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

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Spinach Salad with Berries and Raspberry Vinaigrette

This baby spinach salad with fresh berries, pecans and goat cheese always elicits oohs and aahs.

Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Usually we think of fresh berries as something to eat for breakfast or dessert, but here they make an elegant addition to a baby spinach salad. The fruity raspberry vinaigrette complements the berries and brings all of the elements together.

I love to make this spinach salad as a first course for an outdoor dinner party — it’s so pretty and always elicits oohs and aahs — but don’t save it for a special occasion. It’s delicious served alongside grilled chicken or fish for a casual family dinner.

Ingredients For Baby Spinach Salad with Berries, Pecans & Goat Cheese

How To Make Baby Spinach Salad with Berries, Pecans & Goat Cheese

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.

Spinach Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

More Salads You Might Like

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

This baby spinach salad with fresh berries, pecans and goat cheese always elicits oohs and aahs.

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

Powered by Edamam

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made as part of our Mother’s Day brunch and it was, as another reviewer stated, as beautiful as it was delicious. I make this dressing throughout the year for different salads. It is our favorite. I noticed a few people stating that they couldn’t’ find raspberry vinegar. We order ours on Amazon. Hope that helps someone. Thanks for being a part of every holiday and occasion around here Jenn. 🙂

    • — Colleen on May 11, 2021
    • Reply
  • EXCELLENT!! It was so good I had to make it again the next night.

    • — FAYE on April 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • This was the best salad ever! Made it for Easter brunch, and everyone asked for the recipe! I couldn’t find raspberry vinegar anywhere near me so I went with the ACV, was bummed it wasn’t going to taste as good but it didn’t disappoint!! I’m going to order the raspberry vinegar online to try with it next. Thank you!!

    • — Diane on April 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can Avocado oil be used in place of vegetable oil for the dressing? Also, would candied pecans work in this recipe?

    • — Heather on March 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 31, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    Happy Passover!
    May I make this vinaigrette dressing ahead of time?
    May I substitute walnuts for pecans since I plan to serve this with your Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel?
    Is it appropriate to serve a side dish and a salad both of which contain nuts?

    Thank you
    Bernadette Garfinkel

    • — Bernadette Garfinkel on March 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Bernadette, Yes, it’s fine to make the dressing ahead and refrigerate and to use walnuts. And as long as whomever you’re serving likes nuts, I think the salad and the sweet potato casserole are fine to serve together. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • Yum, yum yum! Use the freshest berries for this. The dressing is fabulous. We find everyone is taking a “little more salad” when I make this dish!

    • — Mary E on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Wow! This was amazing. I used olive oil. Came out great. I love all of your recipes! Thank you Jen!

    • — Judy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Could not find raspberry vinegar at stores—but I found mango vinegar and thought why not?? I used Gorgonzola for the cheese and it was amazing and was a big hit!!

    • — Vicki R on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen
    How long will this dressing keep in the refrigerator?
    Thanks!

    • — Trudy on December 27, 2020
    • Reply
    • I’d guesstimate it will keep for 4 to 5 days in the fridge.

      • — Jenn on December 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • … A salad as beautiful as it was delicious! This dressing is possibly the best I’ve ever made, and was definitely perfect on this salad. We used giant blueberries and soft goat cheese versus the more solid crumbles we’ve succumbed to in the past. THANKS Jenn! Your recipes are wonderful every time!!!

    • — DM on September 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this tonight and my husband said it was one of the best salads he has ever had. Delish! I used balsamic vinegar and added candied pecans. Perfection:) thanks jenn!

    • — Jenn Kratsa on September 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • Just another person leaving a review to say this is, indeed, one terriffic salad!

    • — Alex on July 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • This was an excellent refreshing summer salad! Super easy and fast to put together and got rave reviews!!

    • — Morgan on May 17, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this to compliment the Beef Tenderloin, the parmesan roasted potatoes, and fresh strawberry cake for a Birthday meal I was cooking for my mother-n-laws Birthday meal. I don’t have a lot of confidence in myself to cook nice dinners for special occasions, but had used some of Jenn’s recipes in the past with Fantastic results. I went to Jenn’s site to plan this meal, due to the confidence I have in her recipes. My guests were delighted (my fresh strawberry cake looked just like the picture!) This salad was delicious, since I had some of the fresh strawberries left over from the cake recipe. I used a mix of baby spinach, chard & kale (Costco package)–the nuts, cranberry goat cheese. For the dressing I didn’t have the exact ingredients (but used a mix of balsalmic vinegar, EVOO, raspberry chipotle (from Costco also) to try to mimic the best I could and the result was great. What can I say Jenn, but thanks again. I really appreciate all your recipes, and the format you use to present them help someone like me to make quality meals… 🙂

    • — Jeannie on March 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you had success with the recipes for your MIL’s birthday — thanks for letting me know! ❤️

      • — Jenn on March 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is great! I’m not typically a salad person, but I thought this combination of flavors would be great, and I was right 🙂 I omitted the blueberries since some people here don’t like them. I didn’t feel like it was missing anything. Thanks so much!

    • — Tamara on February 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Great! The dressing is really tasty

    • — Ann DeLong on December 11, 2019
    • Reply
  • I loved this salad but decreased the honey by half because I was serving it to a diabetic. I think I would decrease it even more as I tend to not like things too sweet. I also tried it with goat cheese and blue cheese and preferred the blue. Great recipe, especially in August when all the berries are so prevalent.

    • — Ann Conroy on August 3, 2019
    • Reply
  • Love this recipe! Was just looking for inspiration for a gender reveal potluck and this one came to mind to stick with the pink and blue theme. Jenn, you are the best-thank you for sharing your gift of creative and delicious food with us!

    • — AMarie on July 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • 💕

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I don’t know why I never provided a review for this salad before, especially since we have it several times a month. This is probably my favorite salad. The dressing is fabulous and the salad is perfect as is. I never make modifications and get compliments every time I make it. I’ve also been asked to provide the recipe multiple times. It pairs well with quiche and grilled chicken, fish, or steak. It is also fabulous for a light lunch. We’re having this again tonight with grilled tri-tip and corn on the cob. Thanks again for another fabulous recipe!!! Katy

    • — katherine baun on June 19, 2019
    • Reply
    • Wow, this was a hit. I’m a cop and work with a platoon full of “dudes” on the night shift. We had a work potluck, and as everyone else (seriously) was bringing some form of meat, I thought I’d try to balance it out with a salad. I used the recipe’s ingredients to make this and modified the dressing slightly for what I had in my kitchen. From across the room my sergeant commented that he doesn’t eat salad, but that this was pretty darn good. Another officer stated that he couldn’t believe he was going back for seconds for a salad! Definitely a huge winner, thanks for the recipe!!

      • — Lincoln on February 9, 2020
      • Reply
      • LOL – glad everyone enjoyed! 🙂

        • — Jenn on February 10, 2020
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can you substitute pears for the strawberries? I’m looking for a pear salad and thought it might work in this one. Thanks!

    • — Rosalie Blomberg on May 25, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Rosalie, I think that would be nice!

      • — Jenn on May 26, 2019
      • Reply
  • Delicious and SO easy to put together. This salad has it all – sweet from the fruit, crunchy from the pecans, creamy from the goat cheese and balanced out with a sweet oniony dressing. We served this with steak which was a nice combination… Kept all of the ingredients separate so we could enjoy leftovers the next day. We will certainly be making this often during berry season.

    • — LisaR on May 20, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn,
    This salad is a firm favourite, but I’ve run out of raspberry vinegar and the only vinegar I have found with raspberries is Beaufor’s Raspberry Red Wine Vinegar. Will this work for the dressing? BTW, we love your cookbook; anything made from it is always a “success story”! Thank you.

    • So happy you’re enjoying the cookbook, Karen! And yes, the raspberry red wine vinegar will definitely work for the dressing. 🙂

  • What kind of goats cheese do you recommend? I have trouble finding a good brand!

    • Hi Erin, I honestly don’t have one that I’m partial to. I basically will pick up whatever is available in the store I’m in. A couple that I’ve purchased are Montchevre and Chavrie.

  • I’m looking forward to making this. Is there a particular reason you use vegetable oil instead of olive oil here? Thx!

    • Hi Carol, In some salads, the flavor of olive can be a little overwhelming but it’s fine to use it, if you like.

      • Yes, that makes sense. Thanks for responding so quickly. I’m getting ready to make it now. I’ll let folks know how it goes.
        Thx!

  • This is a fantastic recipe. I really don’t like salad but lately, I have been obsessed with spinach, so I decided to give it a try. I used Golden Balsalmic vinegar instead of raspberry vinegar and added feta cheese and it was excellent.

  • Delicious! I made a dressing with ACV instead of the raspberry vinegarette and it was still fantastic.

  • This salad is awesome. Be careful not to over dress it. So Yummy!

  • This was absolutely delicious with blue cheese. I did have to water down the dressing with more vinegar and oil because the honey made it too thick. I will certainly make this again!

  • Can you use an immersion blender for the dressing?

    • It would make it a bit thicker but, yes, an immersion blender will work here. Hope you enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn:
    I cannot find raspberry vinegar in my area so I plan on substituting raspberry vinaigrette. My question is what ingredients from your dressing should I incorporate into the vinaigrette? I’m assuming at least the shallots but wanted to ask. Looking forward to salad. Thanks for your time and all your amazing recipes.

    • Hi Gregg, Yes the shallots and maybe some Dijon mustard, if you feel like it could use a little bite. You could also just replace the raspberry vinegar with apple cider vinegar – it’ll be a little different, but still good. Hope you enjoy the salad!

    • Delicious! I subbed Apple cider vinegar because I couldn’t find raspberry, other than that I followed as is. This salad presents beautifully before tossing also. Also would be great with chicken for an entree. Tons of compliments and an empty bowl, so I would say it’s a hit!

      • — Elizabeth on June 21, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is a perfect summer salad! I serve it with my mom’s lemon poppyseed dressing, so I can’t speak to Jenn’s dressing, but I’m sure it’s a winner like everything else on this blog. I also used glazed pecans, you can buy a bag of them at the store with the salad toppings. The goat cheese with the strawberries is such a great combination and the nuts add the needed crunch. I also recently started cutting the spinach into smaller pieces because I was served a salad at a restaurant that way; it just makes it easier to eat and my preference. Another wonderful recipe!

  • I had several potlucks to attend this summer where I needed to feed a crowd but wanted to bring something fresh and in season. This was my go to salad this summer with fresh strawberries and plump blueberries. It was a hit every time! The shallots in the dressing were key to offset the sweetness of the berries and added a depth to the dressing that was fantastic. I substituted balsamic vinegar for the raspberry vinegar since I didn’t have any and it was so tasty. I also used feta cheese instead of goat cheese and the salty crumbled feta paired so nicely with the fruit. Thanks for the tip to add the cheese right before serving to keep it from taking on the color of the dressing. I never had any leftover and was asked for the recipe several times.

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