This simple salad of baby spinach, sliced strawberries, toasted nuts and feta cheese is fresh, flavorful, and perfect for summer. Plus, the warm brown butter dressing is a wonderful surprise!
By now you’ve likely seen brown butter in just about every kind of recipe, especially dessert recipes (cookies! rice krispie treats! even ice cream!), but have you ever tried it in a salad dressing? I sure hadn’t until a few weeks ago, but now I’m completely obsessed. It’s so rich, silky and full of flavor. Whisk in a little honey, balsamic vinegar, and salt and the dressing is complete!
All that’s left to do is toss it with some fresh spinach, strawberries, nuts, and feta cheese. And voila!, you have a simple but delicious summer salad.
How to Brown Butter
- Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium low heat.
- Add cubed butter to the pan and let it melt (cubing the butter first allows it to melt more evenly).
- Once the butter is melted, it will start to foam. Stir frequently with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan.
- Continue to cook butter until you see brown specs in the butter and it has a nutty aroma.
- Remove from heat immediately. Do not let it burn.
- Use the browned butter right away or put in the fridge for later use.
Variations for this salad
- Try other greens like arugula, baby kale, spring mix, or a mix of a few.
- Add or substitute other fresh berries like raspberries and blackberries. Sliced apples and/or pears would turn this into a lovely fall salad!
- Use any nuts you like— pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts are all fine options.
- Any sharp crumbly cheese would be great— like blue cheese, gorgonzola, and even cotija.
- Make it a main dish by adding grilled chicken or salmon.
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Warm Brown Butter Dressing
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary
- Pinch of salt
- 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- Melt butter in a small saucepan set over medium low heat. Continue to cook butter, stirring frequently, until butter turns golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in balsamic vinegar, honey, rosemary and salt. Cool slightly.
- To assemble the salad, toss the baby spinach, strawberries, nuts, feta cheese, and warm dressing in a large bowl. Serve immediately.
- If dressing cools and hardens, rewarm in a microwave in 10 second bursts.