It’s a big deal when the salad steals the show, and this is one of those times! This Bacon, Blue Cheese and Pecan Spinach Salad is a really delicious, crowd pleasing gluten free appetizer or side dish, tossed with a simple homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
It’s easy enough for a weeknight salad to enjoy with dinner, but fancy enough for entertaining guests. The best part, though, is how it comes together so quickly!
I’ve always loved salads. Believe it or not, when I was a little girl, I was at restaurants ordering a side salad with my grilled cheese instead of fries. I’m not joking at all — I can remember at least one or two waiters making funny comments about that as a kid!
What can I say? I love salad. I still do. I’ve got a TON of healthy salad recipes here on my blog, and today I’m sharing another winner.
When I made this Bacon, Blue Cheese and Pecan Spinach Salad the other night, I tossed it with a simple Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, and it was demolished in about 10 minutes flat.
Spinach Salad Ingredients
You don’t need a bunch of complicated ingredients to get this salad on the table! Here’s what you need:
- Baby Spinach
- Bacon (make sure it’s gluten free)
- Blue Cheese
- Red Onions
Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Seasonings: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, Salt and Pepper
Making the Salad
This recipe is super straight forward for even the most inexperienced home cooks. What do I mean by that? There probably won’t be any surprises, and it’s so forgiving that there’s really nothing you can mess up. Here’s how you do it.
- Cook the bacon. I prefer to pan fry the bacon in a skillet. Just add the raw slices of bacon to a cool skillet, then turn the heat to medium-low. Cook until crispy on one side, then flip it and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and set it on a paper towel.
- Dice the red onion and chop the bacon into bite sized pieces. I like to cut everything into small pieces so I get a little with every bite. If you’re serving this to kids or friends who may not like raw red onion, cut those pieces a little larger (then they can take them out easily).
- Make the balsamic vinaigrette. Just add everything, and mix mix mix.
- Assemble the salad, and toss together. Serve immediately. This is simple. Just add the spinach, bacon, blue cheese, onion, and pecans to a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing (start with less, you can always add more!), and toss to coat.
That’s it! You’ll be making this salad time and time again, I promise. Just the other night I made it to bring to dinner at a friend’s house. And you know what? Everybody loved it!
Can I make it in advance?
Yes, but make sure not to dress the salad until just before serving.
To keep the bacon from getting soggy, I will cook the bacon and chop it up, but store it separately from the rest of the salad. Just before serving, I quickly pop the bacon in the microwave for just long enough to crisp it up (about one minute should do it), then add it to the salad at the same time as the salad dressing.
I’m don’t like/can’t have pecans. What should I do?
A good substitute for most nuts is seeds. I’d go for sunflower seeds or pepitas in this recipe. Even though the nutty flavor and crunch is very nice, you can always just leave them off, too!
What brands of Gluten Free bacon do you recommend?
I like Naked Bacon, because it’s made without sugar or nitrates, but there are plenty of other options available!
More mouth-watering and healthy recipes to check out:
- Broccoli & Bacon Salad (Whole30, Gluten Free)
- Prosciutto Wrapped Pears (Whole30)
- Zucchini Caprese Salad (Gluten Free)
- Bacon Wrapped Asparagus (Whole30, Low Carb)
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Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Pecan Spinach Salad
A quick and easy salad that's equally great for entertaining as it is for busy weeknights!
Bacon, Blue Cheese and Pecan Spinach Salad
- 5-6 cups baby spinach
- 4 slices bacon
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/8 cup red onion diced
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp oregano
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
Prep the Ingredients
Cook the bacon to desired crispiness. Add the raw slices of bacon to a cool skillet, then turn the heat on medium-low. Cook until crispy on one side, then turn and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and set on a paper towel.
Dice the red onion and set it aside. If I'm cooking for guests, I prefer to leave the pieces big enough for people to pick out easily (since some people don't like raw red onion), but you can do this to your preferred taste. If I'm cooking for myself and my family, I tend to slice the onion a bit smaller so I get a little with each bite.
Chop the bacon. Once the bacon is cooled enough to handle, chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Make the Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Add the vinegar, seasonings, and oil to a container. Shake until well combined. Cover and set aside.
Assemble the Salad
Add the spinach, bacon, pecans, blue cheese, and red onion to a large bowl or serving platter.
Shake the salad dressing well, then drizzle over the salad and toss to combine it well. Serve immediately.
Note: You’ll have leftover salad dressing, but it’s very versatile! Store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.