Vegetarians rejoice, there’s no bacon in this wilted spinach salad. Also, this is more of a wilted spinach salad template than a recipe. If you don’t like feta, use a crumbly cheese you do like. Goat cheese is amazing in this salad and I tend to reach for it just as often as I do feta.
If you hate pecans, but love walnuts, great!
Use those. If there are no bunches of spinach at the store, use baby, as I had to. I probably wouldn’t use 2 full bags in the future as the dressing-to-stuff ratio was a little on the light side. I’d dial it back to 1.5 bags of baby spinach or increase the olive oil, vinegar, and mint (this last only by a fraction, but I’ve never been mint’s biggest fan). If you don’t like mint, you can skip it.
You can add chunks of a tart apple with the recipe as written. If you opt for goat cheese, slices of strawberry for variety or even mango would be lovely, but I personally would skip the mint if you opt for the mango.
Note, that this recipe is easily halved for side salads.
Also unless you are a huge red onion fan consider using even less than suggested. My two-year-old adores red onions; frankly, there’s just something a little strange about a toddler with onion breath. (The recipe for this spinach salad is just below the recommended thing.)
- 1/2 small red onion, sliced
- 2 bunches of spinach leaves, washed and patted dry
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry, rice, cider, or red wine vinegar ***
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped**
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- black pepper, freshly ground
- If your spinach is still somewhat attached to the bunch, cut off the lower portion of the stems so they separate.
- Wash it well. I like flour sack style kitchen towels for drying delicate produce.
- If you'd like, slice the onion and then soak it in water for 15 - 30 minutes, drain & pat dry.
- Heat the 6TBSP over low to medium heat in a small, skillet. The oil should be very hot, but not smoking.
- While the oil heats, place ALL, of the remaining ingredients (yes, the vinegar, mint, and seasoning, too) in a large bowl—I know this is tough, but persevere, I have faith.
- Toss the ingredients in the bowl so they are somewhat evenly distributed. Don't get fussed about this, you still have another tossing session.
- When the oil is hot drizzle it over the spinach. Don't do this all at once, drizzle, toss with tongs, and drizzle until you run out of oil.
- Give the salad a few more tosses and serve.
To toast pecans scatter them on a baking sheet and place in a 350-degree oven, toss/stir after 4 minutes and bake for an additional 3 - 5 minutes watching closely. There is a fine line between toasted and burnt.
***A quick note about vinegar and those on gluten-free diets, ensure that distilled vinegar is ok with your physician. The American Dietetic association gave distilled vinegar the green light, but the Celiac Spruce Association has not.