Wilted Spinach Salad with Peppered, Candied Bacon

Spinach salad:

  • 6oz fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 sweet or red onion sliced thinly
  • 1 granny smith apple cored and cut into bite size pieces (if you are making this ahead of time, store in cold water with lemon juice to prevent browning)
  • 4 hard boiled eggs cut into wedges
  • 7 slices candied peppered bacon

Toss ingredients in a large bowl, reserve some egg and bacon for garnish.

Optional additions:

  • Toasted pecans
  • Grilled chicken
  • Berries (strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries)
  • Walnuts
  • Goat cheese
  • Cooked beets


Candied Peppered Bacon

  • 7 slices bacon
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar and fresh ground pepper. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, watch closely. Drain on a rack, NOT on paper towels. . . trust me. Reserve drippings for dressing.

Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and fresh ground pepper. Use clean fingers to even out the topping’s coverage.

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, watch closely. Do not try to make this bacon super crispy, you’ll break a tooth. It’s better to take it out a bit too soon and zap it for 30 seconds in the microwave than to risk burning in the oven.

Drain on a rack or plate NOT on paper towels. . . trust me. Reserve drippings for dressing.


  • 2 TBSP bacon drippings
  • 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 3 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 4 TBSP brown sugar

In a microwave safe bowl whisk together the ingredients. Microwave covered on high for 1 minute, stir, microwave for an additional minute. Drizzle over the spinach salad and toss to coat. Garnish the salad with the reserved bacon and eggs. Serve immediately. If you want to prep the salad early, store the dressing separately in the refrigerator (before microwaving) and heat just before 

Tip: If you want to prep the salad early, store the dressing separately in the refrigerator and heat just before you’re ready. 

Bonus Tip: If you have an Instant Pot*, you can hard boil the eggs by pressure cooking in a steamer basket with 1 cup of water on high for 8 minutes and quick-releasing the pressure. Dunk the eggs immediately in an ice bath. Each batch I’ve done has been easy to peel once cool enough to handle.

Yields two main course salads or four side salads.

Grilled chicken would be a nice accompaniment for this dish.

* Our family of six, needs the 8qt model.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Peppered, Candied Bacon 

Spinach Salad with Candied Bacon


  1. QGirl17 on August 15, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    I made this salad tonight and loved it, I will definitely make it again. One thing I did wrong was to cook the bacon way too long. For some reason I thought that it had to be crispy and kept cooking it past the recommended 15 min. I ended up with really hard bacon, kinda like eating hard candy. Luckily I didn’t break a tooth!

  2. And Miles To Go.... on August 14, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    that looks delicious!! as a child my mother would make a wilted spinach salad with a warm dressing that was delicious!! I must try this one.

  3. Stephanie on August 14, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Bacon make almost everything better! Yum!

  4. Balance In Diet on August 14, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Make It From Scratch #26…

    Hello everyone.  I am this week’s host of the Make It From Scratch Blog Carnival.  I hope you will enjoy the carnival.  There is a large selection of ideas to inspire us all.
    Recipes and Yummy Things to Try 
    Bridget at . . . And Miles Before …

  5. Thrifty Karen on August 13, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Sounds yummy . . . and fattening! 🙂
    Thanks for participating in the Make it from Scratch carnival.


  6. Pam on August 12, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    I am soooo glad you posted this. it reminded me of an old family favorite tha hasn’t been made since my mom passed away 9 years ago….I’ll be making it this week now that you have jogged my menory. You use 1 small head of iceburg lettuce finely chopped, one medium onion finely chopped, one pound of bacon. Fry the bacon until crisp and cut or crumble into small pieces….poor off most of the bacon grease and save, saute the onions in the bacon greese left in the pan.
    The dressing is made with 1 cup of Miracle Whip, 1 table spoon of sugar one table spoon of vinegar and one table spoon of the bacon grease that you saved. Beat all of those together and poor over the lettuce, bacon and onions…..not very good for your arteries…but tastes….wonderful!! Pam from South Bend

  7. Heather on August 12, 2007 at 11:34 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was tangy and sweet without being cloyingly so. The hot dressing didn’t feel greasy as I have encountered with other hot bacon spinach salads.

    I will make it again. In the future I’ll probably toss in another apple, maybe some strawberries, and possibly another bag of spinach… depending on how hungry I am. With that in mind, I’d have to increase the amount of dressing a little.

  8. Bramble on August 12, 2007 at 2:01 am

    so how was it? (still unsure on the idea of candying bacon…)

  9. Margo on August 11, 2007 at 7:24 pm

    The bacon is an interesting concept – I’ll look forward to trying it. Since the salad seems rather full of protein already (eggs, bacon), I would serve it with good bread or a potato dish and fruit.

  10. Samantha on August 10, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    I’m so glad you liked it. I too, used balsamic last time I made this as I was out of the apple cider it called for. YUMMY bacon:)