IMG_2069Do you usually turn to iceberg or romaine lettuce for your salads?  That’s what I used to do…until now.  There are so many options out there for salads.  Variety really pays off when it comes to salads. My friend makes a mean kale salad, but that will have to be another post. (hint, hint, Bonnie.) Now back to this scrumptious spinach salad…I just love these ingredients together. The sweet, spicy nuts are a must, like the icing on the cake. You won’t want to skip the nuts; they are well worth the effort. I really didn’t think my husband was going to like this salad, but when he went back for seconds, I knew it got the stamp of approval.

 

Spinach Salad with Nuts, Apples, Feta and Bacon
Serves 8
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Salad
  1. 16 ounces baby spinach
  2. ½ small red onion, slivered (see note below about tempering)
  3. 6 slices of applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  4. 1 cup Feta cheese crumbles
  5. 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  6. 1-2 Honey Crisp apples, cored and sliced thin
Sweet Spicy Nuts
  1. 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  2. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  3. Pinch of cayenne
  4. Pinch of salt
Red Wine Vinaigrette
  1. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 clove of garlic, pressed or finely minced
  4. 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  5. 1 teaspoon sugar
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt, more or less to taste
  7. Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Dressing
  1. Shake all the ingredients together in a salad dressing container until well combined.
  2. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Nuts
  1. 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.
  2. Cook the sugar mixture until it liquifies completely. Watch closely as not to burn.
  3. Toss in the toasted nuts and stir to coat the nuts with sugar.
  4. Let the sugared nuts cool completely.
Salad
  1. Soak the apples in lemon juice and water to help prevent browning.
  2. Toss all the salad ingredients together along with the cooled nuts.
  3. Serve immediately with the vinaigrette alongside. . Just toss right before serving.
Notes
  1. To temper the onions a bit, soak the onion slices covered in cold water with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda Let sit for 15-20 minutes then rinse and drain well
My Kitchen Thoughts http://mykitchenthoughts.com/

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