Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

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When strawberries are in peak season, this salad is one of the best there is. Even when they’re not in season, it’s still fantastic.

Juicy sweet strawberries, fresh spinach, creamy avocado, crunchy pecans, feta cheese, and a tangy vinaigrette make this one of the best salads you’ll ever make, eat, and serve. It’s ideal for summer picnics and BBQs. Prepping everything ahead of time makes assembly a snap!

An overhead view of a fresh strawberry spinach salad with avocado that has been tossed together in a wooden bowl.

How To Make Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

This really is one of the simplest salads there is to bring together, but the taste and texture are everything you want in a Spring/Summer salad.

It’s the perfect side to our Marinated Grilled Chicken served with a Classic Pasta Salad and finished off with Old-Fashioned Peach Cobbler.


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The Ingredients You Will Need

Fresh Strawberries – You’ll want to go with fresh here. Look for strawberries that a bright red and firm, but not hard to the touch. Cut off the stems and slice them in half.
Baby Spinach – We recommend using baby spinach. Fresh spinach will work, too, but make sure you clean it thoroughly and chop away the tough stems.
Avocados – When selecting avocados, make sure they are not too soft to the touch. The color should not be bright green, but not dark brown. After peeling the skin away, remove the pit and cut it into cubes or slices. Toss with lime juice or lemon juice to prevent browning.
Onions – If you don’t like onions, we have a trick for you. Cut a small red onion into thin strips, and then soak them in any type of vinegar. It pickles the onions and mellows the flavor.
Nuts – We love using pecans, but walnuts, almonds, and cashews are all great choices. Be sure to toast them for maximum flavor.
Cheese – Go with something creamy and crumbly. Block cheese is best that you crumble with your own fingers. Our favorite cheese for this salad is feta, but goat, blue cheese, gorgonzola, and cotija are all wonderful choices, too.
Basil – Fresh is best. You’ll need about 1/4 cup. Cut into thin slices. It really brings it all together.

An overhead view of a large wooden salad bowl filled with halved strawberries, red onion, pecan, feta cheese, avocado chunks, and fresh spinach.

What You’ll Need To Make the Poppyseed Balsamic Vinaigrette

This dressing is the perfect accompaniment to the salad components. The dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Poppy seeds
  • Ground mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil.

EXPERT TIP: We use a jar to emulsify all the ingredients. Place them in a jar with a tight-filling lid and shake vigorously until fully combined. Pour over the salad just before serving. If you don’t have a jar with a lid, then pour the EVOO into the other ingredients in a small bowl and whisk continuously. 

A person pouring a balsamic vinaigrette from a jar over halved strawberries in a salad bowl.

How To Serve and Store

Spinach is the perfect basis for a wonderful salad. It has a peppery taste and is the perfect match for sweet strawberries and creamy avocado. And, as we all know, it has high health benefits. Pick up a bag of pre-washed spinach, and you’re good to go.

We love to serve this family style with all of the ingredients spread around in groups over the spinach.

Just before serving, add the vinaigrette, and then toss the salad at the table.

EXPERT TIP: This salad is spectacular when served fresh. However, as with many leafy salads, the texture will become soggy as it sits for too long. But don’t worry, there is usually very little (if any) salad left once guests begin to leave.

A person using two large utensils to toss a salad of fresh strawberries, spinach, and avocado with a balsamic vinaigrette in a large wooden bowl.

Other Amazing Salads To Make

Here are some other wonderful summertime salads to serve.

Chinese Chicken Salad with Mandarin
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Classic Caprese Salad
Best-Ever Lobster Salad
Green Bean and Cherry Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette
Roasted Beet with Burrata Salad

But in the meantime, you are going to love everything about this amazing Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

A white salad plate filled with a single serving of fresh strawberry spinach salad with avocado.

Ready to make the most refreshing and delicious salad in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a fresh strawberry spinach salad with avocado that has been tossed together in a wooden bowl.

Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing is the perfect salad, especially when strawberries are in peak season. You can easily prep everything in advance and assemble and dress the salad just before serving.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer or Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy salad recipe, how to make a spinach and strawberry salad, spinach and avocado salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 312kcal


  • 1 Large salad bowl
  • 1 jar with tight-fitting lid


For the Poppyseed Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp poppyseeds
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the Salad

  • ½ cup red onion cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 10 oz baby spinach washed
  • 1 quart strawberries fresh, stemmed and halved
  • 1 avocado peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • ½ cup pecans roughly chopped and toasted
  • ¼ cup basil fresh, cut into thin strips
  • ¾ cup feta block


Make the Poppyseed Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients into a jar. Tightly affix the lid to the jar and shake vigorously for about 1 minute, until the liquids are completely emulsified. Or, mix together all ingredients, except the EVOO in a small bowl. Briskly whisk in the EVOO in a small stream until completely combined and emulsified. Set aside.
    ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp poppyseeds, 1 tsp ground mustard, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper, ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Assemble the Salad

  • Place the onions in a small bowl and cover with the apple cider vinegar. It's best to allow the onions to rest in the vinegar for at least 20 minutes.
    ½ cup red onion, ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Place the spinach in a large salad bowl. Arrange the other salad ingredients on top of the spinach, including crumbling the cheese with your hands. Drain the onions and place them along with the other ingredients. Leave some of the feta and pecans to the side for topping the tossed salad.
    10 oz baby spinach, 1 quart strawberries, 1 avocado, ½ cup pecans, ¼ cup basil, ¾ cup feta
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the top of the salad. Use two salad tongs (or utensils) to fully toss the salad. Add the dressing in increments until you reach the desired coating. Don't overdress! Top with extra toasted pecans and crumbled feta. Serve at once.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you like the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
If using fresh spinach (in place of baby spinach), be sure to thoroughly wash it and cut the stems away. You may want to roughly chop the spinach, too. 
Nut substitutes: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts. Toasting them ahead of time enhances their flavor significantly. But keep an eye on them, don't let them burn!
Cheese substitutes: Goat, blue, cotija.  We recommend getting a block of cheese and then using your hands to crumble the cheese into the salad. It's creamier than pre-crumbled cheese. 
This salad is best served freshly tossed. The salad will become soggy after several hours, so leftovers (which don't exist) aren't ideal for holding on to. 


Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 454mg | Potassium: 773mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 4636IU | Vitamin C: 111mg | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 3mg
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  • 5 stars
    A reliable recipe that everyone loves! I do like your addition of feta – cuts thru the sweetness a little.

    • Hi AJ! We agree on the feta! All the flavors works so well together! Are so so happy you enjoy the salad and thank you so very much for the great review! That means the world to us! You are the best!

      • I just realized I already responded to your kind message! I though I had, but didn’t see it! Oh well! We really do appreciate your words!!!

  • 5 stars
    We picked strawberries with the grands this morning and they were excited to put them into the salad. We all liked the combination of spinach, strawberries, pecans and feta, and the dressing was delicious. (Strawberry shortcake for dessert of course.)

    • Hi Holly! So sorry for the delayed response! That sounds like a wonderful way to spend with your beautiful grandkids! We are so so happy you enjoyed the salad and strawberry shortcake for dessert sounds heavenly!!! Thanks for sharing and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us!

  • 5 stars
    This salad is so vibrant and so delicious. And really easy to prepare. Prep everything in advance and then assemble and dress just before serving. Instant WIN!!!

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