Homemade Strawberry Vinegar and a Spinach Salad with Feta & Pine Nuts

A salad a day is de rigueur around here now that summer has arrived, which means I have to daily face my nemesis: washing greens.

As far as kitchen tasks go, I’d rather shuck corn, peel potatoes, heck, even dice an onion over washing lettuce. I’m not entirely sure why I despise it so much, but the years of salad duty – garde manger – in professional kitchens certainly didn’t spark any affection for the job, and nor did growing my own greens fan any flames.

In one particular restaurant, I was yelled at if the lettuce was gritty. Understandably. But I was also yelled at for taking too long if I took the time required to wash the greens thoroughly (a minimum of three times, if you were wondering). I couldn’t win.

Now baby spinach and beautiful red oak leaf lettuce are growing in my garden. The rain pounds down around them, splashing droplets of soil onto the undersides of their leaves and I see a summer of lettuce washing stretching ahead of me.

Making vinaigrette for my daily salads, however, is a task I do enjoy.

I’m a bit of a vinegar junkie, with nearly a dozen varieties in my pantry. I like to play around with infusions, like today’s strawberry vinegar. It’s a gorgeous way to highlight the berry in season and brightens up an everyday salad.

Sweet spring strawberries are blended with a pinch of sugar, then mixed with a white balsamic vinegar, and then left to ‘steep’ or infuse. Once the vinegar has been strained out, it can be mixed with olive oil for a simple, but vibrant vinaigrette that is perfect for spring greens.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Feta & Pine Nuts

One of my favorite spring salads begins with homemade strawberry vinaigrette (see recipe notes below) and finishes with a garnish of toasted nuts. It’s perfect for lunch or as a starter to dinner.

It’s also super easy:

  • Lightly toast nuts of your choice – pecans, walnuts, slivered almonds or pine nuts – and roughly chop if needed.
  • Toss baby spinach leaves and sliced strawberries in a light dressing of strawberry vinaigrette and pile into a bowl.
  • Crumble creamy feta cheese on top of the salad (shaved parmesan would work, too).
  • Top with toasted nuts and dig in!
Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar
4.5 from 2 reviews
Recipe type: Condiment
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 12
Perfume vinegar with the sweetest berries of the season and whisk it up into a pretty pink vinaigrette.
  • 2 cups hulled strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons organic raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup white balsamic vinegar
  1. Combine strawberries and sugar in a food processor or blender and puree until runny. It's okay to have some chunks.
  2. Transfer strawberry mixture into a quart jar and pour in vinegar. Top jar with a lid and shake well.
  3. Let strawberry infusion stand for an hour or so.
  4. Shake vinegar once again and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pint jar. It will take about 10 minutes to completely drip through.Discard the strawberry solids.
  5. Your strawberry vinegar is now ready to use or you can cover the jar with a lid and store, refrigerated, for a few weeks.
To make a strawberry vinaigrette for salads, whisk together one part strawberry vinegar with three parts extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Shake well and serve.

 What is a favorite spring salad?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I really despise washing salad greens too. And here in China they are much dirtier than bought from the grocery store in the states. They are much more straight from the garden dirty, but they are also extremely cheap so we can include a lot more in our diet which is good. As long as I actually get around to cleaning them.

    The vinaigrette looks like a tasty fun kitchen project though.

  2. That dressing looks delicious. I like spinach salad with toasted walnuts, apple slices, blue cheese, crumbled up bacon and homemade dressing.

  3. Oh yum! This sounds super fabulous!

  4. Do you have a good salad spinner? I’ve found that it makes a big difference on how many greens we eat at our house!

    I’ve really been enjoying the one I bought from Pampered Chef. It has a lettuce basket, and a berry basket, pump action to get it spinning, and a button to make it stop. My husband is amazed at how dry it gets everything (it is his job to wash the lettuce while I’m making the rest of the meal). I also bought the chilling insert and lid so I can use the spinner bowl as a salad bowl for picnics and potlucks.

  5. I’ve been making lots of salads from the greens in my garden and trying to use up all of my radishes!

  6. The looks so yummy…and love the new graphic w/ your site name :)
    I have tons of greens right now and so happy with something new to pair with them.

  7. I have a similar recipe that calls for spinach and strawberry and it’s one of my favorites! I’ll have to try your recipe but probably swap out the pine nuts (we don’t do well with pine nuts; my husband said everything he ate tasted like coffee or tin for a few days after eating pine nuts!).

  8. Yum – a fave salad of mine. Will try your dressing!

  9. This vinaigrette sounds wonderful, and so timely since I’ve been looking for recipes to use the last of the spinach in my garden and/or the strawberries that are just starting to ripen!

    Btw, I swish greens in a sink full of cold water with a splash of white vinegar (kills microbes and loosens soil), then transfer them to a salad spinner where they get a couple of more washes and rinses before a good spin dry.

  10. This looks very appetizing and this is such a healthy way to eat delicious food. Can we put an add-on ingredient to this marvelous salad? Thanks a lot for sharing this information.

  11. I hate washing salad greens too (though not as much as I hate deveining shrimp). Just plowed through two gorgeous, enormous heads of lettuce in preparation for this week’s meals – wish I had strawberries in the house to infuse some vinegar!

  12. Wow, this looks really good! Strawberry vinegar is a great idea!

  13. Yummy! I am so in love with strawberries right now – adding this to the list of strawberry recipes that need to be made asap!

  14. What is it about strawberries and salads that make the combination so amazing? Can’t wait to try your salad soon, it will be perfect for date night on the porch 😀

  15. Love, love, love strawberries in salads and strawberry vinegar sounds even more amazing.

  16. Sounds scrumptious! The only vinegar I’ve ever made is hot pepper vinegar, this sounds much more delicate and … firey.

  17. *less firey

  18. Colleen says:

    I also make Spinach Salad with Feta Cheese and Pine Nuts but I make a Basil Balsamic dressing to go with it. Yummy!

  19. I made this dressing last night. Are you sure it’s one part vinegar to three parts olive oil?? It lacked the strawberry/vinegar flavor, until I added enough of the vinegar to make it 3 parts vinegar to one part olive oil. Only then did it taste good.

  20. I can’t wait to make this!

    I’m curious as to the glass pitcher- I love it! Any leads as to where to get one? I need one for me homemade vinaigrettes!

  21. I’m not supposed to eat spinach anymore because of a predisposition to form kidney stones. Do you have a best substitution recommendation? Maybe Arugula (or too peppery?) or Kale (too bold?) or a Spring Mix ?

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