If you're looking for a dose of summer in a salad, this cucumber strawberry salad with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette was made for you! Packed with quinoa, spinach, cucumbers, strawberries, feta cheese, and almonds, you'll be filled up and satisfied. *Vegetarian and gluten-free*
Salads are making a comeback, right? I think we've all moved on from boring, bland salads. And this cucumber strawberry salad is leading the charge. This salad combines fresh fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, spinach, and strawberries with quinoa, feta cheese, and almonds. Sweet and savory, crunchy, and filling - all the best things, right?! This dressing also makes this salad come alive, and I could probably eat it on its own - you'll see what I mean when you make it for yourself!
- Quinoa: This high-fiber, high-protein grain-like seed adds a lot of filling power to this refreshing salad.
- Spinach: Bagged spinach can save you alot of time since they usually come pre-washed.
- Strawberries: Fresh strawberries spoil quickly, so don't buy these strawberries too far ahead of time when making this salad.
- English cucumber: You can substitute smaller, Persian or "salad" cucumbers if you prefer.
- Feta cheese: Best if bought in a block rather than pre-crumbled for the best taste and texture.
- Almonds: You can buy pre-sliced or slivered almonds for ease, or feel free to swap with a different nut if you prefer.
- Strawberry balsamic vinaigrette: Strawberries, white balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt.
How to Make Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Rinse and hull the strawberries (remove the green and white top part). Quarter the strawberries by cutting them into 4 sections. Add strawberries, white balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to a food processor. Process for 1-2 minutes or until the vinaigrette is mostly smooth.
This salad is best enjoyed fresh. However, if you would like to prepare it ahead of time, the best way to store the salad is layered in jars. This ensures that the spinach doesn't get soggy from the dressing.
Layer the jars (bottom to top): vinaigrette, cucumbers, strawberries, quinoa, feta, quinoa, almonds, spinach. Store in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- Use fresh ingredients if possible! This salad is best enjoyed in the summer because cucumbers and strawberries taste even more delicious when they're in season!
- Want to infuse more flavor in your quinoa? Cook the quinoa with vegetable broth instead of water for a flavor boost.
- If you have regular balsamic vinegar and not white balsamic vinegar, feel free to sub it out. It will result in a darker color, but the taste should be almost similar.
Variations and Substitutions
- Make it vegan and/or dairy-free: Substitute the feta cheese with a vegan cheese or omit it completely to make this recipe vegan.
- Make it gluten-free: This salad is already gluten-free. The only concerning ingredient is quinoa - although it is gluten-free, it can cross-contact with gluten in processing and/or manufacturing. If you are on a strict gluten-free diet, make sure the packaging of your quinoa is "certified gluten-free."
- Add a protein source: To make this dish more filling, add your favorite protein source. Grilled chicken or shrimp would be wonderful in this dish!
- Change up the veggies! I'm a huge fan of flexibility and using what you have on hand. If you don't have spinach, most leafy greens would taste just as good - feel free to substitute with romaine lettuce, mixed greens, or kale. Also, you can add bell peppers for an added crunch if you prefer.
What to Serve with Cucumber Strawberry Salad
This refreshing fruit and veggie salad pairs so well with a hearty dish like this Lemon Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Pasta, an easy Margherita Flatbread Pizza, or these delicious Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa.
If you made this recipe, I’d love to see your creation! Don’t forget to snap a picture and tag me @thebalancedbite on Instagram. Follow along on Pinterest and Facebook for more healthy & tasty recipes!
More Vegetable Salad Recipes:
- Peach Salad with Avocado
- Lemon Parmesan Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Shrimp Taco Salad Bowl
- Quinoa Black Bean Avocado Salad
- Mediterranean Shrimp Salad
- Chickpea Avocado Salad
Cucumber Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- ⅓ cup quinoa
- 6 cups spinach
- 6 large strawberries, quartered
- 1 English cucumber, sliced
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 4 strawberries, quartered
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Cook the quinoa. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under running water. Combine quinoa and ⅔ cup water in a medium pot. Cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed completely.Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
- Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine strawberries, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt in a food processor. Process for 1 minute, until ingredients are processed and vinaigrette is mostly smooth.
- Assemble the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine quinoa, spinach, strawberries, cucumbers, feta cheese, and almonds. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and mix to combine. Season with salt to taste. Serve in individual bowls.
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