A simple strawberry salad that’s just that—a true strawberry salad. Most recipes out there are for the classic spinach salad with strawberries, goat cheese, and almonds. Not this one.. This strawberry salad recipe is all about enhancing the vibrant, juicy ruby red fruit! 

Why This Recipe Works

For starters, it’s as simple as can be. And secondly, each of the ingredients works to enhance the star of the show—ripe strawberries. Simply flavored with a splash of sweet and tangy white balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, this recipe is a great fruit salad option when you’re sick of classic fruit salad. 

strawberries, olive oil, vinegar, basil and maple syrup set out on a counter in white bowls

Ingredient Notes


Look for very ripe, juicy strawberries for the best results. If strawberries are out of season or under-ripe, we recommend skipping this recipe until they are at their peak. If they are in season and you have an influx of strawberries, here’s how we recommend you store them. If you don’t plan on using all of the fresh berries, consider freezing them

Olive Oil 

Just a splash of fruity olive oil takes fruit salad into side dish territory. It’s not much, just enough to make a nice vinaigrette and give the strawberries a nice mouthfeel. Use a robust, fruity olive oil for the best flavor. 

White Balsamic Vinegar 

A surprising ingredient that really turns this salad into something more than just a bowl full of berries. White balsamic is sweeter and more fruity than traditional balsamic and it adds a mild tang and oaky note.

Look for white balsamic vinegars sold near the other vinegars. We use it a lot here at ZK—so if you buy it we have recipes for you to put it to use in. Try it in our Kale Salad with Cherry and Brie or in the fall use it in our Harvest Cobb Salad.

Maple Syrup 

Depending on the strawberries you have, you may need to add a splash of maple syrup to bring out their sweetness. If you have exceptional in-season strawberries (like Harry’s Berries, IYKYK) then you may be able to skip the maple syrup. Let the strawberries be the guide. You can also use a pinch of sugar or honey, just be sure to whisk the honey into the oil and vinegar before adding to the strawberries or it won’t dissolve into the salad evenly. 

Salt and pepper 

A dash of kosher salt and some cracked black pepper are *chefs kiss.* this combined with the olive oil and vinegar really give this side dish vibes, You don’t need much of either, but we encourage you to season to taste right before serving. 


A few large leaves of basil go a long way in this salad. Simply chiffonade the basil (stack the leaves, roll tightly and slice thinly into shreds) and stir in right before serving. 

diced strawberries and chiffonade basil in a white bowl with spoon set in it

Test Kitchen Tips

  • For some added texture, use flaky sea salt instead of kosher salt. Or add a few teaspoons of poppy seeds!
  • If you’ve got pink peppercorns hanging out in your pantry—this would be a great place to use them. Use cracked pink peppercorns instead of cracked black pepper for a warm floral flavor.
  • If you want a mixed-berry salad, use a combination of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. 


  • If you want more of a fruit salad side dish type of recipe, consider adding some blueberries and blackberries to the mix.
  • Finely dice the strawberries and serve as a salsa over grilled chicken.
  • Swap the balsamic vinaigrette for a sweet and tang poppyseed dressing. Some fresh lemon juice or lemon zest would also be good.
diced strawberries and chiffonade basil in a white bowl with spoon set in it


Can I make this ahead of time?

We don’t recommend making this ahead of time at all. once the strawberries have been cut, they should be served soon after. Otherwise, they start to soften and lose their juiciness.

Any other herbs or flavors I can add?

Instead of basil, try adding some fresh thyme or mined fresh rosemary. And for an added citrusy note, add some grated orange zest to the mix. If you like a little crunch, toasted nuts such as pistachios or walnuts would be a good addition as would candied pecans. We also think finely diced jicama would be good!

Other Side Dish Recipes to Try

  • If you love a simple yet elevated fruit salad, then you’ve gotta try out Savory Citrus Salad. This one will surprise you!
  • We’ve also got a Simple Grape Salad that, you guessed it, is ALL about grapes. It’s herby, citrusy and so tasty!
  • If you like this recipe, you may like our Simple Celery Salad. Like this recipe, it celebrates and enhances the main produce!

Simple Strawberry Salad with Basil

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 4 servings (3 cups)
Category Salad/Side dish
Cuisine American


A sweet and tangy fruit salad side dish. In-season strawberries get paired with fresh basil and a very simple and minimal balsamic vinaigrette. Think an elevated fruit salad.


  • 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound strawberries, cut into ½-inch chunks (about 3 ½ cups)
  • 4 large basil leaves, chiffonade


  • In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, maple syrup, pepper and a pinch of salt.
  • Add strawberries and toss to coat.
  • Add basil and toss gently just to combine.


This salad is best served soon after making. We do not recommend making it ahead of time. Stored for more than a day in the fridge, this salad with weep and the strawberries will become soft and mushy.


Serving: 3/4 cupCalories: 60kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 2.5gSodium: 10mgFiber: 2.5gSugar: 6.5g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
diced strawberries and chiffonade basil in a white bowl with spoon set in it

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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