This vegan and gluten free summer Strawberry Salad is made with your choice of spinach or kale, arugula, fresh strawberries, chickpeas, red onion, beetroot and the best, tangy Strawberry Balsamic Dressing! Ideal for healthy meal prep, potlucks, or easy dinners when it’s too warm to cook!
Why This Recipe Works
- The combination of sweet, juicy strawberries with tangy balsamic vinegar makes for the best homemade dressing.
- Chickpeas are one of the BEST healthy vegetarian proteins to use in salads.
- This recipe is super customizable. Make this salad as is, or use it as a guide in creating your new summer favorite.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- strawberries – Since strawberries are really the star of the show here, be sure to buy the best, ripest looking ones you can find! If the strawberries aren’t great and are lacking in flavor, your salad will be lacking in flavor, too.
- chickpeas – Makes this salad filling without the effort of preparing or grilling another protein style. Just open a can of chickpeas, rinse them and sprinkle them in to your salad. Easy as can be!
- kale – I really prefer using lacinato kale in this recipe because it’s a heartier green that holds its shape well, but green spinach will also work wonderfully!
- arugula – Gives this salad a bit of a spicy, peppery kick that balances the sweetness of the strawberries and beets so nicely! Substitute with additional kale/spinach if desired!
- red onion – Diced red onion gives this salad the perfect crispy crunch and sharpness. There’s nothing quite like raw red onions on salad!
How to Make the Homemade Dressing
Although you could absolutely swap out this homemade strawberry balsamic for a store-bought dressing, there is nothing quite like the freshness and satisfaction of whipping one up at home.
Plus, any guests you serve this salad to will be all the more impressed!
Not only is making it fresh impressive, it’s unbelievably easy, creamy and vegan.
To make, all you need is a blender and these key ingredients:
- fresh strawberries
- balsamic vinegar
- avocado oil
- dijon mustard
- maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
Salad Variation Ideas
Although I love this salad as is, you can customize it to your liking! Below I’ve listed a few ideas for swaps or additions you can make to make this salad your own:
- sliced avocado (for additional creaminess!)
- chopped pecans or slivered almonds (a nice hearty crunch and source of healthy fats)
- spinach (in place of kale or arugula)
- green lentils or quinoa (in place of the chickpeas)
- hemp hearts (a little added nutrition!)
Step by Step Instructions
- Prepare the salad dressing by simply adding all ingredients to a blender and blending until smooth.
- Add the chopped kale to a large serving bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over top the kale and with clean, dry hands, massage the kale for a couple minutes until brightened in color and slightly softened.
This makes the kale much easier to digest and more palatable.
- Add the arugula, chickpeas, diced beets, strawberries, and red onion in with the kale.
- Pour the salad dressing overtop the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately!
Yes! If preparing this salad in advance, simply store all of the ingredients in the refrigerator in separate containers. When ready to serve, add to a large serving bowl and drizzle with salad dressing right before enjoying. Be sure to give the salad dressing a good shake if it’s been refrigerated overnight.
Cooking beets at home can be a little daunting and time consuming. If I am cooking them at home, I usually opt for this Instant Pot beets method. However, to make this salad super quick and meal prep friendly, I like to buy pre-packaged beets by the brand Love Beets from Costco.
This strawberry balsamic will last about 1 week in the refrigerator.
What to Serve This Salad With
With the inclusion of chickpeas, I find this salad pretty hearty on its own and can certainly be served as a main dish. However, if you are serving this as a side salad or appetizer, try these vegan ideas for serving:
- Vegan Cheesy Garlic Bread (Pull Apart Bread!)
- Vegan Zucchini Fritters
- Grilled Corn with Sriracha Aioli
- Veggie Burger
More Healthy Summer Salads and Sandwiches to Try
- Tangy Vegan Cucumber Salad
- Vegan Santa Fe Salad
- Easy Vegan Tofu Bánh Mì with Quick Pickle Recipe
- Chickpea Avocado Salad Sandwich
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Summer Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing
Summer Strawberry Salad
- ½ lemon juiced
- 4 cups tuscan kale or lacinato kale
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 (15.5) can chickpeas drained and thoroughly rinsed
- 2 cups fresh strawberries hulled and halved
- 2 cups beetroot diced
- ¼ cup red onion diced
- Remove the stems of the tuscan kale and chop it into bite sized pieces.
- Add kale to a large bowl and squeeze the juice from the lemon over top. Massage the kale until it is soft and tender, about 1 minute. The kale will break down a bit and reduce in volume. This will help make it more palatable and easier to digest.
- Once your kale is tender, add in the arugula, chickpeas, strawberries, beetroot, and red onion.
- Drizzle the dressing overtop and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Strawberry Balsamic Dressing Instructions
- Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender until completely smooth.
- If making this salad ahead, store all ingredients separately. Prepare salad right before serving.
- Ingredients will keep separately for about 3-4 days.
- Once salad is tossed in dressing it is best consumed immediately or within a day.
- This salad is very customizable. Use it as a guide and adjust amounts of ingredients to your preference.
- Serving size and nutrition information is if this salad is enjoyed as a main dish. If serving as a side, this salad will serve 8 and nutritional information would need to be adjusted accordingly.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
This recipe was originally published on May 12, 2020 and was republished on June 22, 2021 to include an improved written recipe, ingredient notes, step by step instructions with photos, FAQs, expert tips and new recipe photos.