Baby Spinach with Fresh Berries, Pecans & Goat Cheese in Raspberry Vinaigrette

5 stars based on 3 votes

spinach-berry-pecan-goatcheese-salad

Usually we think of fresh berries as something to eat for breakfast or dessert, but here they make an elegant addition to a savory salad of baby spinach, pecans and goat cheese. It may sound like an unusual combination but I promise you, it works. The raspberry vinaigrette — fruity, tart and sweet — enhances the flavor of the berries and brings all of the elements together. I like it best as a first course for an outdoor dinner party (it’s so pretty and always elicits oohs and aahs), but it’s also great served alongside grilled chicken or fish for a luncheon or informal dinner.

Begin by making the vinaigrette. Combine the raspberry vinegar, vegetable oil, Dijon mustard, honey, minced shallots, salt and pepper in a glass jar or sealable container and shake well to emulsify. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of honey: the sweetness of the dressing, against the tartness of the berries and tanginess of the goat cheese, is the what makes the salad so good.

Right before serving, combine the spinach, berries and pecans in a large bowl and toss gently with the vinaigrette.

Crumble the goat cheese over the tossed salad (rather than tossing it in) so that it doesn’t melt into the dressing. If you don’t care for goat cheese, feel free to substitute blue cheese or feta.

That’s all there is to it. Serve and enjoy!

Baby Spinach with Fresh Berries, Pecans & Goat Cheese in Raspberry Vinaigrette

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots, from one shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 (6-7 ounce) bag or carton baby spinach (about 6-7 cups)
  • 2 cups (1 pint) stemmed and sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) blueberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted
  • 4 ounces goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Combine raspberry vinegar, vegetable oil, honey, Dijon mustard, shallots, salt and pepper in a small sealable container and shake vigorously to blend (be sure honey doesn't stick to bottom). Alternatively, combine vinegar, honey, mustard, shallots, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified.
  2. In a large bowl, combine baby spinach, strawberries, blueberries and pecans. Add the dressing little by little and toss until greens are well-coated (you may have a bit left over but you'll use most of it). Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over top and serve.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 481
  • Fat: 37g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 33g
  • Sugar: 26g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Sodium: 296mg
  • Cholesterol: 13mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Absolute perfection! Best spinach salad I’ve had. A total hit!

    - Caroline on October 19, 2014 Reply
  • Looks amazing! Can you substitute balsamic vinegar for the raspberry?

    - Shelly on July 17, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Shelly, The dressing will have a much different flavor, but balsamic will work just fine.

      - Jenn on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you for the awesome recipe. Such a beautiful salad!

    - Rachel on June 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made this salad for my family & it is delicious! My three year old son wanted his own bowl, and that was after he finished his usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich! My husband asked me to make it next time company comes. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    - Katie M on June 8, 2014 Reply
  • Delicious & fresh salad! Great tasting and easy to prepare.

    - Jen on November 7, 2013 Reply
  • Great Salad!! I added a little red onion too!

    - Tori on October 8, 2012 Reply
  • The salad is amazing! I make the salad for all my girl friends and they all want the recipe….. : )

    - Liz on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • Made this salad when we had company (two teenagers, two twenty-two year olds, and 4 fifty-somethings), and everyone loved it. I used feta rather than goat cheese (since that’s what I had in the fridge), and it tasted great. I also toasted the pecans in a smal frying pan on top of the stove, rather than in the oven, to save time. Great tasting, healthy salad and it’s easy to make.

    - Mary on October 2, 2012 Reply
  • I made this salad and it was soo good. I did leave out the shallots. Also, I used honey roasted pecans.

    - Jennifer on June 21, 2012 Reply
  • This salad is so fabulous. Wonderful for a spring wedding shower… so healthy and pretty to serve. One of my all-time favorites. :)

    - Elizabeth C. in Kansas on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Has anyone tried this salad with the addition of other vegis? Any suggestions?

    - Eliana G on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I loved the flavor combinations of the salad…as I didn’t have any raspberry vinegar I used red wine vinegar and olive oil and the dressing was great!
    Next time I think I would cut the honey in half…

    - Lisa Manwill on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Made this for book club supper. It was DELICIOUS!!! and beautiful… everyone reaved about it!

    My substitutions:

    Used 1/8 cup of honey
    Used extra virgin olive oil

    - Rachelle on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • This was a yummy salad…I would reduce the shallots to 1 Tbsp because I thought the dressing was too onion-y (and I like onions). Husband thought blue cheese would be great as a substitute to goat cheese, but we both enjoyed the goat cheese, too. I thought I’d have trouble finding the raspberry vinegar but my local grocer had a few choices which I appreciated. Definitely adding this to my summer repertoire.

    - Betsy in CA on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • This salad is delicious. However, I had plenty of berries left after slicing them on the salad, so I made strawberry vinaigrette. I chopped the berries with a little sugar and left them for about 2 hours. I forced them through a strainer to get the juice and then followed the recipe, except I added balsamic vinegar and cut back on honey. Oh my goodness!

    - Patty on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • With so many fresh berries in season right now, I’ve been making this salad to take to work every day for lunch. The salad dressing is delicious, but to speed up prep time I find that it is great with a simple balsamic vinaigrette (store bought or homemade). I have substituted blue cheese a few times, which is also tasty!

    - Jennifer on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • This was incredibly refreshing…great success …would serve it as a light lunch or a salat before a more formal dinner. WONDERFUL! Wouldn’t change a thi g!

    - Pernille on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I love this salad on a hot summer night when no cooking is my goal. I left out the shallots when making the vingarette and it was still wonderful. I enjoyed the addition of blueberries, I have seen and made a salad like this before but without blueberries.

    - Kathy on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • My maj girls are coming on Thurs. I’m making this for them and adding grilled chix. I’ll let you know the results LUV

    - Aunt Bubbie on May 30, 2012 Reply
  • I love strawberries and goat cheese on a salad! Cannot wait it to this sensation! The dressing sounds so delicious!

    - Cathy on May 25, 2012 Reply
  • We’ve been making this salad for years and usually put grilled chicken in ours…and it IS to die for! I confess though, I use the Ken’s Raspberry Vinaiggrette so I’m planning to give your recipe a try! One change we do once in a while is to candy the pecans. such a sweet, pleasant surprise!

    - Robin on May 24, 2012 Reply
    • You know, I thought to myself that candied and spiced pecans would be so delicious on this salad, but in the end I decided to keep it simple. If you use them, you might want to cut back a bit on the honey to account for the added sweetness of the nuts.

      - Jenn on May 24, 2012 Reply
  • I love salads like this! Strawberries and nuts, so delicious! My only substitution would be for feta cheese, which is a favorite.

    - Janice on May 24, 2012 Reply
  • Oooh! That salad looks so beautiful and delicious, and your fresh salad dressing sounds perfect. I will definitely try this. Thanks, Jenn!

    - Liz on May 24, 2012 Reply

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