I've brightened up the old fashioned spinach salad. I have kept the bacon and added strawberries and candied walnuts to the mix. I also made a delicious vinaigrette to drizzle on top of the salad. The combination of the fruit, the crunchy nuts, salty bacon, and dressing is mouth-watering delicious. This is perfect with any meal and pretty enough to replace flowers on the table when entertaining. Give it a try and I know you'll love it.
Ingredients for Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Bacon, and Candied Walnuts:
5 ounces of baby spinach
1 pound of strawberries, sliced
3 thick slices of bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
1/2 cup candied walnuts, broken up
1 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, chopped
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of black pepper
Time-Saving Tips: The candied walnuts can be made in advance. They will keep well for over a week. The salad can be assembled earlier in the day and refrigerated undressed. The bacon can be cooked a day in advance and refrigerated; carefully warm before using.
Let's see what we need.
Let's start cooking.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix all of the candied walnut ingredients together in a bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture onto a parchment lined cooking sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes stirring once or twice. When ready the walnut mixture should be bubbling. Let cool completely before eating or storing.
Combine all of the dressing ingredients together in a small jar. Shake to combine well. If you don't have a jar just use a small bowl and a whisk or a fork. Set aside.
Here are two tips for you. I cut the bacon with kitchen shears because it makes the process easy. The second picture shows you what happens after you crumbled the walnuts. It leaves candied sugar crumbs. I don't do it over the salad because I think the crumbs will make the salad look messy.
To assemble the salad add the spinach to a large bowl followed by the strawberries, bacon, and walnuts; toss.
It's ready! Drizzle the salad with some of the dressing and toss. It's delicious and beautiful. This my new favorite salad of the week!