This Strawberry Walnut Salad is just in time for summer! Made with spring mix lettuce, sliced strawberries, walnuts, vegan feta cheese, mint and sage leaves, and shallots. A drizzle of flavorful white balsamic vinaigrette adds a mouthful of flavor you’ll want to revisit again and again!
I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods, signs that winter is behind us are all around! From later days with sunny skies and warmer evenings to the awakening of greens, yellows, and purples in my yard, I know it’s finally here: spring!
Along with the fresh new season comes recipe and meal-time spring cleaning that will carry us all the way through summer! My family starts to crave lighter fare with fresh veggies and salad. This flavorful strawberry walnut salad made with spring-mix lettuce, sage and mint is perfect for those warmer lighter evenings.
Reasons you’ll love this flavorful light savory strawberry salad with walnuts:
- A cacophony of flavors with the sage and mint leaves, shallots, and feta.
- Made easy using prepacked spring-mix salad.
- Easy to sub in your favorite salad mix including baby spinach leaves for a spinach strawberry salad instead.
- Can sub in other nuts such as pecans or slivered almonds if that is your preference.
- A delicious white balsamic vinaigrette drizzled on top – see below for other salad dressing options.
- Delicious enough to serve to your family, yet elegant enough to serve at a dinner party.
- Made vegan friendly with suggestions for vegan feta – see below.
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Ingredients needed to make this springtime strawberry walnut salad
For the salad mixture you will need:
- chopped walnuts
- sliced strawberries
- fresh sage leaves
- fresh mint leaves
- red onions
- 5 ounces spring mix salad purchased prepared and washed, (one container)
- vegan feta cheese (see below for options)
For the white balsamic vinaigrette ingredients you will need:
- white balsamic vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil – light flavor
- agave nectar
- ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
What can we use for vegan crumbled feta cheese?
We live in a wonderful time when we can purchase prepared feta cheese from some reliable plant-based cheese brands. I like Violife as well as Follow Your Heart feta cheese.
I realize it’s not always easy to find commercial vegan feta, nor does it always fit with one’s dietary goals. Here are some fabulous vegan feta cheeses you can make at home from some of the best vegan bloggers on the WWW!
- Vegan Feta Cheese Recipe (made with cashews and oil-free) from Veggies Don’t Bite
- Tofu Feta Cheese (oil-free) from Kathy’s Vegan Kitchen
- Homemade Vegan Feta Cheese with Tofu from Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen
If you are not vegan then, of course, use the feta cheese you’d like – but you might be interested in trying some of the above suggestions.
How to make Strawberry Walnut Salad
Follow these simple instructions and soon you will have a tasty summer salad on the table and ready to eat!
Step 1: Make the white balsamic vinaigrette
No need to mince the garlic or cut shallot if you are using a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix. Simply peel and add to your high-speed blender. Shallots are usually small and so this will work well. If your shallot is larger than normal, cut it in half or quarters.
If you have a regular blender and NOT a high-speed blender, just cut the shallot in quarters or smaller, and add olive oil to a blender along with the garlic, vinegar, agave, salt, and pepper.
Start low and work up to high speed. Blend until everything is well blended and emulsified. Pour into a mason jar with a lid or airtight container to store the salad dressing.
What is the difference between white and dark balsamic vinegar? And Can I use regular dark balsamic instead?
According to this informative article about balsamic vinegar by The Kitchn, there is very little difference in flavor between the two colors of balsamic vinegar. Dark balsamic tends to be a little sweeter and more syrupy, while white balsamic vinegar lends a cleaner flavor. It then mentions that it’s really about aesthetics and preference and that with lighter-colored food, you might want a lighter-colored vinaigrette. That makes total sense and the white balsamic is really perfect and lovely with this summer salad.
Step 2: Chop and slice
Chop the walnuts, slice the strawberries, slice the sage and mint leaves, and thinly slice the onion. Set aside.
Can I toast the walnuts or sub in toasted pecans?
Of course! These are both great substitutions to toast walnuts or pecans, preheat your oven to 350° and roast for 7-10 minutes, watching carefully so that they don’t burn. You will want to toast the nuts well ahead of time so that they have time to cool before adding them to the strawberry salad.
Step 3: Toss together your summer salad
I use a five-ounce container of prepared spring mix salad I buy in the produce department. It comes prewashed and ready to use.
You could certainly put together your own salad mixture. I suggest using the tender “baby” leaves for this summery salad including baby kale, baby spinach, and red leaf lettuce.
I have also used fresh baby spinach to make spinach strawberry walnut salad. It was delicious but reminded me more of late summer than spring. Your personal choice. (But yes, I do love strawberry spinach salad!)
Simply place the spring-mix salad into a large bowl, add the chopped ingredients on top, add in your choice of feta cheese crumbles, and drizzle the white balsamic vinaigrette and your strawberry salad is good to go!
Remember that if you are making your own delicious vegan version of feta cheese, you will need to plan and make it well ahead of time. Some of the recipes need time to sit for the flavor to fully develop.
Here are some more dressing recipes you might like to try.
I do love this white balsamic salad dressing. It’s perfect for a springtime/summer salad. Here are some other plant-based salad dressings from Veggie Fun Kitchen. If you are looking for an oil-free dressing you can try one of these.
For some other fabulous “fresh leaf” salads from Veggie Fun Kitchen, try:
- Restaurant Style Italian Salad
- Autumn Spinach Salad with Roasted Pumpkin
- Veggie Salad with Smooth Tahini Dressing
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Quinoa
- Very Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette
The printable recipe card for Strawberry Walnut Salad
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Strawberry Walnut Salad with Mint and Feta, Vegan Friendly
White Balsamic Vinaigrette
- ½ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil light flavor
- 2 Tablespoons agave
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 shallot
- 1 cup walnuts chopped, see notes for substitutions
- 1 cup strawberries slice, about 8 large
- 4 sage leaves sliced
- 5 mint leaves sliced
- 1 small red onion sliced thinly, about 1 cup
- 5 ounces spring mix salad purchased prepared and washed, one container
- 5 ounces vegan feta cheese see notes for suggestions
- No need to mince the garlic and shallot. Simply peel and add to your high-speed blender. This will work even if your blender is not high speed. Just cut the shallot in quarters or smaller, and add to a blender along with the vinegar, olive oil, agave, salt, and pepper.
- Blend for 30-45 seconds until mixed and creamy.
- Chop the walnuts, slice the strawberries, slice the sage and mint leaves, and thinly slice the onion.
- Add the five ounce container of "spring mix" salad to a large bowl. Add the walnuts, strawberries, sage, mint, and onion. Add the vegan feta cheese. If you did not purchase the feta cheese you will need to make it ahead of time. See the blog post for recipe suggestions. If you are using dairy feta cheese then just add it.
- Toss together and drizzle the white balsamic on top. Serve