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green salad with pickled onions and balsamic

Green Salad with Pickled Onions and Balsamic Dressing

  • Author: Allison Olivia
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large salad 1x


A fresh green salad with feta, pickled red onion, toasted almonds, all tossed in a homemade sweet and tangy balsamic dressing.




  • Arugula, spinach, and whatever greens you like
  • Feta Cheese
  • Toasted sliced almonds (see notes)
  • Pickled red onion (recipe below)
  • Balsamic dressing (recipe below)

Pickled Red Onion:

  • 1 small or medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Balsamic Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard (dijon would work too)
  • 3/4 cup avocado oil (see notes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper



  1. Assemble all ingredients into a large bowl, and either toss the dressing in, or have it on the side. It is a thick and rich dressing, so a little goes a long way.

Pickled Onions:

  1. Put apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, water, salt, and honey, in a small saucepan. Heat on medium until honey and salt are dissolved. Take the pan off the burner, and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Put sliced red onion into a 32 oz mason jar, and slowly pour the vinegar mixture into the mason jar over the onion. Let cool for 10 minutes. Then close the lid on the mason jar and let sit for an hour to marinate in the fridge, or overnight. The longer you wait, the more the onions will soften and flavors will marinate. Store in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 weeks.

Balsamic Dressing:

  1. Place the balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring it to a small boil, and stir for about 5 minutes until mixture has slightly thickened.
  2. Take the mixture off of the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, pour in the avocado oil, mustard, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and balsamic/honey mixture, and whisk vigorously until dressing has emulsified.
    It takes a minute or two, but it will fully incorporate (should not be separated). Dressing will be thick.


To toast your sliced almonds, simply put your almonds in a non stick pan, and on medium to low heat, toast them for about 5 minutes, keeping an eye on it and constantly flipping it to make sure both sides get toasted. They are ready when they smell nutty and are lightly golden brown on both sides.

Olive oil would work great for the dressing as well.

I love this balsamic dressing, but it does take a few minutes, so if you are crunched for time, or just don’t want to make it, a store bought balsamic dressing would work too.

You can use red, white, or yellow onions for the pickled onion.

I used arugula and spinach for my salad, because I like the peppery spice that the arugula brings and I love  spinach; however you can use whatever mixed greens you prefer.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 min
  • Cook Time: 5 min
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Green salad, pickled onions, homemade balsamic dressing, side salad, side salad recipe, Memorial Day recipes, arugula salad, spinach salad