AMAZING SPINACH SALAD WITH SWEET-SPICY NUTS, APPLES, FETA AND BACON
- 16 ounces baby spinach
- ½ small red onion, slivered (see note about tempering the onion flavor)
- 6 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled or chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup Feta cheese crumbles, more or less to taste
- 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries, more or less to taste
- 1-2 Honey Crisp apples, cored and sliced thin
- SWEET SPICY NUTS:
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of cayenne (more to taste if you want)
- Pinch of salt
RED WINE VINAIGRETTE:
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- For the dressing, shake all the ingredients together in a mason jar until well combined or run them through a quick blender cycle. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The dressing can be made up to a week in advance.
- For the nuts, lightly toast the nuts in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, checking often so they don't burn. While they toast, place the sugar, cayenne and salt in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the sugar mixture until it liquifies completely, adjusting the heat so it doesn't bubble and burn. Toss in the toasted nuts and stir to coat the nuts with sugar. Let the sugared nuts cool completely.
- To assemble the salad, toss all the salad ingredients together along with the cooled nuts. Serve immediately with the vinaigrette alongside. All the components can be measured out/prepped ahead of time and stored separately (I like to soak the apples in a bit of lemon juice in water to help prevent browning). Just toss right before serving. Enjoy!