Home » Kitchen » Vegetable + Salad Recipes » Spinach and Nectarine Salad with Basil Dressing

Spinach and Nectarine Salad with Basil Dressing

This Spinach Salad with Nectarines + Basil Dressing is quintessentially summer. The tang of the nectarines plays perfectly with basil’s herby, subtle peppery, and minty taste. The salad is topped with crunchy, toasted walnuts and a sprinkle of earthy gorgonzola.

Sometimes my best recipes are a result of happenstance. I had a bunch of just ripe nectarines and a bounty of fresh basil that I needed to use. In the tastebuds of my mind, those two flavors really needed to go together, and a fresh summery salad was the perfect opportunity.

why this will become your new favorite salad!

Balanced Flavors: This salad brings together a delightful balance of flavors. The sweetness and slight tartness of the fresh nectarines complement the slightly bitter taste of the spinach. The sharp, creamy tanginess of the gorgonzola cheese balances the sweetness of the fruit, while the toasted walnuts add a savory and earthy crunch. The basil vinaigrette adds a fresh, herbaceous note, creating a harmonious flavor profile.

Texture Variety: The different ingredients provide a variety of textures. There’s the crunch from the toasted walnuts, the creamy crumbled gorgonzola, the juicy nectarines, and the crisp spinach. This makes every bite interesting and enjoyable.

Nutritious: This salad is as nutritious as it is delicious. Spinach is rich in vitamins and iron, nectarines provide vitamin C and fiber, gorgonzola cheese adds protein and calcium, while walnuts contribute healthy fats and protein. It’s a well-rounded, healthy dish that doesn’t compromise on flavor.

Seasonal and Fresh: This salad takes advantage of fresh, in-season produce, which often tastes the best. Fresh spinach and nectarines at their peak provide the most flavor.

Quick and Easy: Despite its gourmet appeal, this salad is easy to prepare. It requires no complicated techniques or obscure ingredients, making it a perfect choice for a quick lunch, dinner, or impressive dish to share at gatherings.

Versatility: This salad is versatile and can be enjoyed as a light meal on its own or as a side dish with grilled meat, fish, or pasta dish.

Visually Appealing: The vibrant green spinach, bright nectarines, creamy white gorgonzola, and toasty walnuts make for a visually stunning dish. As they say, “We eat first with our eyes,” and this salad is sure to impress!

Are you sold yet?

Spinach and Nectarine Salad in a white bowl with nectarines, basil and basil vinaigrette in the background.

ingredients in spinach and nectarine salad

  • Fresh Spinach: Spinach is packed with nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, iron, and calcium. Choose fresh spinach with vibrant deep green leaves without any signs of wilting, yellowing, or sliminess, which can indicate decay. Rinse it thoroughly before use to remove any dirt or grit.
  • Fresh Nectarines: Nectarines are similar to peaches but have smooth skin. They add a sweet and slightly tart flavor to the salad. Choose nectarines that are slightly firm but yield to gentle pressure. The skin should be vibrant in color and free from blemishes or soft spots. Wash them well and slice them just before you’re ready to assemble the salad to avoid browning.
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese: Gorgonzola is a blue-veined Italian cheese that can range from mild to sharp depending on its age. It has a rich, creamy, slightly tangy flavor that complements the sweetness of the nectarines and the bitterness of the spinach. Crumble it just before adding it to the salad to maintain its freshness.
  • Toasted Walnuts: Toasting the walnuts enhances their natural nutty flavor and adds a delightful crunch to the salad. You can toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant or in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes. Be sure to let them cool before adding them to the salad to prevent wilting the spinach.
  • Basil Vinaigrette: This basil vinaigrette will add a fresh herby note to this and any salad. It contains fresh basil leaves with olive oil, sherry or Champagne vinegar, fresh garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Make the Basil Salad Dressing ahead of time and let it chill in the fridge to allow the flavors to meld. Dress the salad just before serving to avoid wilting the spinach.
basil vinaigrette with fresh basil.

Remember, the quality of your ingredients can make a significant difference in your salad. Always opt for the freshest produce and the highest quality cheeses and nuts when possible. Enjoy your Spinach Nectarine Salad!

how to clean spinach

Many packages of spinach are pre-washed. However, if your spinach has not already been washed, you’ll want to do that before making this Spinach and Nectarine Salad. Thoroughly washing spinach before using it in a salad is crucial to remove any dirt, grit, or potential pesticides. Here’s how to properly wash spinach:

  1. Fill a Basin: Fill a large basin or clean sink with cold water.
  2. Soak the Spinach: Add the spinach and swish it around with your hands. This helps loosen and remove any dirt or grit that may be clinging to the leaves.
  3. Wait a Moment: Let the spinach sit in the water for a minute or two. This allows any remaining dirt to sink to the bottom of the basin or sink.
  4. Remove the Spinach: Lift the spinach out of the water and place it in a colander. Try to lift it from the water rather than pouring everything into the colander, as the latter can just redistribute the dirt back onto the spinach.
  5. Rinse: After removing the spinach from the soaking water, give it a final rinse under running water in the colander to ensure it’s completely clean.
  6. Dry the Spinach: It’s essential to dry the spinach leaves before using them in a salad, as excess water can dilute the dressing and make the salad soggy. You can dry the leaves using a salad spinner, or by gently patting them dry with a clean towel or paper towels.

Always remember to handle the spinach gently to avoid bruising or damaging the leaves.

Spinach and Nectarine Salad in a white bowl with nectarines, basil and basil vinaigrette in the background.

Spinach and Nectarine Salad

lynn
This Spinach Salad with Nectarines + Basil Dressing is quintessentially summer. The tang of the nectarines plays perfectly with basil’s herby, subtle peppery, and minty taste. The salad is topped with crunchy, toasted walnuts and a sprinkle of earthy gorgonzola.
No ratings yet
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Course Vegetable + Salad Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 412 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 5- ounce bag baby spinach about 5 packed cups
  • 2 ripe nectarines washed well
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or walnut pieces
  • Basil Vinaigrette

Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1 1/2 packed cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 small garlic clove cut it 2-4 pieces
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or Champagne vinegar
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper

Instructions
 

Spinach and Nectarine Salad

  • If the spinach has not been washed, wash it well and then dry it. See Notes below for tips
  • Wash nectarines well.
  • Toast walnuts in a preheated 350°F (180°C) for 7-10 minutes. Watch them closely as they go from done to burnt in a NY second! Set aside to cool.
  • Add fresh spinach to a large salad bowl.
  • Right before serving, slice the nectarines into 12-16 thin wedge slices, and add them to the spinach.
  • Crumble the gorgonzola and walnuts over the top and drizzle with Basil Vinaigrette.

Basil Vinaigrette

  • Add all ingredients to the bowl of a small, high-powered food processor or blender and process until smooth, about 60 seconds.
  • Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.

Notes

How to Wash Fresh Spinach
Many packages of spinach are pre-washed. However, if your spinach has not already been washed, you'll want to do that. Thoroughly washing spinach before using it in a salad is crucial to remove any dirt, grit, or potential pesticides. Here's how to properly wash spinach:
  1. Fill a Basin: Fill a large basin or clean sink with cold water.
  2. Soak the Spinach: Add the spinach and swish it around with your hands. This helps loosen and remove any dirt or grit that may be clinging to the leaves.
  3. Wait a Moment: Let the spinach sit in the water for a minute or two. This allows any remaining dirt to sink to the bottom of the basin or sink.
  4. Remove the Spinach: Lift the spinach out of the water and place it in a colander. Try to lift it from the water rather than pouring everything into the colander, as the latter can just redistribute the dirt back onto the spinach.
  5. Rinse: After removing the spinach from the soaking water, give it a final rinse under running water in the colander to ensure it's completely clean.
  6. Dry the Spinach: It's essential to dry the spinach leaves before using them in a salad, as excess water can dilute the dressing and make the salad soggy. You can dry the leaves using a salad spinner, or by gently patting them dry with a clean towel or paper towels.
Always remember to handle the spinach gently to avoid bruising or damaging the leaves.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 412kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 10gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 472mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8g
Keyword nectarine, salad, spinach, summer
Well, what did you think?Please rate this recipe here! It helps other readers and also helps to support our site.

Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer to back to this Spinach and Nectarine Salad in the future.

Spinach and Nectarine Salad in a white bowl with nectarines, basil and basil vinaigrette in the background.
Thanks so much for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me!

To ensure you don’t miss future content, pop your email in the pale green box on the right or click here. I usually send one email weekly, so I won’t inundate your inbox. I’m sensitive to an overflowing email inbox!  

We will only use your email address to send you emails, no more than 1-2 weekly. In addition, you will have access to my growing library of knit & crochet patterns and other printables. Check back often as this library will continue to grow.   You can unsubscribe anytime by emailing me or clicking on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of all emails.

And you can access many of the products I refer to on my Nourish and Nestle Amazon Page. You can access it here.

So, if you’d like to participate in the ‘subscriber benefit’ action, simply subscribe to Nourish and Nestle here or use the form on the right sidebar. It’s slightly towards the top.

I have sent all my subscribers the link to the Subscriber Benefits Library. If you missed it or misplaced it, let me know.

Until next time…

Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

Similar Posts

2 Comments

  1. Hmmm. This sounds like pesto sauce with extra olive oil and vinegar to turn it into the yummiest dressing. Thx for the idea. I’ve just made a batch of pesto for a pasta dinner and was wondering what to do with the leftover pesto. Freezing is always an option but nothing beats using it fresh.

    1. Oh Rita,
      That’s a great idea! In fact, now you’ve got my mind spinning now! You could make pesto cubes and then have that basil vinaigrette year round! It is so delicious.

      Enjoy!

      Lynn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating