Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

by Renee on November 1, 2012

Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing

When did you first have a spinach salad? It was way back in the 80′s for me. Spinach was something I did not like at all. It was because the only way I ever had it was the terrible stuff in a can. I did not know there was anything different. Canned spinach, like the way Popeye ate it. No cartoon could ever make me eat it when I was as kid. Blech.

It all changed when my husband went away for training. He was in Oklahoma and it was the first time we had ever been separated since we met. I missed him terribly and went to visit him. He took me to a restaurant and said I really needed to try the spinach salad. I took his word for it and wow! What really made it so good was the warm bacon dressing. That salad was topped with eggs, mushrooms, and bacon pieces. It was the bomb. Then I started making my own salads and dressings and discovered different toppings I liked even better.

Spinach salad with warm bacon dressing is great for a fall day. Spinach is in season and the warm dressing is nice in the cooler weather. Bacon, cranberries, walnuts, and goat cheese not only go well with the spinach, they also make for a pretty and colorful salad. A green background is dotted with red, white, and a touch of earthy brown. It is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Serve it with warm french bread and a glass of wine.

What salads do you eat in the cooler seasons? Do your tastes and cravings change with the weather? I know mine do. Now is the time for a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing. After that, who knows? Stay tuned!

Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing

  • 1 package (5 or 6 ounces) fresh baby spinach
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 to 5 strips of bacon (regular, not thick sliced)
  • Olive oil (if needed)
  • 1 small or medium shallot, 1/2 minced and 1/2 sliced thinly
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts

Cook the bacon in skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer bacon on a plate with paper towels. Pour the bacon fat in a heatproof measuring cup. You will need 1/4 to 1/3 cup for the dressing. If necessary, add enough olive oil to make what you need. Pour the fat/oil back into the pan. Add the finely chopped shallot and cook until translucent. Add the thyme and cook for a minute or two. Stir the sugar into the vinegar and then add to the pan. Season with pepper. Cook for a few minutes to concentrate and lower the acidity of the vinegar. Add the dried cranberries and stir. Turn off the heat & let the cranberries soak up the dressing for a few minutes. Chop the bacon into smaller pieces. In a large bowl combine the spinach, bacon, thinly sliced shallots, and walnuts. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Put salad on plates or in bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

If you like the salad more or less oil-y or vinegar-y then adjust amounts of each to your preference. Likewise for toppings, increase or decrease amounts as desired.

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Recipe inspired and adapted from one by Michael Chiarello on the Food Network website

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth Michelle November 1, 2012 at 5:28 am

I used to hate spinach as a child too. Now, I love it! This salad look delicious!

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Jen @ Juanita's Cocina November 1, 2012 at 6:49 am

Mmmmmm, one of my favorites! I just added this to our menu next week!

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Paula @ Vintage Kitchen November 1, 2012 at 7:21 am

A wonderful salad! Goat cheese is perfect Renee, love it!

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Renee November 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I think goat cheese is the perfect fit for this salad. I’ve tried it with blue cheese and feta but it just wasn’t right.

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diabeticFoodie November 1, 2012 at 9:23 am

What a fantastic looking salad! I remember being a Popeye fan when I was young and begging my mom to buy spinach in a can. It was awful. Thankfully, she didn’t make me eat it all!

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Renee November 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I really don’t know how people eat canned spinach. I’ll use frozen for quiches and such. Only fresh for salads.

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Jennie @themessybakerblog November 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

Did I just read the words bacon and dressing in the same sentence? Yum! This is definitely a must make.

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Renee November 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Oh yes! Bacon dressing. Plus bacon crumbles in the salad. Total yumminess.

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Jessica@AKitchenAddiction November 1, 2012 at 11:24 am

This is fantastic! Love the sound of the bacon dressing!

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Lyn @LovelyPantry November 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I always love the ingredients that you use with your salads. I always loved my greens. Growing up, we had Callalloo which is similar to spinach in taste/colour. I’ve grown fond of spinach over the years. Now its a staple in many things that I cook – even just to throw it in at the end, or blend it in :-) This salad certainly is a feast for the eyes.

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Renee November 2, 2012 at 8:34 am

I have not heard of Callalloo. I need to look for it the next time I go to the International farmers market.

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Joan November 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm

As a child, I loved the canned spinach. My mother heated it, and served it with vinegar. No one else did that in our neighborhood. As I grew older, I found that I liked the frozen spinach better than the canned, but I still liked it with vinegar. Not malt vinegar. Not balsamic vinegar. None of the fancy vinegars … just plain old cider vinegar. But, raw spinach…that was a horse of a different color. It took me hears to be able to actually eat it … not just chew it ……. forever. Part of the problem was my allergy to mushrooms. Everyone felt that mushrooms were the only thing they could put on a spinach salad. So, I had to fish out the spinach and hope that I didn’t get any of the mushroom. Eventually, I discovered that fruit and spinach were a natural! My favorite spinach salad now has a cider vinegar vinaigrette and either pears or apples.
This recipe seems doable- I can just leave off the mushrooms, and the warm bacon dressing sounds fantastic. Thanks for posting it.

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Joan November 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm

It took me YEARS, not hears. Someday I might learn to type.

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Renee November 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

I agree that fruit and spinach go very well together. I don’t know if any vinegar could make me like canned spinach.

Anita at Hungry Couple November 2, 2012 at 7:14 am

This is one of our favorite things to eat. And if you give me a big portion and some crusty bread, I don’t even need anything else for dinner!

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Renee November 2, 2012 at 8:31 am

We do have this salad as our dinner and with crusty bread. The recipe makes two big salads perfect for a main meal.

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amy @ fearless homemaker November 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Mmm, warm bacon dressing. That sounds wonderful! I love a spinach salad + am sure I’d dig this version, too.

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anna November 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm

mm this does sound like a great fall salad! i always think of salads for summer and spring, but with the cranberries and everything this sounds delicious. lately i’ve been loving a salad with dried cranberries and salted sunflower seeds…mmm

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Renee November 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I eat salads all year long but some are more for hot weather and I think this one is great for the cooler months.

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