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Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad Recipe

A refreshing fusion of sweet and savory, this Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad is a delightful twist on the traditional pasta salad. Strawberries add a surprising burst of sweetness while the spinach brings a hearty and nutritious element. The feta cheese and almonds provide a delightful crunch, and the balsamic glaze ties everything together with its tangy sweetness.

Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad Recipe
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Most of these ingredients are common in households, but you may need to pick up a few items. The balsamic glaze, a syrupy reduction of balsamic vinegar, may not be readily available in your pantry but is an essential ingredient in this recipe. It is commonly found in the salad dressing aisle of supermarkets. Also, don't forget to grab some fresh strawberries and baby spinach during your grocery run.

Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad Ingredients

Kosher salt: This type of salt has a larger grain size than regular table salt, and is less likely to contain additives. It's perfect for seasoning pasta water.

Black pepper: Adds a little heat and depth of flavor.

Olive oil: Helps to dress the pasta and keep it from sticking together.

Lemon juice: Adds a bright, citrusy freshness to the salad.

Penne pasta: Its tubular shape holds up well in salads and is a great vehicle for the dressing.

Baby spinach: Adds a pop of color and a dose of healthy greens.

Strawberries: Provides a sweet contrast to the savory ingredients.

Feta: Brings a creamy, tangy element to the salad.

Almonds: Gives the salad a nice crunch and additional depth of flavor.

Balsamic glaze: This is a thick, syrupy reduction of balsamic vinegar that adds a tangy sweetness.

One reader, Ceciley Knotts says:

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This strawberry spinach pasta salad recipe is a game-changer! The combination of sweet strawberries, crunchy almonds, and tangy feta creates a burst of flavors. The balsamic glaze adds a delightful finishing touch. It's a refreshing and satisfying dish that's perfect for a light lunch or as a side. Highly recommended!

Ceciley Knotts

Key Techniques for Crafting the Perfect Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

How to cook the pasta: Cook the pasta 1 minute shy of the package directions to ensure it is al dente and not overcooked.

How to whisk together the dressing: Whisk together the salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice in a large bowl until well combined.

How to toss the salad: Gently toss the spinach, strawberries, feta, and almonds with the pasta and dressing until everything is evenly distributed.

How to drizzle with balsamic glaze: Drizzle the salad with balsamic glaze just before serving to add a sweet and tangy finish.

How To Make Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

Enjoy a bite of contrasting, but delectable flavors from this spinach pasta salad! It’s a delightfully flavored and filling mix of sweet, earthy, and tangy.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • ½tspkosher salt
  • ¼tspcoarse ground black pepper
  • ¼cupextra virgin olive oil
  • 2tbsplemon lemon juice
  • 1lbpenne pasta
  • 4cupsbaby spinach
  • 3cupsstrawberries,sliced
  • 1cupfeta,crumbled
  • ½cupalmonds,sliced
  • 4tbspbalsamic glaze,for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta 1 minute shy of the package directions.

  2. Whisk together the salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add in the pasta, then stir to combine.

  3. Add the spinach, strawberries, feta and almonds, then toss gently until combined.

  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze, serve, and enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Calories: 398.72kcal
  • Fat: 16.26g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.25g
  • Trans Fat: 0.00g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 8.73g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.34g
  • Carbohydrates: 51.26g
  • Fiber: 4.21g
  • Sugar: 6.77g
  • Protein: 12.53g
  • Cholesterol: 16.69mg
  • Sodium: 299.56mg
  • Calcium: 145.30mg
  • Potassium: 332.62mg
  • Iron: 1.67mg
  • Vitamin A: 47.48µg
  • Vitamin C: 36.40mg

Expert Technique Tip for Elevating Your Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

To ensure your pasta doesn't stick together, add a splash of olive oil to the boiling water before adding your penne pasta. This not only prevents sticking but also adds a subtle flavor to the pasta. Additionally, when preparing the strawberries, make sure to hull them before slicing. This means removing the green leafy top and the white core, which can be bitter. This will ensure every bite of your salad is sweet and delicious.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

Prep ahead: Chop and wash the spinach and strawberries in advance to save time during the recipe preparation.

One-pot cooking: Cook the pasta and blanch the spinach in the same pot to minimize clean-up and save time.

Multitask: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing and chop the strawberries to streamline the process.

Organized workspace: Lay out all the ingredients and utensils before starting to ensure a smooth and efficient cooking process.

Quick assembly: Have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go before assembling the salad for a speedy final step.

Substitute Ingredients For Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad Recipe

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can provide a similar level of salinity and flavor to the dish.
  • coarse ground black pepper - Substitute with crushed red pepper flakes: Red pepper flakes can add a subtle heat and texture similar to black pepper.
  • extra virgin olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point, making it a suitable alternative for dressing.
  • lemon juice - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can offer a tangy acidity similar to lemon juice.
  • penne pasta - Substitute with farfalle pasta: Farfalle pasta's shape and texture can work well in the salad.
  • baby spinach - Substitute with arugula: Arugula can provide a peppery bite and vibrant green color to the salad.
  • strawberries - Substitute with raspberries: Raspberries can offer a similar tartness and sweetness to the salad.
  • feta - Substitute with goat cheese: Goat cheese can provide a tangy and creamy element to the salad.
  • almonds - Substitute with walnuts: Walnuts can offer a similar crunch and nutty flavor to the salad.
  • balsamic glaze - Substitute with honey balsamic vinaigrette: A honey balsamic vinaigrette can provide a balanced sweetness and acidity to the salad.

Presentation Tips for a Stunning Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the pasta salad in a visually appealing manner, ensuring that each ingredient is showcased beautifully on the plate.

  2. Incorporate contrasting textures: Introduce a variety of textures, such as the tender pasta, crisp spinach, juicy strawberries, creamy feta, and crunchy almonds, to create an exciting sensory experience.

  3. Utilize vibrant colors: Highlight the bright hues of the strawberries and spinach against the backdrop of the pasta, creating a visually stunning and appetizing dish.

  4. Balance the flavors: Ensure that the flavors of the sweet strawberries, tangy feta, and nutty almonds are harmoniously balanced, creating a delightful taste sensation with each bite.

  5. Emphasize the freshness: Source the freshest ingredients possible to enhance the overall quality and flavor of the dish, elevating the dining experience for the discerning palates of Michelin-starred chefs.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile knife used for chopping, slicing, and dicing.
  • Mixing bowl: A bowl used for mixing ingredients together.
  • Whisk: A kitchen tool used for blending and mixing ingredients.
  • Colander: A bowl-shaped kitchen tool with holes used for draining liquids from food.
  • Large pot: A large, deep cooking container used for boiling or simmering ingredients.
  • Strainer: A tool used for separating liquids from solids.
  • Salad spinner: A kitchen tool used to wash and dry salad greens.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Tools used for accurately measuring ingredients.
  • Tongs: A tool with two arms and a pivot used for picking up and manipulating food.
  • Serving platter: A large, flat dish used for serving food.

Storing and Freezing Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad: A Guide

  • To store the strawberry spinach pasta salad, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. The spinach may wilt slightly, but the flavors will continue to meld together, making it even more delicious.

  • If you want to prepare the salad in advance, cook the pasta and mix it with the dressing, then store it in the refrigerator. Just before serving, add the spinach, strawberries, feta, and almonds to ensure they stay fresh and crisp.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the pasta salad, but keep in mind that the texture of the spinach and strawberries may change after thawing. To freeze, transfer the salad to a freezer-safe container and store it for up to 2 months.

  • When ready to serve the frozen pasta salad, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. If the dressing seems too thick, add a little water or olive oil to thin it out and restore its consistency.

  • To refresh the thawed salad, you can add some fresh spinach, strawberries, and a sprinkle of feta and almonds before serving to enhance the texture and flavor.

How To Reheat Leftover Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

  • Refrigerate the leftover strawberry spinach pasta salad in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. This will help maintain the freshness and prevent the spinach from wilting too quickly.
  • When ready to reheat, remove the desired portion from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. This will help the salad come to a more palatable temperature and prevent the pasta from becoming too cold when reheated.
  • For best results, reheat the pasta salad in the microwave. Place the portion in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high power for 30-45 seconds, or until the salad reaches your desired temperature. Be careful not to overheat, as this can cause the spinach to wilt and the pasta to become mushy.
  • If you prefer a cold pasta salad, simply remove the desired portion from the refrigerator and enjoy it straight away. The flavors of the strawberries, feta, and balsamic glaze will have had time to meld together, creating a delightful and refreshing taste.
  • To add a bit of crunch back to the almonds, you can toast them lightly in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes before adding them to the reheated salad. This will help restore their texture and enhance their flavor.
  • If the pasta salad seems a bit dry after reheating, you can drizzle a small amount of olive oil or lemon juice over the top to help revive the dressing and add a burst of freshness.

Fascinating Facts About the Origins of Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

Strawberry spinach pasta salad is a versatile dish that can be customized with various ingredients such as nuts, cheese, and balsamic glaze. It's a great way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into a pasta dish, providing a refreshing and nutritious meal option.

Is Making Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this strawberry spinach pasta salad recipe largely depends on the availability and pricing of the ingredients. Penne pasta, spinach, and strawberries are generally affordable, while feta cheese and balsamic glaze can be pricier. However, the dish's nutritional value and flavor profile make it a worthwhile investment. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-20. Overall Verdict: 8.

Is This Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad Healthy?

This strawberry spinach pasta salad recipe offers a mix of healthy and indulgent ingredients. On the positive side, it includes nutrient-rich foods like:

  • Baby spinach, which is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium
  • Strawberries, an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants
  • Almonds, providing healthy fats, protein, and vitamin E

However, the recipe also contains some less healthy components:

  • Penne pasta, a refined carbohydrate that can cause blood sugar spikes
  • Feta cheese, which is high in saturated fat and sodium
  • Balsamic glaze, which may contain added sugars

While the olive oil and lemon juice dressing is a healthier choice compared to creamy, high-calorie dressings, the overall nutritional balance of the dish could be improved.

To make this pasta salad healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Swap the penne pasta for a whole grain or legume-based alternative, such as whole wheat penne or chickpea pasta, to increase fiber and nutrient content
  • Reduce the amount of feta cheese or replace it with a lower-fat, lower-sodium cheese like part-skim mozzarella or goat cheese
  • Use a homemade balsamic dressing instead of store-bought glaze to control the amount of added sugars
  • Add more vegetables to the salad, such as cherry tomatoes, cucumber, or red onion, to boost the fiber and nutrient profile
  • Include a lean protein source, like grilled chicken or chickpeas, to make the salad more satiating and balanced

Editor's Take: My Honest Opinion on This Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

This strawberry spinach pasta salad recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The sweetness of the strawberries pairs beautifully with the earthy spinach, while the tangy feta and crunchy almonds add depth and crunch. The balsamic glaze provides a perfect finishing touch, balancing the dish with a touch of sweetness and acidity. Overall, this recipe offers a refreshing and satisfying dish that is perfect for a light lunch or a side dish for a summer gathering.

Enhance Your Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Grilled Asparagus: Toss asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill until tender and slightly charred for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary, then roast until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside for a flavorful and satisfying side dish.
Mango Salsa: Combine diced mango, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice for a refreshing and tropical salsa that pairs perfectly with the strawberry spinach pasta salad.
Coconut Rice: Cook rice in coconut milk and water, then fluff with a fork and sprinkle with shredded coconut for a creamy and aromatic side dish that complements the flavors of the pasta salad.
Lemon Garlic Green Beans: Sauté green beans with minced garlic, lemon zest, and a splash of chicken broth for a bright and zesty side dish that adds a pop of color to the meal.

Delicious Alternatives to Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: These skewers are a perfect way to enjoy a variety of vegetables with a burst of flavor from the grill. Serve them as a side dish or a light main course.
Honey Garlic Glazed Salmon: This recipe combines the sweetness of honey with the savory flavor of garlic to create a delicious glaze for salmon. It's a simple and elegant dish that's perfect for a special dinner.
Mango Coconut Chia Pudding: This creamy and tropical chia pudding is a healthy and satisfying dessert or snack. The combination of mango and coconut creates a refreshing flavor that's perfect for warm weather.

Appetizer and Dessert Ideas to Complement Your Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. Bake until golden and bubbly for a delicious start to any meal.
Bruschetta: Elevate your appetizer game with a classic bruschetta. Toasted bread topped with a flavorful mixture of tomatoes, garlic, basil, and balsamic glaze is sure to impress your guests.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth after a delicious meal.
Strawberry Cheesecake: Delight in a velvety smooth strawberry cheesecake, adorned with fresh strawberry slices and a drizzle of strawberry coulis. This classic dessert is sure to impress your guests with its luscious texture and fruity flavor.

Why trust this Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, making it a perfect choice for a refreshing meal. The use of fresh strawberries and spinach provides a burst of vibrant colors and essential nutrients. The addition of creamy feta and crunchy almonds adds depth and richness to the dish. The dressing, made with lemon juice and olive oil, enhances the overall taste with its zesty and aromatic notes. The drizzle of balsamic glaze adds a touch of sweetness and tanginess, elevating the dish to a whole new level. Trust this recipe for a delightful culinary experience!

Share your thoughts on this delightful Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know if you have any creative variations or serving suggestions!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of pasta for this recipe. Rotini, fusilli, or farfalle would work well with this dish.
Can I substitute the strawberries with a different fruit?
Absolutely! You can substitute strawberries with other fruits like raspberries, blueberries, or even diced peaches for a different flavor profile.
Can I make this salad ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this salad ahead of time. However, I recommend adding the spinach and almonds just before serving to keep them fresh and crunchy.
Can I use a different type of cheese instead of feta?
Of course! If you're not a fan of feta, you can use goat cheese, gorgonzola, or even shredded Parmesan for a different taste.
Can I omit the balsamic glaze?
Yes, you can omit the balsamic glaze if you prefer. The salad will still be delicious without it, or you can use a different dressing of your choice.

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