Strawberry lovers get ready – this is the salad for you! It’s loaded with fresh strawberries and crispy bacon and all tossed together with the best sweet balsamic dressing!
I’m not gonna lie, the first time I heard of strawberries in a salad I thought it was a little…err…weird. But then I caved and had one at one of those fancy restaurants and I was hooked for life loves! (The strawberries just add a subtle sweetness that is beyond compare in my book.) And they pair so well with so many different things too! Like bacon! And cheese! And a sweet balsamic vinaigrette! And…basically everything else that’s in this salad too. 😉 But don’t just take my word for it. Coming from someone who normally hates balsamic vinegar and goat cheese, my dad couldn’t stop raving about this the other night I made it for dinner. And to top it all off, he actually ASKED FOR IT AGAIN! I don’t know about you, but I think that makes this strawberry spinach salad with bacon a 10/10!
- Strawberries: Look for berries that are bright red without any bad spots. (The more red, the better in this case! 😉 )
- Bacon: I definitely reccommend using fresh bacon for this recipe. (It’s the best and adds so much flavor to your dish.) But you can also substitute it with store bought bacon bits too if you’re short on time.
- Spinach: Look for spinach that is bright green and firm to the touch for the best results. (Don’t use it if the leaves are slightly wilted!)
- Goat cheese or feta crumbles: This is a completely personal preference! Goat cheese will make your salad creamier/sweeter while feta will make it more on the salty side.
- Toasted pecans: Adds a little bit of crunch and flavor! (Plus toasting the pecans really helps to bring out their flavor and they’re so good to snack on too!)
- Maple-balsamic dressing: See my recipe below for the BEST homemade balsamic dressing! (You can also use your favorite store bought balsamic dressing too!)
What’s the best way to cook my bacon for this salad?
My biggest tip for cooking bacon? BAKE IT! That’s right babes, baking your bacon allows you to 1) Make a large amount at the same time 2) It’s easier to clean up and 3) It comes out perfectly crisp every single time! Here’s how easy it is:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (This helps to protect your pan and makes it easier to clean up too!)
- Next, lay your strips of bacon in a single layer on the pan and make sure the pieces aren’t touching.
- Bake your bacon for 18-20 minutes or until they reach your desired crispiness.
- Once done, transfer your bacon to a tray lined with a paper towel and let them cool completely. (Don’t worry if your bacon is still a little “limp”. The pieces will crisp up more as they cool.)
NOTE: All ovens are different so I would reccommend checking your bacon around 15 minutes to see how much longer it needs to cook.
How to make the best maple-balsamic dressing
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (use the real stuff!)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
That’s it! It’s pretty intense in flavor but pairs so well with the rest of the ingredients in your salad! You can also add another tablespoon or so of oil if your perfer a more mild dressing.
NOTE: This amount is for 1-2 servings. It can easily be doubeld or tripled if you need more!
Why you’ll love this strawberry spinach & bacon salad
- It’s light and refreshing! All the ingredients are perfect for the warmer weather and they’re not too heavy too!
- Full of textures & flavors! Sweet juicy strawberries, crisp salty bacon, creamy goat cheese (or feta) and crunchy tossed pecans all tossed with the perfect tangy dressing! This salad has it all!
- Easy to serve! This salad is perfect for serving at barbecues, potlucks or even for yourself as a light lunch! (You can even add some cooked chicken to make it hearty enough for an entree salad too!)
- Easy to prep ahead of time! Tight on time? No worries! All of the ingredinet scan easily be made the night before so all you have to do is throw it all togethr when you’re ready to eat!
I hope you all enjoy this strawberry spinach salad with bacon just as much as we do! Have the best day loves!
More recipes you might like:
- Mixed Berry Kale Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing
- Spinach, Bacon & Egg Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette
- Fruit Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing
- Citrus & Pomegranate Kale Salad
- Watermelon, Blueberry & Feta Salad
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]
Strawberry Spinach & Bacon Salad
For the salad:
- 1 6 oz. package of fresh spinach (about 4 cups)
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 8 strips of bacon, cooked & crumbled
- ½ cup goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled*
- ½ cup toasted pecans (toasing is optional, see notes for directions)
For the maple-balsamic dressing:
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (I like using extra light tasting olive oil)
To make the maple-balsamic dressing:
- Whisk all of your ingredients together in a bowl. Set it aside while you make the rest of your salad.
To make the salad:
- Add your spinach, strawberries, bacon and goat cheese to bowl and drizzle your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss your salad until it's full coated and serve immediately with toasted pecans on top.