Dinner Worthy Balsamic Strawberry Salad

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). Jump to the Balsamic Strawberry Salad Recipe

Balsamic Strawberry Salad with Candied Walnuts and Goat Cheese

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.
Pouring balsamic vinaigrette over our strawberry salad

More Strawberry Recipes: We love strawberries! Take a look at our Fresh Strawberry Pie topped with whipped cream or this Strawberry Cake made with halved strawberries.

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.

  1. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat.
  2. Stir in walnuts (or whatever variety of nut you love), pure maple syrup, and spices like cinnamon or cayenne pepper.
  3. Continue to stir the nuts around the skillet until the maple syrup begins to stick to them. This only takes a couple of minutes.
  4. Transfer the candied nuts to a plate or sheet of parchment paper, spread them out, sprinkle some salt over them, and let cool.
Maple candied walnuts ready for the strawberry salad

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

Dinner Worthy Balsamic Strawberry Salad

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

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.

Makes 4 servings

You Will Need

Strawberry 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 cheese

Maple 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 pepper

Maple Candied Walnuts

1 cup (85 grams) walnut halves

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pinch ground cinnamon

Pinch cayenne pepper

Pinch fine sea salt

Directions

  • Make Candied Walnuts
  • Heat 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.

    Slide 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
    • Whisk 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.

      Alternatively, place all the dressing ingredients into a jar, close the lid, and shake until thickened.

      • Assemble Salad
      • Divide 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.

        Pour 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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/4 of the recipe / Calories 388 / Total Fat 30.7g / Saturated Fat 7.2g / Cholesterol 13.1mg / Sodium 371.7mg / Carbohydrate 23.5g / Dietary Fiber 4.7g / Total Sugars 15g / Protein 9.8g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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4 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Bobbi July 6, 2022, 1:03 am

    I have been interested in your balsamic strawberry salad since you shared it. We had it tonight for dinner and I loved it. I glazed some pecan halves and used a little extra maple syrup in making the dressing a little sweeter. Loved the goat cheese in it too. The whole thing was delicious and I plan on making it in the future. Thank you for this recipe.

    Reply
  • Linda July 3, 2022, 2:25 pm

    Excellent salad! I substituted nectarines for the oranges( in season in California). Everyone raved about this salad. Thanks.

    Reply
  • Debbie July 2, 2022, 5:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is a keeper for sure. The sweetness of the fruit went well with all the other ingredients. The dressing topped it all off nicely.

    Reply
  • Maria Aguilar June 30, 2022, 4:08 pm

    I love your recipes it’s alway fun & easy to make, Thank you, for sharing with us…

    Reply

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