Spinach can be incorporated into any weeknight meal with very little extra effort, but occasionally it deserves a little more attention. If you do a little prep ahead of time, like boiling eggs or making a dressing, these salads come together really quick.
Bacon and Egg Spinach Salad
Sarah Harper makes a spinach salad that is worth trying on your pickiest eaters. It’s all in the dressing, and it’s so easy: whisk a little honey into your favorite ranch dressing, just enough to sweeten it up and thin it out.
Sarah Britton makes another spinach salad I love, and her recipe is in her first cookbook, My New Roots. She makes a simple maple-mustard cider vinaigrette to dress the salad. She also introduced me to coconut bacon in this recipe!
The concepts are similar. You can add ingredients or leave things out. Make it yours.
- a plateful of spinach
- tossed with: creamy poppy seed dressing, S. Harper’s honey-ranch dressing, or your own sweet vinaigrette.
- topped with wedges or slices of boiled eggs
- sprinkled with crispy bacon, coconut bacon, or no bacon.
- sprinkled with thinly sliced shallots or green onions
- maybe add a few crunchy croutons or sprouts
Fruit and Spinach Salad
When I first moved to California, I used to frequently eat lunch at the Corner Bakery Cafe. I became obsessed with replicating their Spinach Sweet Crisp Salad, which is very difficult to do since they make the necessary Raisin Pecan Crisps at the store. In the meantime, I learned how to throw together a fruity, tangy Spinach Salad with ingredients on hand. Although I’ve eaten this salad without cheese, the cheese really mellows out the balsamic vinegar and brings it all together.
The recipe is really flexible. You can use whatever colorful fruit you have around, and you can probably whip up a great dressing with pantry ingredients. Add some chewy dried fruit, some crunchy seeds and a little cheese, and you’ve got a salad your co-workers will envy.
- a plateful of spinach
- tossed with a fruity balsamic dressing
- sliced strawberries, oranges
- blueberries or grapes
- thinly sliced apples (red or green)
- golden raisins or dried cranberries or chopped dried figs
- roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or nuts
- thinly sliced shallots or green onions
- crumbled goat, feta, or blue cheese
To make your own Fruity Balsamic Dressing, shake together:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 Tbsp of jam (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, fig, apricot)
- a little squirt of dijon mustard (helps the oil and vinegar particles stick together)
- salt and pepper
- Adjust these amounts until it tastes right to you.