7 ingredients | 30 minutes | This summer salad has avocados, spinach, cherry tomatoes, radishes, cotija cheese, finished with a lemony vinaigrette. It is the perfect accompaniment to any summer cookout!
Quick, look around the house. Do you have a bunch of avocados on the counter, but you’re not sure what to do with them? Well. Same. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my avocado toast and spicy guacamole like nothing else, but once in a while, I get a craving for a summer salad. So, here we are.
🥗 Ingredients & variations
This spinach and avocado salad uses a super simple recipe with just seven ingredients, so picking the freshest produce and being thoughtful is important. This is especially true for some of the produce.
Spinach: You’ll want to pick baby spinach – ideally fresh and triple washed. If at all possible, please try to buy organic spinach. Recent federal data showed that conventional spinach has more pesticide residue by weight than all other produce tested. It was even found to contain trace quantities of DDT, a chemical that was abolished in the 70s! Just goes to show how much soil health really matters.
Cherry Tomatoes: Love cherry tomatoes because they’re sweet, and bring a rich note to the salad – you can substitute with strawberries in a pinch.
Avocado: Pick avocados that are soft to squeeze, but not mushy. Scoop out any brown bits and discard them before slicing. To get the avocado in neat slices, first remove the pit. Then, slice the avocado into half. Slice each half vertically. Then you can either remove the skin, and slice vertically, or you can slice vertically into smaller slices and then remove the skin.
Radish: I love adding radishes to my summer salad (or any avocado salad) since they offer a nice crunch to the dish without having the potency of red onions. But you can substitute this with red onions in a pinch. If you do use red onions, try to slice them really thin and just drop them in water for a few minutes while you prep the rest of the salad!
To slice radishes, I typically chop off the edges and use the straight cuts on my box grater (you can also use a mandolin slicer). Alternatively, you can just use a small paring knife to thinly slice them into rounds.
Cotija cheese: I love this addition to any fresh summer salad. It brings a nice pop of flavor and contrast without overpowering the dish. If you want the same flavors, but can’t find cotija, feta works great. You can use almost any soft cheese, but if you want a stronger cheese flavor, you can even add blue cheese or gorgonzola. If you’re vegan, you can leave it out.
Dressing: For a simple dressing, I just use 2 tbsp of olive oil, mixed with 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (note: it has to be fresh!) and then add salt and pepper to the salad. If you want to take it up a notch, you should try my poached garlic green goddess dressing with parsley – game changer.
For other variations, you can also consider adding corn, toasted pepitas, or fresh herbs like dill and cilantro depending on the direction you want to take this salad. Keeping it simple typically works though!
🍴 Serving suggestions & storage
You can make this avocado salad up to a couple of hours before serving – but slice the avocados right before you serve! If you’re wondering how to keep the avocado from browning, I typically try to squeeze some of the lemon juice directly on the avocado before I add the rest to the salad. Citrus contains antioxidants, preventing the avocado from browning too much.
To avoid the avocados getting mushy in the salad, I typically tend to add them last. You can either toss the rest of the ingredients together using tongs, and then add the avocados, or gently just shake the bowl and transfer to a serving platter to make sure they’re well mixed.
If you end up using the green goddess dressing, I suggest adding it on at the very end – about two tablespoons should be sufficient. This adds a really herbal note to the salad and brings a pop of freshness that’s hard to beat!
I don’t recommend storing leftovers for this salad because the textures tend to change overnight. But you could totally store it in an airtight container. The avocados and vegetables will become softer, but they’ll still taste delicious. Add a squirt of fresh lemon and give it a stir before serving.
If you love this salad, you might also enjoy these other light recipes:
This spinach and avocado summer salad has cherry tomatoes, radishes, cotija cheese and is finished with a lemony vinaigrette. Perfect for summer cookouts! Replace dressing with my green goddess dressing for upscaling this simple salad with little effort.
- 1/2 bag of organic spinach (read post about why you should consider going organic for spinach)
- 1 ripe avocado (sliced into thin vertical pieces)
- 8–10 cherry tomatoes
- 4–5 radishes (sliced into thin rounds)
- Small wedge of cotija cheese
- 2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Wash the baby spinach and set aside
- Slice the radishes into thin rounds (see post for step-by-step)
- Grate the cotija cheese
- Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil
- Slice the avocado into thin slices (see post for step-by-step to keep the shape!)
- Assemble the salad with the spinach base; followed by radishes and cherry tomatoes; then cotija cheese and finally avocados
- Drizzle the vinaigrette on the salad, then add salt and pepper, and gently transfer to a serving bowl
- Replace the lemony vinaigrette with a delicious poached garlic and parsley Green Goddess dressing!
- You can replace a number of items with other things – read the post for a list of substitutions
- To make it vegan, simply leave out the cotija cheese.
- Category: Salad
- Method: No Cook
- Cuisine: American