How was your 4th of July? Full of good food, fire works and festivities, I hope? In keeping with tradition, I spent the day with my family at a tiny lake outside of small town Stillwater, Oklahoma. It is a classic all-American celebration, complete with a horseshoe tournament, egg toss, and three-legged race, which are enjoyed by barefoot, grinning little kids and adults alike.
Like most Americans, I overindulged in potato chips and beer yesterday, so today seems prime for sharing a delightful, guilt-free summer salad. Simple and sweet, it’s easy to toss together in just a few minutes. The toasted walnuts really send it over the top!
Sweet and Spicy Walnuts
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup walnuts 1x
- Category: Snack
A light and summery strawberry spinach salad with sweet and spicy walnuts, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- ground sea salt to taste
- Cook nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they are lightly toasted and fragrant. Add butter. Stir until the better has melted and coated the nuts. Stir in the maple syrup, cayenne, cinnamon and salt.
- Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated and the nuts are well coated. This should only take a couple of minutes. Be sure to remove from heat the second the liquid seems to have cooked down, because the mixture will burn quickly. Pour the walnuts onto a plate or into a bowl and allow to cool before tossing them on your salad.
- Adapted from Care2.
- This yields enough walnuts for at least two salads, but you can easily double or triple the recipe and store the nuts in a covered container for later. One cup of walnuts may seem like plenty, but I scarfed them all down within 24 hours. Oops!
▸ Nutrition Information
To assemble the salad, toss fresh spinach with a drizzle of balsamic oil and olive oil. Add sliced strawberries, crumbled goat cheese and sweet and spicy walnuts. Note that both spinach and strawberries are on the “dirty dozen” list for pesticide contamination, so buy organic if you can.
I love spinach salads! I made a red, white and blue one that had blueberries, strawberries and feta with Brianna’s Strawberry Vinaigrette. I think that dressing would go great with this salad too. I like your idea of spicing up the walnuts since I’m a fan of adding them to salads but usually just toast them and call it good. Your 4th of July sounds like fun!
Great idea! Your salad sounds delicious and festive. Hope you had a great 4th, Heather!
I adore the combination of spinach, fruit, cheese, and candied nuts… this salad looks amazing!
sounds like u had a great 4th of july celebration! what a delicious salad! it’s hard to get organic strawbs or spinach around where i live…mb i should grow them on my balcony!
I’ve yet to try strawberries in a salad and guess what I think your recipe will be the one to try.
I can really see myself tucking into it and enjoying every mouthful, thanks so much for sharing.
Heidi @ Food Doodles
That looks beautiful! I love strawberries over a spinach salad but those walnuts sound amazing. Yum :)
What a beautiful salad! We have such great strawberries right now so I’m going to have to try this. I love your website!
This looks devine. Strawberries are one of my favourite berries and low in sugar too as a bonus. And the walnuts. A meal packed full of nutrition. Great for lunch
that salad looks fabulous. i love the mix of sweet, savory and spicy! and your pictures are beautiful!
This looks fantastic… beautiful recipe!
I made a similar salad – which I found to be delicious. Basically, used mixed greens and added candied pecans, sliced strawberries and feta cheese. Then i topped it off with an organic raspberry dressing. I’m not a big fan of fruit on my salad but I approve this salad combo.
I make a new salad each week for lunch and eat it the entire week, this is the salad I’m eating this week. Just made the walnuts and my house smells fantastic!! I had to stop myself from nibbling on them so as to actually have some to put on the salad.
I can’t resist those sweet and spicy nuts, either! So good. Glad you like the salad. :)
Delicious salad! I’ve added toasted walnuts to salad before, but these definitely take it up a notch. Thank you!
Thank you, Gwyn!
Just made your spiced walnuts and added them to our salad. They are so easy to make and taste delicious. Not sure if the remaining will last the night.
Wonderful! Thank you, Kathy for your review.
Just made this and it was excellent! I was disappointed to not see spinach, goat cheese, strawberries or dressing listed in the ingredients to know how much to have per serving though.
Hooray! I’m glad you loved it. I’m sorry, Kristin, that you were disappointed. This was an older recipe where I was still working on my formatting. Thanks for the feedback!
The recipe for Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts ONLY has the recipe for the walnuts, not for the salad! I’m giving it 5 stars for the fabulous walnuts, but need the salad recipe.
You don’t have a dressing or how much spinach or strawberries. Help
The recipe only has ingredients and directions for the walnuts. Nothing about the spinach salad or dressing. Help!
The recipe covers the walnuts but nothing about the spinach and strawberry part of the salad.
Hi Lindsay, I apologize. This is a very old recipe. Looks like something happened and I need to revisit.
The recipe ingredients don’t include the cheese. (FYI) It looks fantastic and can’t wait to make it. I haven’t made it yet so can’t give a recipe rating.