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Wilted Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing

This Wilted Spinach Salad holds up. Introducing a little heat baby spinach with the warm Bacon Dressing tenderizes the leaves just enough. Hard Boiled eggs, Bacon, Dried Cranberries, Feta, Red Onions, and Almonds add depth and crunch.
Course Salad
Cuisine American Classic
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 274kcal
Author Diana Reis

Ingredients

Wilted Spinach Salad

  • 8 C Baby Spinach
  • 4 Hard-boiled Eggs peeled, halved
  • 3 Pieces Bacon cooked and drained
  • ¼ Cup Red Onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ Cup Feta Cheese crumbled
  • ¼ Cup Almonds sliced or chopped
  • ¼ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Warm Bacon Dressing

  • 3 Tablspoons Bacon Grease reserved
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced

Instructions

  • To make this salad, the first step is to make sure you have all of your ingredients washed, chopped, and prepped in the way they will go on the salad. Slice your red onion. Measure out your dried cranberries, sliced almonds, and feta cheese and set ingredients aside.
  • Hard boiled eggs will need to be prepped ahead of time or purchased already cooked. Perfect hardboiled eggs tips and tricks linked below.
  • Slice the bacon strips into small ½ inch pieces and cook in a small frying pan on medium heat. Cook until all of the pieces are well browned and crispy.
  • Remove the cooked bacon and place on paper towels to soak up any extra grease. Removing the bacon pieces is important because we will add the bacon last and it is best drained and crispy. Reserve the bacon grease in the pan to make warm bacon dressing.
  • Make the Warm Bacon Dressing by heating the reserved bacon grease until it gets hot again. Turn off the heat.
  • Then, add minced garlic and red vinegar to the hot fat. Stir the dressing ingredients together and heat the garlic until it is warm and aromatic.
  • Measure cleaned spinach into a large salad bowl.
  • Pour vinaigrette over spinach and toss. The spinach should wilt ever so slightly and have a nice sheen. Toss the spinach using tongs to make sure that it is fully coated and well wilted.
  • Next, add chopped almonds, cranberries, feta cheese, and sliced onions to the salad bowl and toss.
  • For a special presentation, add crisp bacon and hard boiled eggs sliced in half to the top of the salad as it is served.
  • If you don’t need to make it fancy, simply add chopped eggs and bacon along with the other toppings.

Notes

What does it mean to wilt spinach?
Wilting spinach is any kind of process that heats the spinach just enough for it to start to shrink and tenderize, but doesn’t heat it long enough to completely break it down. This can be done by a variety of methods.
For our purposes, we are using warm bacon dressing poured over raw spinach. The hot dressing heats the leaves just enough to turn them bright green, and tenderizes them slightly making them sweeter and more pleasant to eat.
Diana's Tips for Success
  • This salad is a great way to use hard boiled eggs made earlier in the week.
  • Fully cooled eggs are easier to peel, so it is best to do this step a while before making the actual spinach salad. 
  • Here are some great tips for Perfect Hardboiled Eggs from TheForkedSpoon.com
  • Immature spinach leaves are slightly sweeter than mature leaves and much more tender. Mature spinach can be used, but be sure to remove the bitter stems.
  • To make sure all of the spinach leaves are wilted and well coated, use tongs and toss the leaves really well. Turn the leaves in the dressing over and over again until you can see that each leaf is bright green and shiny with dressing.
  • I like to add lots of fresh cracked pepper to finish off this salad. Don’t add salt until everything is mixed together. The bacon and cheese are pretty salty. I find that there is enough salt that I don’t need to add more, but you can season it to your taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 274kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 206mg | Sodium: 328mg | Potassium: 529mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 5932IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 162mg | Iron: 3mg