The perfect dinner worthy salad. Our balsamic strawberry salad features buttery lettuce, mounds of fresh strawberries, cucumber, orange slices, and big chunks of creamy goat cheese to balance it all out. This salad has everything. We even throw on some homemade candied walnuts for crunch (they only take 5 minutes to make).
What You Need to Know to Make Our Balsamic Strawberry Salad
I’m all about fruit in salads, especially when they are balanced with a punchy vinaigrette, which is precisely what happens in this strawberry salad. We also have this recipe for Strawberry Iceberg Salad if you are interested. Think wedge salad, but with strawberries and a blue cheese vinaigrette.
First things first, let’s talk about the strawberries. Of course, we want them to be juicy, ripe, and sweet, but if you don’t currently have access to the best strawberries, here’s a tip:
- Hull and halve your lackluster strawberries, place into a bowl and then dust them with a bit of sugar and a pinch of salt.
- After 10 to 15 minutes, they will have released some of their juices and dissolved the sugar and salt. This process — called maceration — will make the strawberries taste sweeter and more flavorful.
Easy Maple Candied Walnuts
Next, let’s learn how easy it is to make those maple candied walnuts. I haven’t been able to stop making candied nuts since I tried this stovetop method with maple syrup.
It’s fast and easy, plus I love them on top of salads. Of course, you could also swap these for other nuts. If you are interested, we also have these recipes for stovetop candied pecans and candied pecans made in the oven.
- Heat a wide skillet over medium heat.
- Stir in walnuts (or whatever variety of nut you love), pure maple syrup, and spices like cinnamon or cayenne pepper.
- Continue to stir the nuts around the skillet until the maple syrup begins to stick to them. This only takes a couple of minutes.
- Transfer the candied nuts to a plate or sheet of parchment paper, spread them out, sprinkle some salt over them, and let cool.
One Note on Balsamic Vinegar
The quality and cost of balsamic vinegar vary tremendously. Ideally, we use a mid-range aged balsamic vinegar from Italy. You can find great vinegar from all over the world, but when it comes to balsamic, Italy is where you want to look.
Unfortunately, higher-end balsamic vinegar can be quite expensive and, depending on your stores, hard to find. That’s why we suggest tasting your vinegar before deciding if you need a bit of extra flavor and sweetness from maple syrup when making the dressing.
You may also like: Our recipe for Everyday Balsamic Dressing
Take a Look at These Dinner Worthy Salads
- Lemony White Bean Salad with Arugula and Prosciutto
- Arugula Salad with Couscous, Cucumbers, and Feta
- Herby Cauliflower Salad with Chickpeas
- Strawberry Iceberg Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
Balsamic Strawberry Salad
Our balsamic strawberry salad features buttery lettuce, mounds of fresh strawberries, cucumber, orange slices, and big chunks of creamy goat cheese to balance it all out. This salad has everything. We even throw on some homemade candied walnuts for crunch (they only take 5 minutes to make).
The quality and cost of balsamic vinegar vary tremendously, so we recommend tasting your vinegar before making the dressing. Aged balsamic vinegar tends to taste more decadent and sweet. If this is what you have on hand, you do not need to add maple syrup to your dressing.
You Will NeedStrawberry Salad
10 ounces mild salad greens like butter lettuce or romaine
2 cups (14 ounces) strawberries, hulled and halved
Half of a large thin-skinned cucumber, sliced
1 orange, peel removed and cut into half-moons
4 ounces (113 grams) creamy goat cheese or feta cheeseMaple Balsamic Dressing
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, optional, see notes
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepperMaple Candied Walnuts
1 cup (85 grams) walnut halves
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch fine sea salt
- Make Candied Walnuts
1Heat a wide skillet over medium heat, and then add the walnut halves, maple syrup, pinch of cinnamon and pinch of cayenne. Stir the nuts around the pan for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, and the maple syrup begins to stick to them.
2Slide the nuts onto a plate or piece of parchment paper, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Allow the nuts to cool. If any nuts are stuck together, gently break them apart.
- Make Dressing
1Whisk the balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Continue to whisk while slowly pouring in the olive oil until the dressing thickens. Taste, and then adjust with more salt, pepper, or maple syrup.
2Alternatively, place all the dressing ingredients into a jar, close the lid, and shake until thickened.
- Assemble Salad
1Divide the lettuce between salad bowls. Scatter the strawberries, cucumber, orange slices, and candied walnuts on top of the lettuce, then break the goat cheese into large crumbles and divide between the salads.
2Pour the balsamic dressing over each salad and serve.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Depending on how rich and sweet your balsamic vinegar tastes, you may not need the maple syrup added to the dressing. Generally, the most expensive the balsamic vinegar, the richer and thicker it will be.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.