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

5 stars based on 27 votes

baby spinach 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. 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!

My Recipe Videos

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.
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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.

Reviews & Comments

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

    - Carol McCall on September 15, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Carol, In some salads, the flavor of olive can be a little overwhelming but it’s fine to use it, if you like.

      - Jenn on September 15, 2018 Reply
      • 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!

        - Carol McCall on September 16, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Dina on July 12, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

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

    - Kim on June 4, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

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

    - meg on April 21, 2018 Reply
  • 4 stars

    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!

    - RZH on March 31, 2018 Reply
  • Can you use an immersion blender for the dressing?

    - Lisha on March 30, 2018 Reply
    • It would make it a bit thicker but, yes, an immersion blender will work here. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on March 30, 2018 Reply
  • 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.

    - Gregg on March 22, 2018 Reply
    • 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!

      - Jenn on March 22, 2018 Reply
      • Thank you!

        - Gregg on March 22, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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!

    - Kaylie on November 29, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    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.

    - Esther Kim on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my go to salad. I eat it at home. I take it to dinner parties. Everyone loves this salad. It is so easy and fresh!

    - Terrie Snow on July 18, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    An awesome salad!!! The dressing is soooo good! So easy to prepare.

    - Jan Fron on July 13, 2017 Reply
  • Will canola oil work?

    - Cheryl H on June 29, 2017 Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      - Jenn on June 29, 2017 Reply
  • Is there any substitute for the Dijon mustard??

    - Stacey on June 7, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Stacey, Check out this page with several potential substitutes for Dijon mustard.

      - Jenn on June 8, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for a dinner party. It was a hit. We used a little sugar vs. honey and added almonds on the side instead of pecans. What a great summer salad!

    - MJR on May 29, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh my!!!! This was awesome. I keep all of the ingredients separate, and then make a beautiful salad every day for lunch. My co-workers are envious!

    - Cheryl on May 15, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Best spring or summer salad everybody loves! Made triple the recipe for family gathering and all raved about it and no leftovers!

    - Rita Borecky on May 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was delicious. I didn’t have raspberry vinaigrette; I used red wine vinegar and raspberry jelly and left out the honey. Don’t skip the shallots, they are a deal breaker! Great recipe and also quite versatile with type of nuts and cheese, thank you!

    - Gwyneviere on February 24, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Just made this terrific salad for our family get together to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was a hit! For some reason, I had to look in a few grocery stores for the raspberry vinegar, but I’m glad I kept looking. The raspberry flavor added a wonderful counterbalance to the honey in the recipe.

    - Paula Massanari on October 7, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I just made this recipe for company on the weekend. Great salad but I probably wouldn’t add as much dressing. It kind of drowned out the veggies.

    - Michele on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • Can you use olive oil in place of vegetable oil or would it be too strong?

    - Vickie on August 16, 2016 Reply
    • I like vegetable oil better here due to its mild flavor, but you can use olive oil if you prefer. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on August 16, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    How can you make the raspberry vinegar? I live abroad and can’t get it. Thanks!

    - Sandy Sayago on June 30, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Sandy, you can combine fresh raspberries with red wine vinegar to create your own. Here’s a simple recipe to give you some more details.

      - Jenn on July 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn,

    This was delicious! I served it to our gourmet dinner group this week-end and substituted gorgonzola for the goat cheese as one of my guests won’t eat that. It was a hit with everyone. Also, I pulled pecans out of my freezer and discovered they were the spicy, candied variety from Trader Joe’s. Since I didn’t have time to go to the store I used those and they worked very well. Thanks for another winner!

    - Linda on June 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this salad exactly as written. It was outstanding! I am planning to bring it to a mom & kid luncheon for the moms. It would be nice to have a little additional protein available. Is there an easy chicken dish or something I could make in advance and bring to the event to be served alongside the salad that would not need to be reheated?

    - Alisa Clancy on June 6, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Alisa, This grilled chicken can be made in advance and served next to or on top of the salad. Hope everyone enjoys!

      - Jenn on June 6, 2016 Reply
      • Huge hit!

        - Alisa Clancy on June 18, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love this recipe. Would like to make this to serve at a large party. Will it keep well on the buffet table if the dressing is served on the side? Any other considerations?

    - Nancy Splan on May 1, 2016 Reply
    • Yes Nancy, that would work. Hope the party is fun!

      - Jenn on May 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We served this salad for Easter brunch yesterday along with your Ham & Cheese Tailgate Sliders. The salad is really delicious. Can’t wait for the local berries to be ready to make this again!

    - Holly on March 28, 2016 Reply
  • Baby spinach with fresh berries salad: I have “balsamic raspberry vinegar” – can I sub that for the “raspberry vinegar” – or will that throw the taste off? Thanks for your help! Love your recipes!!

    - Susan montross on March 26, 2016 Reply
    • Should be fine, Susan. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on March 26, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I want to make your rosemary flank steak, parmesan potatoes & sauteed zucchini and tomatoes next weekend for a dinner party, do you think this salad would be a good addition to the menu?

    - Mary on July 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last night for a group of 40 people … my boyfriends sailing buddies and their spouses … most of whom I did not know. Everyone sought out the person that made the goat cheese and strawberry salad. It was the first item gone from the buffet and I tripled the recipe. I will definitely make this again and add chicken when I want to serve it for lunch.

    - Lori London on July 4, 2015 Reply
  • Hi Jen. This salad looks amazing! If my family doesn’t like goat cheese, what is the best cheese substitution for this salad? Or any of you other recipes that call for “goat cheese”?

    Thanks,
    SM

    - SM on July 4, 2015 Reply
    • Feta or blue cheese would work well.

      - Jenn on July 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was an awesome dressing! I did cut the honey in half and used baked goat cheese instead. It was fantastic!!

    - Katie on June 16, 2015 Reply
  • Hey there! Have you ever tried substituting agave for honey? If not, do you think that would work? Thanks!

    - Katie on June 15, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Katie, Should work fine. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on June 15, 2015 Reply
  • Hi! I made this recipe for a shower and it was a huge hit! People asked for the dressing recipe it was so good! My question is- how long would the dressing hold up when refrigerated? I’m making it just because it’s that yummy! Thank you!

    - Jenn on May 13, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Jenn, The dressing keeps well for 4-5 days. Glad everyone enjoyed it!

      - Jenn on May 13, 2015 Reply
  • Which other type of cheese could I use instead of goat’s cheese. How about a brie?

    Many thanks. Great recipes!

    - Violet Laoun on March 26, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Violet, Brie would be delicious.

      - Jenn on March 26, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Beautiful and delicious! I will make this again and again. Will add chicken next time for a great lunch or dinner. Thanks, Jen for another great recipe.

    - Amy on March 22, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a fresh luscious salad that my kids love. We make our own Raspberry Vinegar and along with garden fresh spinach and strawberries call it Fresh Local Healthy Food. Great for hot summers with crusty rustic bread. The salad has everything in it for good nutrition.

    - Georgianna Goetsch on December 7, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious – easy to make – whole family loved it, wanted more. Next time will double the recipe.

    - Linda on November 9, 2014 Reply
  • 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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