Recipes > Spinach Salad w/ Goat Cheese and a Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad W/ Goat Cheese And A Maple Walnut Vinaigrette


Spinach, walnuts and goat cheese served with a warm maple Dijon and walnut vinaigrette.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Views: 46,239
  • Success Rating: 98% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Vinaigrette

Making the Vinaigrette
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 7 tbsp walnut vinegar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil*
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper


To start the vinigrette, first puree the shallot and garlic. Then add the Dijon and pulse briefly. Next, add the vinegar, maple syrup, grape seed oil, salt and pepper and blend to combine.

Note: You can substitute half of the grapeseed oil with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.

This vinaigrette will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.

Step 2: Assembling the Salad

Assembling the Salad
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh goat cheese


To assemble the salad, first clean and dry the spinach. Clean the mushrooms and trim off the ends. Thinly slice. The mushrooms can either be added to the salad raw or they can sautéed first, if you prefer. Likewise, for the walnuts, they can either be toasted first or they can be added to the salad raw. Either way, just give them a rough chop.

Next, heat the vinaigrette over low heat. As the vinaigrette warms up, crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Once the vinaigrette has just warmed through, pour it over the salad and gently toss. Lastly, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

This salad is at its best right after it has been tossed so be sure to serve it immediately.

Chef's Notes

The warm dressing slightly melts the goat cheese, coating the mushrooms and spinach.


  • Manel A
    Manel A
    Spinachs are traditional on my daily cooking in spanish winter. My father grow them in an echological way. This recipe has been an interesting new way to present them. Although my sons found the flavour it a bit hard, the truth is that it was worth it. I changed grape seed oil with virgin oil and some fresh white winter grapes. Tha plate was grate. The tast has to be educated. Thanks!
  • Sheila P
    Sheila P
    Where would I look for walnut vinegar. I looked in the vinegar section of Safeway and could not find. Do I need to go to a specialty store. I will be making this recipe over and over. S
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    A specialty store is usually your best bet, but many stores are carrying more exotic vinegars these days. Best bet is to phone around before you go out, to see if any stores carry what you are looking for. Italian delis, small cheese shops and local healthy food type stores tend to carry things like this. And of course there is always the online world where all of this stuff is available...though you are probably like me, when I want it...I want it now.
  • Jorge A
    Jorge A
    My wife does not like goat cheese. What other type of cheese would you recommend? Jorge
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    I would say experiment, start with some of the cheeses that your wife does like. Maybe try something soft and creamy, that is similar in texture to the goat cheese, but it doesn't have to be. Cheers!
  • Nyta E
    Nyta E
    Am having special dinner party next week and decided to try the salad ahead of time. It took research to find the walnut vinegar, but was well worth the cost and time. The wonderful underlining taste of the vinegar and maple syrup was exceptional. I was going to use olive oil, but found grape seed oil in the market. Also pricey, but worth it. I am afraid olive oil would be to heavy. I also was afraid of using raw mushrooms, but again was surprised how much they added to the salad. The goat cheese melted into the salad and gave it a creamy taste. So glad I tried it before hand. I will make this salad over and over again.
  • Mikell B
    Mikell B
    Couldn't find walnut vinegar, so we used apple cider vinegar instead. That dressing was off the hook!
  • Karyn P
    Karyn P
    I couldn't find the walnut vinegar either. Will try the apple cider vinegar instead. Thanks for posting that!
  • Maria K
    Maria K
    I would like to ask for your help for us not living in the US,and cooks or chefs working all over the world,please do something adout this cup measurment.I need to know how many pounds or kilos in order to buy the ingredients according to the number of people I have to cook for.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    While this is a very popular subject on Rouxbe (just type in "measurements" and you will see many other threads on this), it is not something that we have planned for the near future - only because of so many other higher priority items at this time. I know, sorry :-( There are however many sites with conversion tools that you might find helpful. There are even quite a few cooking conversion apps available. I know that when I went to culinary school they used to mix up all of the measurements on purpose just to train our brains to always be thinking. That way if we travelled or worked somewhere where the measurements were different, we would not be totally lost. That does not mean that I remember them all today but I try to :-) Cheers!
  • Hsiao hui W
    Hsiao hui W
    I don't have walnut vinegar here but I do have walnut oil. Can I just use white wine vinegar ( or other kind you think will go better) and replace grape seed oil with walnut oil?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hello- Here at Rouxbe, we want you to gain confidence in the kitchen. Your intuition for how to add the walnut flavor (even if you were missing an ingredient) is perfect! We believe in trial and error, learning through experience and trusting your own palate. Great work!
  • Diana  S
    Diana S
    What are good substitutions for walnut vinegar? Tried a couple of speciality stores but to no avail.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    While there really are no substitutes for walnut vinegar, this vinaigrette can be made with regular white wine vinegar instead. Since the salad also contains walnuts, you will still achieve that walnut flavor. That being said, online is often a good source for those hard-to-find ingredients. Cheers, Dawn
  • Cami B
    Cami B
    Interestingly walnut oil seems more readily available than walnut vinegar...would that work with a white wine vinegar?
  • Lauren L
    Lauren L
    Hey Cami. Thanks for your question. Your instincts are correct. You can use walnut oil and white wine vinegar here and it will work just fine. See the above comments as you are not alone in this challenge! Keep on cooking. Lauren
  • Sunnie S
    Sunnie S
    The vinaigrette was delicious - even with the substitution of champagne vinegar (I could not find walnut vinegar). I do want to make this again with the walnut vinegar (or at least walnut oil) to see how that extra walnut flavor changes the overall taste. Salad was good, but I went a little crazy with the goat cheese (added too much). I will make this salad again but will be sure to only use 1 cup of goat cheese (yes, you can actually have too much cheese) and will try to saute the mushrooms as the raw mushrooms weren't my favorite.
  • Cheryl D
    Cheryl D
    This vinaigrette is amazing! I cannot get enough of it. I sauteed the mushrooms, which, in my opinion, enhanced the salad even more. I will definitely put this salad in my repertoire!
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Yay Cheryl! It's so nice to hear you are enjoying it. Happy cooking! Cheers, Sandy

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