Strawberry Spinach Salad is a personal favorite and major crowd pleaser!  This recipe starts with a bed of spinach and red leaf lettuce. Toppings ideas are endless but I suggest you use bacon crumbles, sliced red onions, candied pecans, chopped bell peppers, fresh strawberries, and fried wontons.

This salad is simple enough for lunch or dinner, yet sophisticated and elegant enough to serve for a holiday gathering, party, or celebration. 

Overhead photo of a strawberry spinach salad topped with pecans and wontons.

A crowd pleaser

My go-to salad is this spinach and strawberry salad because it’s one that everyone loves. It’s devoured and loved by all.

This recipe comes from my mother. It’s a small labor of love because it requires a solid hour of preparation (frying the wontons, making the dressing, and prepping the other topping ingredients). But oh my goodness, the results are INSANELY good and well worth the effort! Plus this recipe makes quite a bit. If you’re lucky enough to have have leftovers this salad makes a perfect lunch the following day.

You can simplify the salad by eliminating some the toppings or replacing them with other ingredients you have on hand. The strawberry jam and fresh strawberries can be replaced with raspberry jam and fresh raspberries for example.

Overhead photo of a strawberry spinach salad topped with a homemade strawberry salad dressing.

Ingredients 

For the homemade strawberry spinach salad dressing

  • Red wine vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Oil – I used vegetable oil, but canola oil, grapeseed oil or other neutral flavored oil will work.
  • Dry mustard
  • Salt
  • Strawberry jam

For the salad

  • Red or green leaf lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Bacon crumbles – we love bacon so I cook extra.
  • Sugar – use the sugar to make sugared pecans.
  • Pecans – use pecan halves, no need to chop them.
  • Wontons – cut into thin strips.
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Strawberries

Close up photo of a strawberry spinach salad surrounded by garnishes: strawberries, fried wontons, pecans.

How to make Strawberry Spinach Salad

  1. Make the salad dressing. In a large liquid measuring cup whisk the vinegar, sugar, oil, dry mustard, salt, and jam. Mix vigorously until all ingredients are well blended. Set aside. If making in advance, you can cover and refrigerate the dressing until ready to use. Strawberry salad dressing in a liquid measuring cup.
  2. Make the sugared pecans. In a skillet over medium heat add the sugar and pecans. Stir occasionally until the sugar has melted and the nuts are coated with the gooey sugar and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. Sugar and pecans in a skillet.
  3. Fry the wonton strips in hot cooking oil, remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate. Fried wonton strips on a white plate.
  4. Assemble the salad. When ready to serve the salad you have 2 options: 1) You can toss everything together in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing overtop. 2) You can assemble individually so that one can choose how many/which toppings they’d like on their salad.
  5. To serve: place the red leaf lettuce, spinach, bacon, bell pepper, onion, and strawberries in a large bowl and toss. Add the salad dressing and toss to coat. Add the pecans and wontons last. Serve immediately.

Overhead photo of a strawberry spinach salad topped with red onion, strawberries, sugared pecans, and fried wontons.

FAQ and Tips

  • Rather than add everything to a large bowl, you can make individual salads and family members or friends can add their own toppings and dressing.
  • You can make the salad dressing in advance, simply make the dressing, cover, and then store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Dressing will last 7-10 days in the refrigerator.
  • Can use fresh raspberry jam and fresh raspberries instead of the strawberry jam and fresh strawberries.
  • You don’t have to use pecans, you can use any nut variety you’d like… almonds, cashews, walnuts.
  • Can replace the fresh fruit with dried cranberries. Doing this makes this summer spinach salad more fall and winter appropriate.
  • Do you have to make sugared pecans? No it’s not a necessary step. Making sugared pecans is a tad time consuming, but it adds a nutty, toasty, yet sweet crunch to the salad.
  • I don’t have wontons, what should I do? You can skip the wontons if you’d like. It’s one component of the salad that dresses it up to make it more of a special occasion/holiday salad.
  • You can add variations and additional toppings if you’d like, a popular one… feta cheese! It will add a boost of saltiness (if that’s your thing).

Two forks in a bowl of Strawberry Spinach Salad.

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Two forks in a bowl of Strawberry Spinach Salad.
Print Review
5 from 1 vote

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This salad is a personal favorite and a major crowd pleaser! With so many delicious toppings, it will surely be the salad everyone craves!
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Servings: 10 servings

Ingredients
 

Strawberry Spinach Salad Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam

Salad

  • 1 head red leaf lettuce - or green leaf lettuce
  • 3-4 cups spinach - stems trimmed (can add more or less spinach)
  • 1/3 cup bacon crumbles
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 15 wontons - cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers - chopped
  • 1/2 red onion - thinly sliced
  • 1 cup strawberries - sliced

Instructions
 

  • Make the dressing: In a large liquid measuring cup whisk the vinegar, sugar, oil, dry mustard, salt, and jam. Mix vigorously until all ingredients are well blended. Set aside. If making in advance, you can cover and refrigerate the dressing until ready to use. 
  • Toast the pecans: In a skillet over medium heat add the sugar and pecans. Stir occasionally until sugar melts and nuts are coated and slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. 
  • Fry wontons in hot cooking oil util golden, remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate. 
  • When ready to serve salad place the red leaf lettuce, spinach, bacon, bell pepper, onion, and strawberries in a large bowl and toss. Add the salad dressing and toss to coat. Add the pecans and wontons last. Serve immediately. 

Notes

Can use fresh raspberry jam and fresh raspberries instead of the strawberry jam and fresh strawberries. Use any nut variety you’d like… almonds, cashews.
Can replace the fresh fruit with dried cranberries.
When ready to serve the salad you have 2 options: 1) You can toss everything together in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing overtop. 2) You can assemble individually so that one can choose how many/which toppings they'd like on their salad.
 
Recipe source: my mother, Marcell.

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcal (15%)Carbohydrates: 28g (9%)Protein: 4g (8%)Fat: 21g (32%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Sodium: 269mg (11%)Potassium: 161mg (5%)Fiber: 3g (12%)Sugar: 20g (22%)Vitamin A: 1090IU (22%)Vitamin C: 23mg (28%)Calcium: 31mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
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