This blueberry spinach salad with candied pecans, avocado and balsamic dressing is easy to make in 15 minutes for a stunning and nutritious side salad or light meal.
About the Recipe
If you’re looking for summer salad that highlights fresh berries, you have to try this lovely blueberry spinach salad.
It features baby spinach, fresh blueberries, red onion, cucumber, basil, avocado and irresistible candied pecans for the perfect medley of flavours and textures.
You can use blueberry jam in the dressing to amp up the blueberry flavour but maple syrup works just as well for classic balsamic vinaigrette.
This salad is wonderful for summer gatherings, can be paired with a protein to make a complete meal and works well for a quick and healthy addition to lunch or dinner.
For more summer salads, don’t miss this peach arugula salad and summer quinoa salad.
For the Salad
- Baby Spinach: You could substitute another green like arugula, mixed salad greens or even kale. If you’re using kale, massage with 1 tbsp of the dressing or olive oil before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.
- Blueberries: You’ll need fresh blueberries. Other berries would work well too – try sliced strawberries, raspberries, peach or nectarine. Apples would also be nice!
- Red Onion: You could substitute shallot or make pickled red onion.
- Basil: Use fresh basil.
- Cucumber: The recipe calls for 2 mini cucumbers but you can use 1/2 a large cucumber as well.
- Avocado: You’ll need 1 ripe avocado or about 1/4 of an avocado per serving.
- Pecans: You can use pecans or walnuts.
- Maple Syrup: This could be substituted with honey or agave syrup.
For the Dressing
- Blueberry Jam or Maple Syrup: For blueberry-balsamic dressing, use any blueberry jam, otherwise, maple syrup, honey or agave syrup work.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This could be substituted with red wine vinegar.
- Olive Oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Dijon Mustard: Use any Dijon or whole grain mustard you enjoy.
- Garlic: Grate or crush the garlic. You can substitute 1 tsp garlic powder, if needed.
Variations & Additions
Step 1: Make Candied Pecans
Add the chopped pecans to a skillet on the stovetop and heat over medium heat for 4-6 minutes until they’re browned and fragrant. Be careful not to burn them!
Remove the pan from the heat and drizzle them with 1 tbsp maple syrup and season with salt. Stir to coat and then transfer to a parchment-paper lined plate or pan to cool. They will get crunchy as they cool.
Step 2: Make the Dressing
Add all of the salad dressing ingredients to a container, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
Step 3: Mix Salad
Add the spinach, blueberries, onion, basil and cucumbers to a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to combine everything.
Divide between serving bowls and top each with the candied pecans and avocado.
- The candied pecans can be made in advance. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- The dressing can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Do not dress the salad or add avocado until serving. The salad does not store well once dressed as the spinach will get soggy.
- It’s suggested to assemble and dress the salad just before serving.
A zesty blueberry spinach salad with sweet and salty pecans, creamy avocado and balsamic vinaigrette. Perfect for summer!
For the Salad
For the Balsamic Dressing
- Candy Pecans: Heat a medium pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add pecans. Toast for 4-6 min, stirring occasionally, until pecans are browned. Remove the pan from heat. Drizzle 1 tbsp maple syrup over top. Season with salt. Stir to coat. Transfer to a parchment-lined plate or pan to cool.
- Make Dressing: To a glass measuring cup or jar, add blueberry jam or maple syrup, vinegar, garlic, Dijon and oil. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk to combine.
- Assemble & Serve: To a large bowl or serving platter, add spinach, blueberries, onions, cucumbers and basil. Drizzle dressing over top, then toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve: Top with pecans and avocado or transfer to 4 serving bowls and top each with equal amounts of the pecans and avocado.
Try adding tofu feta. You’ll need an extra hour of marinating time or it can be made in advance and stored up to 5 days in the fridge.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 353
- Sugar: 12 g
- Fat: 29 g
- Carbohydrates: 24 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 5 g
Keywords: blueberry spinach salad