Strawberry Salads

Two strawberry salads, great ways to show off spring strawberries. The first strawberry salad is so special, it's worth saving for tender home-grown strawberries. But no worry, the second strawberry salad works beautifully with supermarket strawberries. Both use Candied Almonds, gorgeous orbs of nutty sweetness.
Strawberry Pepper Salad with Candied Almonds & Shaved Parmesan ♥, so easy and so over-the-top delicious. Best with tender, home-grown strawberries.

  • "Holy moly ... may be the world's best use of strawberries." ~ Jo Beth
  • "Strawberries with almonds and parmesan and pepper.... mmm!" ~ Anonymous

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting ...

Each year, as the last days of May slip into the first hours of June, the local strawberries are fat and juicy and perfect.

The season seems to last a whole ten seconds, a couple of weeks at most – but only in a good year, for reality depends on sun and rain and temperature, the unpredictability a reminder of who’s really in charge.

An abundance of spring strawberries at the Kauppatori in Helsinki, Finland ♥

Each year I wait in anticipation, hoarding special ways to use nature’s perfect ruby gems. A few out of the hand; small bowls swimming in fresh cream; shortcake. These top the list but then curiosity sets in.

A Strawberry Feast

Last year I hosted a strawberry feast for a friend, her young daughter and a cousin: think four courses, each one starring local berries. What fun!

The favorite among kids and grown-ups alike was a surprise, a simple Strawberry Pepper Salad, just berries macerated in a touch of sugar and balsamic vinegar spiked with pepper, the juices topping buttery lettuce. The combination of sweet and heat, sweet and sour, it’s magical, worthy of real berries.

But Local Strawberries Are Indeed Fleeting

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppyseed Dressing ♥, tender baby spinach sweetened with fresh strawberries and candied almonds.

So save the precious home-grown strawberries for Strawberry Pepper Salad! But when supermarket berries are what's available or affordable, Strawberry Spinach Salad does just beautifully. I love the combination of slightly bitter spinach (arugula would work as well) with fresh, wet strawberries. It's a combination to anticipate, every single year!

Special Salads Deserve Special Treats

Candied Almonds for a pair of Strawberry Salads ♥

Some salads are just better, I think of them almost as special occasion salads ... not that they're just for company since often these salads are simple enough for a weeknight, substantial enough to make a meal out of all on their own.

What makes these salads special are their ingredients, some times especially fresh or seasonal, some times an intriguing combination of freshness, earthiness, saltiness and ...

Better salads some times bear a touch of sweet texture, nuts lightly coated with sugar. When I first wrote this column back in 2006, I was much enamored with candied nuts, these Candied Almonds and Black Pepper Almonds among them.

Since though, I've fallen in love with Maple-Glazed Pecans, crisp and barely sweet, sweetened with maple syrup instead of processed sugar. Nearly always, there's a jar in the pantry, a special touch for morning oatmeal, ice cream and most often, salads.

Slightly sweet nuts are truly a wonderful addition to these special occasion salads.


Worthy of the best of berries, locally or home-grown
Hands-on time: 20 minutes (including the Candied Almonds)
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 pint ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 – 3 three grinds of black pepper (yes, pepper!)
  • Salad greens, preferably leafy green or red leafy lettuce
  • Candied Almonds (recipe below)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, shaved (see TIPS)

MACERATE THE BERRIES Combine berries, vinegar, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes for flavors to meld.

(If you're making Candied Almonds, make them now while the berries macerate.)

PLATE THE SALADS Arrange the fresh salad greens on plates. Spoon a tablespoon of berry-vinegar juice over the greens, then arrange strawberry slices and Candied Almonds on top. Top with freshly ground pepper and strips of fresh Parmesan.

ALANNA's TIPS Use a carrot peeler to peel off delicate ribbons of Parmesan cheese.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per serving, assumes 1 tablespoon Candied Almonds & 1 tablespoon feta: 134 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 6mg Cholesterol; 100mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 3g Fiber; 10g Sugars; 5g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & Points Plus 4 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 4


Hands-on time: 15 minutes (not including the Candied Almonds)
Time to table: 15 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red onion
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Candied Almonds (recipe below)
  • Feta cheese crumbles

MAKE THE DRESSING In a mini food processor, process all the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust the sugar and salt (see TIPS). Makes about 1/2 cup, can be made ahead of time.

PLATE THE SALADS Toss the baby spinach with the Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing. Top with strawberries, Candied Almonds and feta cheese.

ALANNA's TIPS The dressing is slightly sharp, I've done that intentionally to counter the sweetness of the berries and the Candied Almonds. Together, they balance! Still, if you're skipping the Candied Almonds, you might add more sugar to taste. Red onion gives the dressing a pretty pink strawberry-ish color but any color onion will taste just as good. If you don't use red onion, consider substituting red wine vinegar for a little color. No mini food processor? That's too bad, they're handy! But no problem, just grate the onion on a cheese grater and then whisk with the remaining ingredients.
Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing Only Per Tablespoon: 23 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 35mg Sodium; 0g Carb; 0g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 0g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points .5 & PointsPlus 1 & SmartPoints 1 & Freestyle 1

Whole Salad Per Serving, assumes 2 ounces spinach, 2 strawberries, 1 tablespoon Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing, 1 tablespoon Candied Almonds, 1 tablespoon feta: 107 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 10mg Cholesterol; 190mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 2g Fiber; 5g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4 & Freestyle 3


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Makes 1 cup
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • A little salt (a little more if using unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup whole almonds

Melt the butter and brown sugar in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Stir in the almonds and let bubble (just tiny!) for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously and adjusting the heat to avoid burning, until the almonds are brown and aromatic. Transfer to a plate in a single layer to cool.

ALANNA's TIPS Slivered almonds work too but they have more surface area, you'll need to double the butter and brown sugar to coat the small batons.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Tablespoon: 64 Calories; 5g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 1mg Cholesterol; 9mg Sodium; 3g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 1.5 & PointsPlus 2 & SmartPoints 2 & Freestyle 2

Gorging on Strawberries

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

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from Kitchen Parade

~ Seven-Layer Strawberry Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing ~
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from A Veggie Venture

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

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~ almonds ~
~ spinach ~
~ poppy seeds ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013 & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/19/2007



  2. Anonymous7/19/2007


    I followed the link here from A Veggie Venture, and am I ever glad I did! Both of these salads sound scrumptious. Cheese and nuts and berries atop greens ... what's not to love? Thanks for the strawberry inspiration.


  3. Anonymous7/19/2007

    The salad looks beautiful--particularly the way you photographed it. The green cloth looks so pretty.


  4. Anonymous7/19/2007

    Looks so nice and refreshing!


  5. Anonymous7/19/2007

    I agree with Sher, it's a great photo. Both of these sound great.


  6. Anonymous7/19/2007

    That looks phenomenal! The colours! The flavours! I started drooling just at the photos and the condition worsened as I read the recipe. Fab!


  7. Anonymous7/19/2007

    Holy moly, balsamic strawberries with candied almonds and shaved parmesan may be the world's best use of strawberries.

    We made it for our Fourth of July luncheon and everyone loved it. So easy, yet I never thought of must be genius, yes?


  8. Anonymous5/08/2009

    I made this for the first time last night for a dinner with some friends, and it was a great hit. It was wonderful! I sent a copy of the recipe home with everyone, and I already have plans to make it again soon. Brilliant for this time of year.
    Strawberries with almonds and parmesan and pepper.... mmm!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna