Fresh Spinach Salad with Pesto dressing

Best Spinach Salad with Easy Pesto Dressing

In Mains, Sides by sarawalkenbach2 Comments

Whether you’re tired of the same old salad, or looking for a flavorful side dish, this Spinach Salad with Easy Pesto Dressing is the perfect recipe. It’s crunchy, creamy, and full of flavor.

Why This Easy Recipe Works

Let’s face it, a salad is made by the dressing. If your dressing is lack-luster, then your salad is eh. We’re not making “eh” salads here, people! Without a doubt, we’re making bright-full-of-flavor-crunchy salads that make you say “oh ya” like the Kool-Aid Man.

Above all, pesto is one of the top 5 flavor bombs. It brings a punch of herby delight. Therefore, Pesto mixed with a little acidity makes a perfect dressing for this spinach salad. So, throw in some crunchy cucs, ripe tomatoes, and briny feta and you will have a salad your friends will beg you to bring to the next get together.

Spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, goat cheese, and pumpkin seeds make this salad a favorite.
Crunchy, creamy, fresh Spinach Salad with Pesto Dressing.

The Spinach Salad Components

As with any salad, there are many options to make this salad your own. But to get all the textures and flavor, here’s what I suggest:

The Spinach (or your favorite greens)-

Spinach holds up great to this Pesto Dressing. It’s also rich in nutrients and has oodles of health benefits. But feel free to throw in any green in the mix like kale, arugula, or romaine. If you can’t decide, then do a blend of both!

If you like this recipe, you’ll also love my Arugula Salad with Lemony Mint Dressing.

The Protein-

If serving as a side salad, then there is no need for a protein. However, if you are making this the main dish, add in something that will stick with you. Here are some options:

  • Rotisserie Chicken: it’s easy, it’s already prepared, it’s delicious
  • Leftovers from the Grill: steak or pork chops go great with pesto
  • Beans: chickpeas, cannellini, navy, black eyed peas, great northern are all good options
  • Fish: shrimp or salmon pair wonderfully with pesto
Fresh spinach, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, olives, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and pesto dressing are the ingredients for this Spinach Salad.
A few handful of fresh veggies, tangy cheese, briny olives, crunchy seeds, and an easy homemade dressing makes this salad oh so tasty!

This Pesto Spinach Salad pairs wonderful with my Artichoke Chicken dish.

The Veg-

Furthermore, most veggies pair nicely with pesto too. Fresh herbs and cheese are their perfect match for your plate. For example, these are my favorites for this salad:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers – the English ones are the best
  • Artichoke Hearts

The Fat-

Yes, you need fat, healthy fat that is, in your diet. Make sure to add them to your salad, otherwise you’ll feel hungry quicker, and sad…because fat is so good! I like to add in a cheese or avocado for a little bit of the good stuff. Choose one of the following for this salad:

  • Goat Cheese: so creamy, tangy and delicious
  • Feta Cheese: briny, salty, and perfect on a salad
  • Mozzarella Cheese: mild, soft and great with pesto
  • Avocado: creamy, and packed full of nutrients
  • Olives: briny and delicious, go for the Castelvetrano green olives

The Crunch-

Additionally, you gotta have crunch in a salad! Yes, cucumbers offer a great crunch, as do nuts or seeds. Yes, nuts fall in line with healthy fats, but a little bit more won’t hurt. All in moderation, right?

  • Pine Nuts: typically, in pesto, makes a lovely compliment
  • Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds: always a great salad topper
  • Pistachios: life (and salads) are better with these nuts
Only 3 ingredients in this yummy dressing: pesto, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Only 3 ingredients in this quick and easy pesto dressing.

Looking for something sweet, try Fudgy Brownie Bites.

The Easy Pesto Dressing

You will want leftovers of this tasty dressing. Therefore, consider doubling or tripling this recipe.

There are only 3 ingredients in this easy dressing. So, put ’em in a bowl and whisk together. It’s that easy.

  • Pesto: store bought or homemade
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice: always use fresh, that stuff in the plastic lemon is wonky

If you aren’t a big lemon fan, then sub the lemon juice for white wine vinegar or white balsamic.

Another easy recipe is Double Chocolate Cherry Energy Balls, chocolatey and delicious.

Spinach Salad with Pesto Dressing Pairs Well With…

Evidently, this Spinach Salad pairs well with just about anything: hamburgers, pizza, surf or turf, lasagna, you name it! It also goes great with this Chicken Burgers in Pita Pocket recipe.

What Else Can You Use the Pesto Dressing For?

As I have said, make enough of the dressing for leftovers! Whether it’s another Spinach Salad or one of these ideas:

  • Drizzle over grilled or oven roasted veggies
  • Mix in Greek Yogurt for a creamy dip
  • Kick up your rice or quinoa game by mixing in some of this dressing
  • Pair with cooked shrimp for an easy app
  • Put a bit on your hard boiled egg
  • Swap out the salsa for pesto and cheddar for mozz in this Quiche recipe.
  • A sandwich spread
Easy 3 ingredient dressing in a jar.
This pesto dressing can go on so much more than salads.

If you’re looking for an easy app, then try Bite-Size Goat Cheese Balls. They’re tangy and delicious.

Leftover Pesto

If you can’t finish your jar of pesto within the expiration date, then freeze it! Use smaller Tupperware or snack size zip top bags to portion out the pesto. Freezer for up to 6 months.

More Delicious Salad Recipes

Crunchy Tex Mex Salad

Arugula Salad with Lemon Mint Dressing

Berry Avocado Almond Salad

Carrot Ribbon Salad

Apple & Feta Salad with Cinnamon Maple Dressing

5 Healthy Salad Dressings

thyme branch

Thanks for reading along. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you would like more healthy recipes like this one sent right to your inbox, sign up for my Recipe Drops. They’re always FREE.

spinach salad with pesto dressing plated

Best Spinach Salad with Easy Pesto Dressing

Sara Walkenbach
This pesto dressing is so versatile. Use it in this salad, on top of grilled veggies, eggs, rice, you name it!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 100 kcal


  • 2 cups Fresh Spinach
  • 1 cup Cherry or Grape Tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 cup English Cucumber chopped
  • 1/4 cup Feta, Mozzarella or Goat Cheese or diced Avocado or Olives
  • 2 tbsp Nuts or Seeds such as pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or pistachios

Easy Pesto Dressing

  • 1 tbsp Pesto homemade or store bought
  • 1 tsp Olive of Avocado Oil
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 pinch Salt optional


  • Put all Pesto Dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk -or- mason jar with lid and shake. Set aside.
  • On a large plate, serving bowl or individual bowls (depending if it’s an entree or side salad) place spinach. Top with tomatoes and cucumbers. Then add cheese (or avocado/olives). Drizzle with dressing and top with nuts/seeds.
  • Enjoy!



Calories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 247mgPotassium: 228mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1947IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg
Keyword easy pesto dressing, spinach salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


5 from 1 vote

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