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Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberry & Black Pepper Vinaigrette | sweetpeasandsaffron.com


How was your week-end?  Mine was fantabulous!

Sunday was my very first Mother’s Day as a mom…and also my birthday!  So I decided that I don’t just get a day, I got a whole week-end.  It’s only fair, right?

Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberry & Black Pepper Vinaigrette | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberry & Black Pepper Vinaigrette | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

My last birthday was my 30th, and we did it up in style…Vegas style!  I am sooooo kidding on this!  I was 5 months pregnant…it was like 40 degrees C…and I couldn’t have a drink {in Vegas!!!} on my 30th birthday.  I am not lying when I say I was in bed before 9pm.  Sad face :(

We were on our babymoon, a pre-baby adventure that took us to Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Needles, Moab, Escalante, Bryce Canyon…at which point I was done.  We were camping in a van…I was 5 months pregnant…you do the math.  When you think about it, I actually lasted pretty long!  Two whole weeks 😉

Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberry & Black Pepper Vinaigrette | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

But I am guessing you’re not here to read about babymoons and all that.   So…about the salad….

Ben and I tend to get fixated on a specific salad and just eat them to death until one of us can just no longer deal with it.  This winter, we ate Deb Perlman’s Kale salad with Cherries and Pecans.  It is So. Good.  We probably had it at least 2 times a week for 4 or so months.  But as we all know, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, right?

Plus, I am no longer interested in all the prep work that comes with kale…the washing and the shredding and the drying.  OK I guess it’s not that much work.  But compared to pre-washed spinach, it is.

Would you like to meet my new favorite salad?

Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberry & Black Pepper Vinaigrette | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Hiya spinach salad!  Loaded with my favorite salad elements of something sweet {strawberries}, something crunchy {toasted almonds}, cheese! {feta}, something sharp {purple onion}, and avocado.  Avocado needs no explanation, I hope.

I paired this wonderful, fresh, summery salad with a sweet and peppery vinaigrette made with roasted strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and freshly ground black pepper.

Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberry & Black Pepper Vinaigrette | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

I am a super-huge fan of strawberries and balsamic vinegar, and I like the vinegar to have a serious bite to counteract the sweetness of the strawberries {example: this grilled salmon with a strawberry-balsamic reduction}.  Adding a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper to the mix only improved things :)

Feel free to adjust the balsamic vinegar and pepper to taste.  Most importantly, be sure that the strawberries you use are sweet!  In this case, the over-ripe, super sweet ones are the best.

And, don’t be afraid to be extra generous with this vinaigrette…it is mainly strawberries, after all, so you are free to slather it on, guilt-free.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This delicious vinaigrette combines sweet summer strawberries with balsamic vinegar and black pepper, giving it a bite.
Serves: 1 cups
  • 1 cup roasted strawberries (10-12 medium whole strawberries)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ tsp dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Strawberries
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Wash and trim strawberries. Arrange on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes and allow to cool.
  1. Combine roasted strawberries with remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust pepper/balsamic vinegar to taste.
This vinaigrette is best using the sweetest strawberries you can get. {If your strawberries are not sweet, add 2 tsp of sugar to the dressing}
If you can, use freshly ground black pepper, it really enhances the flavors.

strawberry salad FG blog new
Prep time
Total time
An easy summer salad of spinach, strawberries, avocados, feta, toasted almonds, and a peppery-sweet vinaigrette.
Serves: 4
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 1½ cups fresh strawberries, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 cup roasted strawberry & black pepper vinaigrette {recipe above}
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Serve immediately
Don't be afraid to use LOTS of the vinaigrette; it is mainly strawberries anyway, so it is good for you!

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Mary Frances May 12, 2014, 4:39 pm

    I love hearing about your adventures! My Mom’s birthday was on Mother’s day, too; happy belated birthday Denise! I’m SO glad you had such a fun weekend and trip. This salad looks amazing! That vinaigrette is so creative and a fantastic use of strawberries. I want a bowl; feel like delivering? :)

    • Denise May 14, 2014, 3:20 am

      Happy Birthday to your mom, Mary Frances! Hope you guys spoiled her :) I would totally deliver if I could!

  • Jess @ Flying on Jess Fuel May 12, 2014, 5:07 pm

    Perfect salad for summer!! I love the idea of roasted strawberries in the dressing… really bringing out the flavor! I always make my own salad dressings since they are so easy and much healthier than bottled… I’ll definitely have to try this one :)

    • Denise May 14, 2014, 3:20 am

      Yeah, roasting the strawberries seems to concentrate their flavor. I hope you like it!

  • Ilona @ Ilona's Passion May 12, 2014, 8:34 pm

    What a healthy salad! Yummy!

  • Kathy @ Olives & Garlic May 14, 2014, 1:45 am

    Happy Mothers Day and Happy Birthday. Perfect dressing.

    • Denise May 14, 2014, 3:21 am

      Thanks, Kathy :) Happy Mother’s Day to you too, right?

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks May 14, 2014, 9:28 am

    You take the most gorgeous pictures – just stunning! pinned

  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife May 14, 2014, 1:18 pm

    Happy belated mother’s day and birthday too! What a yummy way to celebrate, and I’m glad you took the whole weekend to enjoy it!

  • Gina May 16, 2014, 4:36 am

    Um, ROASTED strawberry vinaigrette?!?! I hate making dressings but this may be the game changer.

    • Denise May 16, 2014, 7:04 pm

      I always reach for the bottled stuff, Gina, but this dressing is worth the {small} effort!

  • Catherine March 15, 2015, 10:25 pm

    Dear Denise, This sounds like a fabulous vinaigrette. I love making my own dressings for salad. A wonderful idea to roast the strawberries…I will be trying that! Take care, Catherine xo
    Catherine recently posted…March #SecretRecipeClub- Easy Blueberry MuffinsMy Profile

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