July 14, 2024


Than a Food Fitter

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Candied Hazelnuts

3 min read


Overhead shot of a gorgeous strawberry spinach salad with candied hazelnuts and dairy-free feta crumbles

This salad has it all, friends! Sweet strawberries, crunchy candied pecans, salty vegan feta, nutrient-packed spinach, and a tangy balsamic dressing. The components marry together for a party in your mouth!

Not only is this salad full of flavor, but it’s so beautiful and easy to make. Just 30 minutes required for this showstopping recipe perfect for hosting or hanging on your own! We love it as the main event topped with protein or alongside creamy pastas or savory soups. Let us show you how it’s done!

Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, black pepper, maple syrup, coconut sugar, shallot, strawberries, spinach, hazelnuts, and vegan feta cheese

How to Make Strawberry Spinach Salad

We start this party off with the sweet and crunchy candied hazelnuts. They come together in about 10 minutes by roasting hazelnuts in a coating of oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon.

Candied hazelnuts on a gold baking sheet

While they’re in the oven, the quick balsamic dressing comes together by mixing rich olive oil, tangy balsamic vinegar, and sweet maple syrup with shallot, salt, and pepper for flavor.

Whisking homemade balsamic vinaigrette in a bowl

Next, we assemble the salad: a bountiful bed of baby spinach gets topped with half of the sliced strawberries and candied hazelnuts. Toss with some of the dressing to coat each bite of salad with flavor.

Balsamic dressing next to a bowl of baby spinach and sliced strawberries

When ready to serve, garnish with the remaining strawberries and hazelnuts, plus dairy-free feta crumbles (optional) for a salty, “cheesy” finish. And if you’re a fellow member of the heavier-dressed-salads fan club, go ahead and add allll that dressing!

Angled shot of a wood serving bowl filled with strawberry spinach salad

We hope you LOVE this strawberry spinach salad! It’s:

Full of flavor
Quick & easy
& SO delicious!

It pairs beautifully topped with your choice of protein, such as our Crispy Baked Chickpeas or Easy Marinated Grilled Chicken. Or try it alongside our Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup, Creamy Mushroom and Asparagus Pasta (GF), or Vegan Stuffed Shells with Roasted Eggplant.

More Delicious Salad Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Plate of strawberry spinach salad with candied hazelnuts

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 4 (~2-cup servings)

Course Salad, Side

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan

Freezer Friendly No

Does it keep? 3 Days (stored separately)


  • 1 heaping cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon


  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 pinch each sea salt and black pepper


  • 1 (5-oz.) package baby spinach (or sub mixed greens)
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup vegan feta crumbles (optional // we like Follow Your Heart // if not dairy-free, goat cheese or feta would also work)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and add raw hazelnuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  • Once oven is preheated, toast hazelnuts for 7 minutes. Then remove from oven and add remaining ingredients directly to the hazelnuts (oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, sea salt, and cinnamon). Use a spatula to thoroughly toss/combine.

  • Place back in oven and roast for another 4-6 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown. Set aside to cool.

  • In the meantime, prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a jar (or mixing bowl) and shaking vigorously (or whisking) to combine. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more balsamic for acidity, maple syrup for sweetness, salt or pepper for flavor balance, or olive oil for creaminess. Set aside.

  • To serve, add spinach, half of the strawberries, and half of the roasted hazelnuts to a large mixing/serving bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss to combine.

  • Plate and garnish with the vegan feta (optional) and remaining strawberries and hazelnuts, and serve with remaining dressing (if you like a more heavily dressed salad).

  • Best when fresh, though leftovers store separately in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Store hazelnuts well sealed at room temperature.

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with olive oil and without optional ingredients.

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 368 Carbohydrates: 19.1 g Protein: 7 g Fat: 31.9 g Saturated Fat: 2.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g Monounsaturated Fat: 23.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 68 mg Potassium: 557 mg Fiber: 5.6 g Sugar: 11.2 g Vitamin A: 3337 IU Vitamin C: 43 mg Calcium: 94 mg Iron: 3 mg


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