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Spinach Salad Topped With Goat Cheese, Apples, and a Warm Bacon Dressing Recipe

You've really never had a spinach salad this flavor-packed.

Most of the time you see a salad on a restaurant menu it's a good idea to be skeptical. While they are listed in the appetizer section, more often than not salads at a restaurant will contain more calories than your main course as they contain fatty meats, cheeses, and heavy dressings. But we love the idea of a bacon dressing and goat cheese salad, and we just want to make sure it's simultaneously healthy. Well, we've done just that here with this salad of wilted spinach—wilting done by the drippings of a warm bacon dressing, of course. With this salad, we've done some updating to an old standby. A great salad should be many things: sweet and salty, crunchy and tender. In short: a full exploration of taste and texture, but not at the cost of a whole meal's worth of calories. With the addition of caramelized apples, toasted pecans, and creamy goat cheese, this retro spinach salad finally achieves perfect harmony in the 21st century with nearly half of the caloric intake.

Nutrition: 240 calories, 17 g fat (5 g saturated), 640 mg sodium

Serves 4

You'll Need

6 strips bacon, chopped
1 small red onion, sliced
1 green apple, peeled and sliced
1⁄4 cup pecans
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 bunch spinach, washed, dried, and stemmed
1⁄4 cup fresh goat cheese

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How to Make It

  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the bacon and cook for about 5 minutes, until browned and just crisp.
  3. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.
  4. Add the onion to the same pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until just soft.
  5. Add the apple and pecans and continue sautéing for 2 minutes, until the pecans are lightly toasted and the apple softened.
  6. Add the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil, along with a few pinches of salt and plenty of black pepper.
  7. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture vigorously to help it emulsify into a unified dressing.
  8. Divide the spinach and goat cheese among 4 bowls and pour the warm dressing directly over the greens. Garnish with the reserved bacon.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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