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Strawberry Balsamic Spinach Salad


Strawberry Balsamic Spinach Salad

Colorful Strawberry Spinach Salad with basil, feta, tart cherries, farro and the best balsamic. Great for lunch or potlucks!bowl of strawberry spinach salad with fork and dressing

bowl of strawberry spinach salad with fork and dressing

Potluck season is upon us, my sweet pickles! Can you even believe it? Aaaaand I turn 31 on Saturday. How in the world did we get here??

Last year at this time I was celebrating my 30th birthday with Jeff in Charleston and we’d juuuuust found out we were pregnant with little Bubbi bear. To say that year flew would be an understatement!

In honor of birthday week, I have for you a salad that’ll knock you and your neighbor’s socks off. For poutlucks! For parties! For social gatherings galore, oh my.

She’s got all the textures and all the flavors. Sweet, salty, crunchy, fresh, bright, savory…straight YUM in a bowl if you ask me. Did I mention this salad is filling? It’s stupendous.

Who remembers my Basil, Balsamic and Chickpea Kale Salad from Hummuaspien’s 2015 toddler years? An oldie but a goodie, she’s totally the inspo for today’s recipe. So spring-n-summery! Winter vibes, be gone. The strawberries have landed.

platter of strawberry spinach saladplatter of strawberry spinach saladDelish add-ins and substitution ideas

This strawberry salad has some key ingredients, but you can also totally make it your own because I’m all about that life.

  • Add chickpeas, white beans, or grilled shrimp for a protein boost.
  • No dried cherries? Simply omit them, swap in dried cranberries, or add fresh blueberries or halved grapes for even more color!
  • I love the flavor of pepitas here, but sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, or pecans would all be magical.
  • Make it vegan by omitting the cheese. The creaminess from the avocado is plenty!
  • Make it gluten free by swapping the farro for brown or wild rice or quinoa.

mixing bowl of strawberry saladmixing bowl of strawberry saladHow to cook farro

Farro is a delish, nutty and chewy ancient grain. It packs far more of a flavor punch and intriguing texture than other grains, IMO. I just love the body it adds to this salad! It really gives it oomph. 

You can cook it over the stove or in the Instant Pot. I like to get the quick-cooking pearled kind that only takes 10 minutes to cook, which you can find at Trader Joe’s. Simply boil a medium pot of salted water (a 1:3 ratio of farro to water is a safe bet), add the farro, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender but still chewy. Drain any excess liquid.

Regular, non quick-cooking farro will take closer to 30-40 minutes to cook.

For an even nuttier version, you can toast the farro dry in the pot over medium heat for a few minutes before cooking, stirring occasionally.

To prepare in the Instant Pot:

  1. Place farro, 1 1/4 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt in the pot
  2. Cook on High for 7 minutes.
  3. Natural release for 7 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and drain any excess liquid.

bowl of spinach saladbowl of spinach saladWhat to serve with strawberry spinach salad

This salad is mighty fine on it’s own, but you have my full permission to jazz her up however you’d like. It makes an amazing main for lunches, but is rad for side dishes, too. Try serving it with:

Strawberry fields forever. HAD TO!

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Colorful Strawberry Spinach Salad with basil, feta, tart cherries, farro and the best balsamic. Great for lunch or potlucks!

  • 1/2 cup farro (sub quinoa or brown rice for gluten free)
  • 5oz baby spinach
  • 1/21 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup basil, thinly sliced
  • 3oz feta or goat cheese
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup roasted pepitas
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 batch Best Balsamic Vinaigrette

  1. Place farro in a small pot with 3 cups water. Cook according to package directions or for 20-30 minutes, until chewy. Cooking time depends on what kind of farro you use. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, make balsamic vinaigrette.
  3. Layer spinach, strawberries, basil, cheese, onions, cherries, pepitas, avocado and farro on a serving platter or in your largest mixing bowl. (This makes a lot of salad, so you can always dress the amount you want and store the rest separately for future salads). Drizzle on dressing to taste then toss to combine and serve!


Keywords: strawberry spinach salad

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