Ginger-lime vinaigrette adds tingle to this summer starter
Our markets have local strawberries in abundance. Spinach too. So why not let them mix it up in a scrumptious salad?
We add feta cheese and almond slices for depth and texture. Plus ginger-lime vinaigrette for spicy sharpness. The results are delish.
Best of all, this salad is easy enough to make for a weeknight. And fancy enough for a weekend dinner party.
Recipe: Strawberry, Spinach, and Feta Salad
We love to combine strawberries with spinach. We’ve paired them before in our Strawberry-Spinach Salad with Balsamic Poppy-Seed Dressing.
You can make the ginger-lime dressing for this salad right before serving, but we think it’s better if you let the flavors to get to know each other. So we make the dressing ahead and allow it to rest in the fridge for a few hours (or, better yet, overnight). BTW, the recipe for the vinaigrette will likely make more than you’ll need for this salad. You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for a few days.
We like to wash and dry the spinach and wash/slice the strawberries an hour or two ahead. Then, when it’s time to serve the salad, we can put everything together in a few minutes.
Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes.
This recipe yields 4 servings.
For the ginger-lime vinaigrette:
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon lime zest (about the amount you’ll get from 1 lime)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (champagne or sherry vinegar preferred)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ~6 drops hot sauce, or to taste (very optional)
- a pinch or two of salt (to taste; see Notes)
- a few grinds of black pepper to taste (about 6 for us)
- 5 to 6 ounces spinach (about 5 cups; may substitute Bibb lettuce)
- ~1 quart strawberries (to taste; a heaping handful or two per serving)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds (to taste)
- ~2 ounces crumbled feta cheese (to taste)
- Make the vinaigrette: Use a piece of ginger about 1-inch long. Cut off the peel, then chop it roughly. Mince the ginger pieces finely in a mini food processor (or grate them with a microplane, although the food processor is a lot easier). Scrape the minced ginger into a small, lidded jar that’s large enough to hold all the vinaigrette ingredients (you’ll be using this to mix the dressing).
- Zest the lime, then squeeze 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Add the zest and juice to the mixing jar.
- Add the white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, hot sauce (if using), plus salt and pepper to taste, to the mixing jar. Cover the jar tightly, then shake it vigorously. Store the vinaigrette in the refrigerator until ready to use (we recommend letting it rest overnight).
- An hour or two before serving the salad, wash the spinach and spin it dry. Store the washed spinach in a kitchen towel in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Wash and dry the strawberries. Hull them, then cut them into halves or quarters (depending on how big they are). You may want to reserve 1 strawberry per serving as garnish. Place the sliced strawberries in an airtight container, then store them in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Slice the almonds (if not using pre-sliced ones): Cut the almonds into thin slices or slivers. Place them in an airtight container until ready to use.
- When ready to make the salad: Assemble all the ingredients on your kitchen counter. Shake the dressing to recombine (it will probably have separated). Place the spinach in a largish bowl, then pour a tablespoon or two of vinaigrette over it. Toss the spinach with long spoons (or use your hands – our favored method). Make sure all the spinach leaves are coated with dressing. Then plate the spinach, dividing it into 4 servings.
- Add the strawberries to the mixing bowl. Add another tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette, then toss it with the strawberries. Arrange the strawberries on top of the spinach servings.
- Sprinkle feta cheese (crumble it if necessary) and almond slices over each salad serving. Use as much of each as you fancy. Serve and enjoy.
- Don’t hull and slice the strawberries more than a couple of hours ahead of time. Once you wash and slice them, you shorten their shelf life. Refrigerating the strawberries helps keep them fresher once they’re sliced.
- Quantities for this recipe are flexible. You can use more or less of each ingredient, to taste.
- We haven’t tried adding garlic to the vinaigrette, but that would probably taste pretty good. One clove is what we’d recommend.
- BTW, if the vinaigrette tastes a little bitter – it sometimes does – you can add a touch of sugar or honey to sweeten it. We recommend tasting the vinaigrette after it’s rested in the refrigerator, then adjusting the seasoning if needed.
- We use kosher salt for cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- Don’t want to use feta cheese? Blue cheese would also work. Or maybe a creamy cheese, like ricotta (we haven’t tried that, but the idea sounds appealing).
- You could probably add some bacon to this salad if you want. Just saying.
- We like to use almonds in this salad, but pecans or walnuts would be nice, too. Or just skip the nuts – particularly if you add bacon.
“Wow, the ginger-lime vinaigrette really wakes up my taste buds,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “It’s like a tongue alarm.”
“Merci beaucoup,” I said. “But you have me flashing back to that old band from the 60s, Strawberry Alarm Clock.”
“Oh, thank you berry much,” said Mrs K R. “Now I’ll have ‘Incense and Peppermints’ ear-worming me all day.”
“’Who cares what games we choose/Little to win, but nothing to lose,’” I said. “Jeez, haven’t heard that song in decades!”
“’Beatniks and politics, nothing is new/A yardstick for lunatics . . .,’” said Mrs K R. “Let’s not go there. It might make me think about the present.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
Strawberry-Spinach Salad with Balsamic Poppy-Seed Dressing
Roast Strawberry Salad
Asparagus and Spinach Salad
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Mint
Beet and Red Onion Salad
Cucumber and Smoked-Salmon Salad with Feta
Hot-Buttered Butter Lettuce Salad
Or check out the index for more
Those strawberries look really plump and juicy! A fantastic summer salad, John.
Hi Angie, those strawberries were excellent! Really full of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.
My kind of salad - it looks beautiful & delicious.
Hi Pam, this has wonderful flavor! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This salad screams summer, love it. Spinach pairs so well with berries and citrus. I like the added cheese here. Will have to make when our strawberries are ready, soon I hope.
Hi Evelyne, spinach is great with any kind of berry, isn't it? I like it with watermelon, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, this looks delicious. I don't think I've ever thought to pair ginger with strawberries, and it sounds dreamy! I love the idea of adding bacon, too and I'm thinking it would make for a great main course. LOVE strawberry season!
Hi Valentina, ginger and strawberries isn't a "usual" pairing, but it's a really good one. Definitely worth trying! Thanks for the comment.
The vinaigrette sounds really great. But I have had the strawberry/spinach combo just a little too often.
The story -- long version:
Some time in the 90's spinach and strawberry salad got really popular, and a few too many of them were absolute proof of your point about the sad fate of strawberries that were hulled/sliced long before serving. I think the real disasters came from a supermarket counter where they sat for days -- and were on more than one occasion brought to potlucks where someone's heart really wasn't in it.
You can see how this combo no longer appeals to me!
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
wow those are some beautiful and large strawberries! I Love strawberries with spinach and that dressing sounds wonderful.
One of my favorite salads at Companion is their spinach and strawberry salad with poppyseed dressing. This time of the year the berries are so good it's hard to resist adding them in the salad.
Light and refreshing. I especially like the sound of your dressing!
I have to try your ginger strawberry combination. It looks so good.
Hi Mae, I can see why this combo is a turn off for you these days! Still, prepared fresh, it's a great combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Dahn, that dressing is wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi VIcki, poppyseed dressing is great, isn't it? Love it with strawberries and spinach! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Gerlinde, ginger and strawberries aren't used nearly enough together! Thanks for the comment.
I love the idea of the feta in this, a salty/savory foil to the sweetness of the strawberries. I don't use feta nearly enough. A great recipe, John.
Hi Terry, feta is even better with watermelon, IMO. But darn good with strawberries. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is a beautiful salad! Strawberries are so good this time of year and I love adding themto salads!
Hi Ashley, strawberries are wonderful in salads! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Quite a few worthwhile lessons for me, especially since I am not used to strawberries in salads. Love the dressing, but for once no garlic and probably no hot flakes: don't want to 'cover' the other very elegant ingredients!The doctor and nutritionist in me comes to the fore when talking about early slicing and cutting of vegetables and fruits . . . many do not realize that by ten minutes after such early prep vitamins are madly leaching out of said cut pieces: unnecessary I believe !
How stunning, this is a truly pretty dish. I have never ever created a salad with strawberries but this sounds delightful, especially with spinach and this gorgeous ginger lime dressing. You are imaginative and so creative :D
Hi Eha, good point about prepping some ingredients too early. Always a tough balancing act between doing some early prep so you don't have a mad dash right before serving the dish, and doing it way too early. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Merryn, strawberries and spinach is a wonderful combo, and that ginger-lime dressing is really, really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oh, ginger lime dressing! I'm all about it! Looks great and in perfect season.
Hi Judy, ginger and lime make such a wonderful vinaigrette! Love the stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a wonderfully simple salad! I love fresh ginger and pairing it with hot sauce is brilliant for a play on different spices. What's funny is that I cut down my strawberry buying greatly in the summer. In winter, it gets me through. In summer, there's just too much to eat.
Hi Laura, ginger is good stuff, huh? And strawberries too, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, this salad looks amazing! I can't get enough strawberries these days and pairing them with spinach is a great combination. The ginger lime dressing sounds fantastic!
Yay for Summer Salads. And I love the salty feta on this one. I clicked on the Balsamic Poppyseed dressing. That's a must try.
Your ginger lime dressing John, sounds fabulous. Loving how gorgeous the strawberries are at the market and the sharpness of the feta together make one delicious mouthful. Thanks for this light and bright post. Take Care
Hi Kelly, we really like that dressing. And strawberries and spinach are dynamite together, aren't they? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lea Ann, we're eating tons of salads this summer. Tons. :) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, that dressing is really good stuff -- you'll love it! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Natalia, strawberries are so pretty! And pair so well with green, green spinach. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love adding berries to spinach salad but I usually go with bleu cheese--feta sounds even better! I'm definitely trying this one soon!
Hi Kelsie, bleu is wonderful -- we really like that combo, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Love every thing about this salad (dressing included :D )
Hi Taruna, neat dish, huh? And that dressing IS wonderful. :D Thanks for the comment.
This not only looks delicious but it keto compliant. Since it was 87 degrees at 9 pm yesterday our meals are either going to be cooked on the grill or be salad based. Thanks for this idea.
Hi Anne, this is wonderful in hot weather! Very refreshing. :-) Thanks for the comment.
The ginger-lime vinaigrette sounds so refreshing! Now that the rain has stopped, our local strawberries will be ready to harvest. This salad would be a fabulous way to enjoy them.
Hi Deb, it's a neat vinaigrette. :-) Thanks for the comment.
It is the fresh ginger that clinches the deal for me! I once added freshly grated ginger to a strawberry jam. It was outstanding. Did you toast the almonds? Your salad looks gorgeous, Rocquie
Hi Rocquie, we didn't toast the almonds, although that'd be a really nice idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love salads like this - a classic combination with a twist like ginger dressing.
Great way to start the summer!
Hi RMW, ginger is SO nice in a dish like this. Zippy. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What is it about strawberries and spinach that makes them such a winning combination! And that dressing sounds like the perfect accent. What a super summer salad!
this sounds fantastically flavoursome KR. i like the sound of your salad dressing a lot, and the strawbs look superb. we are about to come into strawb season in june. yes the season starts in winter here....cheers sherry
Hi Jean, strawberries and spinach pair SO well, don't they? Love that combo! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Sherry, when we lived in Florida our strawberry season started around Christmas, although it wasn't really until January that peak season began. Best strawberries we ever had! :-) Thanks for the comment.
It's typically such a busy time for me during strawberry season that it passes before I know it. I have almost everything I need for this salad. I am going to try it for dinner. (I just read an interesting article on grilling strawberries, too. Trying that this weekend!) Dressing sounds amazing!
Hi Debra, grilled strawberries are pretty good. Roasted ones, too. Heck, I'll take strawberries any way you want to serve them to me! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I have always found combos like these to be so interesting - fruit. vegetables. cheese. Sadly, I cannot eat this so I will never know what the flavor trio is like, BUT I trust you ;)
Hi GiGi, you can always trust me. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Incense and Peppermint, I haven't heard of that one in quite a while. Well, now I'll be humming it in my mind for the rest of the day. "Beatniks and politics, nothin' is new", funny how timely that song is.
A great summer salad as I love paring feta with berries and that ginger-lime dressing look to have a serious punch to it.
What an unusual combination- strawberries and spinach! I usually associate strawberries with something sweet. And about that 1960s band- I never heard of them- but I was aware of the bank called 'Dow Jones and the Industrialists'- strange name!
Such a classic combination, but you lovely twist on the dressing makes this a unique recipe! Can't wait to give it a try!
Hi Ron, just got that song out of my ear and now you've put it back there again. :D That dressing is wonderful -- definitely worth trying. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Fran, isn't this a nice combo of ingredients? Agree it seems odd, but it sure works! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Liz, this dish actually started with the dressing, and then we figured out what we could use it for. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Una buena combinación es apetitosa,abrazos.
Hi Rosita, isn't this a nice combo? Great flavors! :-) Thanks for the comment.
A little sweet, a little salty -- and thoroughly fresh and vibrant. My kind of summery dish!
Hi Carolyn, sweet, salty, vibrant, tasty. Perfect! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is fabulous! The salad part is wonderful, but I love the dressing. ginger, lime and hot sauce? Incredible.
Hi Mimi, the dressing is wonderful! :-) Thanks for the comment.
The salad is beautiful, and I cannot wait to make the dressing! Weather for this salad, or another, I bet it’s fantastic
Hi David, we really, really like that dressing. Good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I always like fruits in my salad, and the combination of strawberries and spinach is just heaven...super delicious and so refreshing.
Hi Juliana, strawberries and spinach just work so well together, don't they? Neat flavor combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Beautiful salad! I am a sucker for fruit salads and I am loving the pairing of strawberries and spinach with the salty feta. Yum!
Hi Taruna, the feta really adds a lot of flavor to this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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