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. 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 spinach or increase the olive oil, vinegar, and mint (this last only by a fraction).
I believe this salad would be amazing with with chunks of a tart apple. If you plan on preparing this salad ahead of time, brush the apple with lemon juice to prevent browning.
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.
Yields: 6 large salads, but leftovers store well overnight in a covered, refrigerated container
- 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
**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.
If your spinach is still somewhat attached to the bunch, cut off the lower portion of 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 OCD about this, you still have another tossing session.
When the oil is hot drizzle it over the spinach. I don’t do this all at once, I drizzle, toss, drizzle, until I run out of oil. Give the salad a few more tosses and serve.
***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.