied hazelnuts. They come together in about 10 minutes by roasting hazelnuts in a coating of oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon.

Candied hazelnuts on a gold baking sheet

While they’re in the oven, the quick balsamic dressing comes together by mixing rich olive oil, tangy balsamic vinegar, and sweet maple syrup with shallot, salt, and pepper for flavor.

Whisking homemade balsamic vinaigrette in a bowl

Next, we assemble the salad: a bountiful bed of baby spinach gets topped with half of the sliced strawberries and candied hazelnuts. Toss with some of the dressing to coat each bite of salad with flavor.

Balsamic dressing next to a bowl of baby spinach and sliced strawberries

When ready to serve, garnish with the remaining strawberries and hazelnuts, plus dairy-free feta crumbles (optional) for a salty, “cheesy” finish. And if you’re a fellow member of the heavier-dressed-salads fan club, go ahead and add allll that dressing!

Angled shot of a wood serving bowl filled with strawberry spinach salad

We hope you LOVE this strawberry spinach salad! It’s:

Fresh
Sweet
Crunchy
Full of flavor
Quick & easy
& SO delicious!

It pairs beautifully topped with your choice of protein, such as our Crispy Baked Chickpeas or Easy Marinated Grilled Chicken. Or try it alongside our Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup, Creamy Mushroom and Asparagus Pasta (GF), or Vegan Stuffed Shells with Roasted Eggplant.

More Delicious Salad Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Plate of strawberry spinach salad with candied hazelnuts

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Hazelnuts

Flavorful and eye-catching strawberry spinach salad with candied hazelnuts and dairy-free feta! Perfect for pairing with creamy pastas, soups, or your choice of protein. Just 30 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Overhead shot of a wood serving bowl filled with a strawberry spinach salad
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (~2-cup servings)
Course Salad, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3 Days (stored separately)

Ingredients

HAZELNUTS

  • 1 heaping cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

DRESSING

  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper

SALAD

  • 1 (5-oz.) package baby spinach (or sub mixed greens)
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup vegan feta crumbles (optional // we like Follow Your Heart // if not dairy-free, goat cheese or feta would also work)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and add raw hazelnuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Once oven is preheated, toast hazelnuts for 7 minutes. Then remove from oven and add remaining ingredients directly to the hazelnuts (oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, sea salt, and cinnamon). Use a spatula to thoroughly toss/combine.
  • Place back in oven and roast for another 4-6 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  • In the meantime, prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a jar (or mixing bowl) and shaking vigorously (or whisking) to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more balsamic for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, salt or pepper for flavor balance, or olive oil for creaminess. Set aside.
  • To serve, add spinach, half of the strawberries, and half of the roasted hazelnuts to a large mixing/serving bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss to combine.
  • Plate and garnish with the vegan feta (optional) and remaining strawberries and hazelnuts, and serve with remaining dressing (if you like a more heavily dressed salad).
  • Best when fresh, though leftovers store separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Store hazelnuts well sealed at room temperature.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with olive oil and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 368 Carbohydrates: 19.1 g Protein: 7 g Fat: 31.9 g Saturated Fat: 2.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 23.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 68 mg Potassium: 557 mg Fiber: 5.6 g Sugar: 11.2 g Vitamin A: 3337 IU Vitamin C: 43 mg Calcium: 94 mg Iron: 3 mg

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  1. Denise says

    I am frustrated that ALL your photos go “out of focus” when I am scrolling through each article.

    Please advise if I can do something (change a setting)so that this is no longer a problem. Thank you

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Denise, so sorry for the frustration and thank you for letting us know about the issue! We’ve adjusted some settings on our end to hopefully fix it. Can you let us know if the issue is still happening? If it is, please let us know the browser you’re using and type of device so we can troubleshoot further. Thanks so much!

  2. Dana C. says

    We made this just as written and loved it! We added grilled chicken (from the 30-minute marinated chicken recipe), and my spouse went back for seconds. Definitely a recipe to hang onto.

  3. Jen says

    This salad was amazing – something you would get at a restaurant. I made it for my family and everyone loved it! I subbed pecans for the hazelnuts and used half spring mix / half spinach. I doubled the recipe for 6 people and it was completely eaten.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad it was such a hit! Thank you for the lovely review, Jen! xo

  4. Sabrina says

    I just want to say I’ve made this and it’s wonderful. I’ve never left a review for a recipe before but this one deserves it. Something so simple yet so fantastic that I wouldn’t have been able to come up with on my own if not for this recipe and achieve the same level of perfection. Thank you for sharing.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Sabrina! Thank you for leaving a review! xo

  5. Erin says

    SO SO SO good. Such a delicious take on a classic! The candied nuts are so good it could become a problem lol!!!

  6. The Vegan Goddess says

    I made this for dinner and it was wonderful. It reminds me of a salad that I get at a local restaurant.

    I didn’t have feta cheese so I left that out, obviously, and I subbed plain pecans since I didn’t have time to roast them.

    The dressing beautifully complemented the strawberries and pecans. I subbed lemon juice for the vinegar and regular yellow onion for the shallot but it’s a flexible enough recipe to allow for the swaps without sacrificing flavor.

  7. Curt says

    Oh, YUM. We live across the street from a strawberry stand that just opened, and have been making different strawberry salads for lunch all week. Made with real feta.

    Made with the berry mojito recipe on this site (we’re on vacay) — if you look it up, you WILL drink it, and probably two, just warning you. ;-)

    I always use 5oz greens for the two of us (we’re piggies), but definitely didn’t use anywhere near all the sugary nuts. (they’re good, though!)

  8. Trina says

    This salad is delicious! I also put some in my husband’s lunch.
    We got some just picked sweet strawberries at the farmers market, had to make this simple quick and did I say delicious salad. We loved the Follow Your Heart feta in the salad.
    Thank you,
    Trina

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! We’re so glad you both enjoyed it, Trina. Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  9. Ramae says

    This was amazing! Ran to the store this morning to get ingredients and just had it for supper. Used pecans instead of hazelnuts and omitted cheese. My son and I absolutely loved it!! Will definitely be making this again. What a treat!

  10. The Mad Hatter says

    I looked up the Follow Your Heart list of ingredients for their feta cheese and didn’t like what I saw. Beware that just because a product has “nice labels” like “vegan”, doesn’t mean that it’s healthy.

    It’s supposed to be non-GMO. So, what is “Modified Potato Starch” and why do we need it? Why do we need Natural Flavors, which are NOT natural? The other ingredients aren’t good for us either.

    Ingredients

    Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Modified Potato Starch, Potato Starch, Sea Salt, Less than 2% of: Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, Organic Vegan Cane Sugar, Calcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi, feel free to omit it! We kept it optional because we know not everyone will want to include it. We do find it elevates the flavor of the dish!

  11. The Vegan Goddess says

    Yes, please! I’ll sub lemon juice for the vinegar.

    Pecans would work here as well. Oh, I see that you mentioned that already.

    This is on my to-do list. : )