Bacon, Blue Cheese & Pecan Spinach Salad (GF)

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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!

A large bowl of the salad tossed together with two wooden serving spoons.

Healthy Salads

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.

The ingredients in the salad, laid out on a white board and labeled.

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)
  • Pecans
  • Blue Cheese
  • Red Onions

Balsamic Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Seasonings: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Oregano, Salt and Pepper
Step by step collage showing the bacon cooking, the ingredients being chopped, making salad dressing, and tossing all the ingredients together.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. Make the balsamic vinaigrette. Just add everything, and mix mix mix.
  4. 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!

Close up of the salad topped with bacon, blue cheese, onion and pecans, serving in a gray bowl with two large wooden serving spoons.

Recipe FAQ

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!

The tossed salad, plated in gray bowl and served on two small gray plated with forks.

More mouth-watering and healthy recipes to check out:

Like this recipe? Please drop a star rating below!

A gray bowl filled with spinach, crumbled bacon, onion, pecans, and blue cheese with two wooden serving forks.
5 from 2 votes
Print

Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Pecan Spinach Salad

A quick and easy salad that's equally great for entertaining as it is for busy weeknights!

Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Gluten Free Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 352 kcal

Ingredients

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

Balsamic Dressing

  • 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

Instructions

Prep the Ingredients

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Chop the bacon. Once the bacon is cooled enough to handle, chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

Make the Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

  1. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Add the vinegar, seasonings, and oil to a container. Shake until well combined. Cover and set aside.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Add the spinach, bacon, pecans, blue cheese, and red onion to a large bowl or serving platter.

  2. Shake the salad dressing well, then drizzle over the salad and toss to combine it well. Serve immediately.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Note: You’ll have leftover salad dressing, but it’s very versatile! Store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator. 

Nutrition Facts
Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Pecan Spinach Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 352 Calories from Fat 306
% Daily Value*
Fat 34g52%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 21mg7%
Sodium 370mg16%
Potassium 343mg10%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 3581IU72%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 95mg10%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.