Best Spinach Salad Recipe
My Best Spinach Salad Recipe is a blast from the ’70s with a bacon dressing, plus sauteed mushrooms and onions to give it a modern twist.
This Spinach Bacon Salad takes a little more work but is absolutely irresistible. I’ve always loved a Wilted Spinach Salad and this is truly the best!
Why You Should Make
My first ever spinach salad was at Hickory Park, a restaurant that’s still going strong 40+ years after opening in my hometown of Ames, Iowa. Back then it was a novel idea for a salad, but it caught on quickly.
- This recipe has all the classic ingredients and flavors: spinach, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, onions with a bacon dressing.
- The twist is that both the onions and mushrooms are cooked first. I’m not a fan of raw mushrooms and I know many don’t like the sharpness of raw onions.
- With both bacon and hard-boiled eggs contributing protein, this salad is satisfying enough to stand alone as a lunch entree.
My first taste of their classic spinach salad recipe, as I recall, started with a base of spinach plus hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits (not even real bacon!), onions, raw mushrooms, and was drizzled with a hot bacon dressing. I was never enamored with the raw mushrooms. My fresh, contemporary recipe really hit the spot!
- Using bacon fat instead of vegetable oil or olive oil is the secret to a fabulous spinach salad.
- And pouring it on warm helps wilt the salad adding to its uniqueness.
- PRO-Tip: But since bacon fat solidifies when it cools, the dressing must be added to the salad right before serving.
- This bacon dressing is made in a skillet. The bacon fat is rewarmed, then the other ingredients are whisked in.
- PRO-Tip: If you make your salad dressing ahead of time, pop it in the refrigerator and gently warm in the microwave before using.
- A wilted spinach salad is actually more tender as the heat of the dressing helps soften the spinach leaves.
- Double the amounts if you’d like more salad dressing. Vegetable oil can be added if you don’t have enough bacon fat.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are all sorts of varieties of spinach salads. But this recipe is the classic version that contains spinach, hard-boiled eggs, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and a bacon salad dressing. Other versions have berries, cheese, nuts, tomatoes, etc. Spinach can be used instead of lettuce in any green salad recipe you love!
There are some healthy ingredients in this spinach salad, but it’s not exactly a healthy dish. The bacon and eggs both contain saturated fat as does the bacon fat used in the salad dressing. The spinach itself is quite nutritious on its own and the eggs are a good source of protein.
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- More of the Best Salad Recipes
Salad Dressing (You may want to double the amounts. May supplement with vegetable oil if there's not enough bacon fat).
- 3 tablespoons red wine or champagne vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons bacon fat
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8-ounce package baby spinach
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced, and cooked in bacon fat until softened*
- 6-8 slices meaty bacon, cooked and sliced or chopped, reserve bacon fat for dressing and to cook onion and mushrooms
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced, and cooked in bacon fat until softened*
- 2-3 hard boiled eggs, cut in quarters or sliced
- Cook and cool both the bacon and hard-boiled eggs. Set aside making sure to reserve the bacon fat to use in the salad dressing and to cook the onions and mushrooms.
- Make the salad dressing by rewarming the 3 tablespoons of bacon fat in a saucepan, then whisk in the vinegar, mustard, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Place spinach in a large bowl.
- Top with hard-boiled eggs, chopped bacon, sautéed red onion and mushrooms, and bacon.
- Rewarm the salad dressing and drizzle over the salad to serve.
*The bacon fat will congeal when the onions and mushrooms are refrigerated. You may want to keep them separate and gently reheat them before adding to the salad and serving.
The dressing is best added warm just before serving as well, so the fat doesn't solidify. Double the amount of salad dressing if desired.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 703Total Fat: 62gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 44gCholesterol: 232mgSodium: 785mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 24g