Summer Berry Salad with an Apple Cider Vinaigrette

This fresh and vibrant berry salad has become my go-to side dish for gatherings year-round.  It’s such a great recipe because it’s so easy to make with just a few, simple ingredients and it’s such a crowd pleaser too.  Not only do I like serving this when hosting a party at my house, I love to bring this as a side dish when going to someone else’s house.  I always feel like if I can bring a healthy salad, I can make almost any dinner work in spite of my food allergies and sensitivities.

Although berries are typically at their peak in the summer months, I love making this salad even in the fall and winter too.  Not only does it come together quickly, berries can now be found at grocery stores and farmers’ markets nearly any time of year.

This berry salad is perfect for a summer BBQ, just about any holiday, or even just as a healthy weekday side or even main dish with added protein. The best part is that the prep time is under 10 minutes – I simply wash the gorgeous berries and add them to mixed greens in a large serving bowl. This is one of the most beautiful salads – the brightly colored berries pop so well against the green lettuce.  The color combo makes for such a vibrant contrast and is a gorgeous addition to any food spread.

The sweet, juicy berries are the perfect addition to any summer lunch or potluck. I always get asked for the recipe! When washing the berries, I wash extra to make a beautiful fruit platter. I find that most kids gobble up the fresh berries, and it’s always a win in my book when kids eat fresh fruit and veggies with their meal. This salad goes with everything from grilled chicken and burgers to holiday gatherings. It’s one of my go-to dishes to bring for playdates and mom gatherings year-round.

summer berry salad
summer berry salad

Perfectly Sweet and Tangy Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is one of my favorites and really takes this fresh berry salad to the next level. I love making my own dressing with simple pantry staples instead of relying on store-bought. The combination of olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt makes the perfect homemade dressing for this salad. There is just something so delicious about a good homemade dressing.  The sweetness of the maple syrup pairs deliciously with the tang of the apple cider vinegar, it’s truly the perfect combination.

Complete Meal

This fresh berry salad is delicious on its own but can easily be transformed into a hearty main dish meal by adding avocado, nuts, cheese, and your choice of protein. I like to top my salad with sliced grilled chicken or steak. The berries also pair nicely with grilled salmon or shrimp. For those who can tolerate some dairy, creamy feta cheese or soft goat cheese add a wonderful creaminess and saltiness that complements the sweet berries. My personal favorite is to use Manchego, a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese.  Sheep’s and goat’s milk cheese are often easier to digest for some people with dairy sensitivities.   Blue cheese or shredded mozzarella would also make nice additions, if tolerated.

I sometimes even add thinly sliced fresh red onions and serve on the side.  My pro tip when serving onions this way is to soak them in cold water for about 15 minutes before serving, and this will remove the pungency. Serving with freshly sliced avocado lend the salad some healthy fats too. When serving this salad for a party, I always place the protein, cheese, nuts and avocado in small bowls on the side to allow guests to customize based on their dietary needs or preferences. These additions make the berry salad a gorgeous, complete and customizable main course meal for any occasion.

summer salad
summer berry salad with apple cider vinaigrette

What You Need to Make Berry Salad

  • Mixed greens – Baby spinach, arugula, baby greens, chopped lettuce, kale, spring mix, or really any other leafy greens or a combination work well in this recipe.  I like to use spring mix, because it’s ready to go straight out of the package and requires hardly any additional prep time.
  • Carrots – Another time saver is to use the pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store.  Sometimes I will also layer in some pre-shredded cabbage.  Of course, you can shred these on your own using a boxed grater or food processor. You can also add in any other fresh veggies of your liking.
  • Fresh Berries – I typically use fresh strawberries and blueberries but truly any berries taste wonderful in this salad.  Fresh raspberries or blackberries are some of my favorite additions too. Any other fresh fruit tastes great in this salad – mango slices, diced apples, or orange slices would also be good.  Pomegranate arils are a fun and seasonal addition for the fall and winter months.
  • Dried cherries – I like to buy the big bag of dried cherries from Costco.  You can also substitute dried cranberries, raisins, currants. 
  • Mixed nuts – I used salted and roasted mixed nuts.  But you can truly use any nuts you prefer or have on hand – walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds. You could add in some candied walnuts or candied pecans for a sweeter touch to this salad.

Dressing Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – My personal preference is to use olive oil, however avocado oil would also work.
  • Maple Syrup – Honey or agave would also make nice substitutes.  Although I prefer my salad free of refined sugar, you could use simple syrup made with regular or brown sugar to sweeten your dressing.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – The star of the show really is the apple cider vinaigrette, so I do recommend using that.  However, if you are in a bind and don’t have that on hand you could use balsamic vinegar to make a balsamic dressing.  Fresh lemon juice would also be a nice substitute.
  • Dijon Mustard – The Dijon adds a nice tang to the vinaigrette and helps emulsify the ingredients.
  • Salt – Although just a small amount is called for, don’t skip the salt.  It really helps the flavors in the dressing pop.
  • Black Pepper – If you have a black pepper sensitivity, this can easily be omitted and the taste will still be delicious.
  • Apple Butter – If you have never put apple butter in your apple cider vinaigrette, you need to try it! The apple butter compliments the vinegar so well and makes all of the flavors pop while adding a subtle sweetness. This is optional, but highly recommended!
  • Optional – A garlic clove or two, a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, some green onions, or some fresh herbs like thyme or chives would all make nice additions to the vinaigrette.


Salad Ingredients: Individually storing the ingredients listed below will prolong the freshness of the salad. However, if it’s already mixed together, just keep the dressing on the salad and the salad should last for at least one more day.

  • Greens – Store in an airtight container or bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture. Keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Carrots – Store shredded carrots in an airtight container with a clean, paper towel in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also store whole carrots in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer for several weeks.
  • Berries – Store in a single layer in a paper towel lined airtight container.  The berries will last about 2-3 days in the fridge.
  • Nuts – Store nuts in an airtight container or bag at room temperature for up to a month or in the fridge for 2-3 months for maximum freshness.


  • Store vinaigrette in a jar with a tight fitting lid in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks. The oil may solidify from the cold – let it come to room temp before using. Shake well before using to re-emulsify.
summer salad

Summer Berry Salad with an Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Sarah Erickson
This is the best berry salad with an easy vinaigrette dressing! Add your favorite protein to make it an entire meal!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American


Summer Salad

  • 5 oz container mixed greens
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup roasted and chopped mixed nuts

Apple Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 apple cider vinegar
  • 1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter optional
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • In a large bowl, layer the salad ingredients in the order listed. This will make for such a beautiful presentation withs so many pops of color!
  • Put all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar and use a mason jar to blend or shake to blend. Serve the vinaigrette on the side. If you have any leftover, this makes for a super simple lunch the following day.
Keyword apple cider, berry, blueberry, chicken salad, strawberry, summer, vinaigrette

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply