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Simple Spinach Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

Updated on August 4, 2012

This is by far my favorite salad. Every time I tell my kids I'm making it, they cheer! Not quite as much as they cheer for brownies, but hey, kids cheering for spinach salad is pretty awesome in my book. I've served this salad for several parties and when we've had family over for dinner. I've also taken it to dinner parties where I've been asked to bring something. I have never had leftovers, but I have seen people go to the empty bowl for seconds and look sad when they see they are too late. One time I forgot to add the cranberries and I still had people asking me for the recipe! It's so simple, I just had to share.

Simple and delicious: spinach salad with a homemade vinaigrette.
Simple and delicious: spinach salad with a homemade vinaigrette. | Source
3 stars from 4 ratings of Simple Spinach Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette

Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: About 10 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 10oz bag spinach
  • 6 strips bacon
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Making the Salad

  1. Begin by perfuming your home with the scent of cooking bacon. If you want to make the neighbors jealous, open a window.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, chop the almonds into small pieces. No larger than a quarter of an inch. You can use an electric chopper if you prefer, but I like to chop mine manually. Every time I used the electric chopper I got quite a bit of almond powder in the bottom and several large chunks left on top. It is also obnoxiously loud, so I went back to using a knife.
  3. Next, wash (and dry) your spinach if you think it needs it. I usually get the kind that is pre-washed to save time. However, even with the pre-washed spinach, I like to spend a few minutes picking out the wilted pieces. It doesn't seem to matter how great looking the bag is at the store, when I get it home and get it open, there are always a couple of wilted slimy pieces in there. Since I don't want anyone to find one in their salad, I do a careful check and remove them.
  4. When the bacon is finished cooking, remove it from the pan and rest it on a paper towel to drain and cool. Once it is cool, chop in into little bits by cutting the strips lengthwise and then horizontally.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, bacon, almonds, and dried cranberries. Wait to add the dressing until you are just about to serve.
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Because they are going to get chopped up anyway, I like to cut the strips of bacon in half before cooking. It makes them fit in the pan better and they are easier to flip.Almonds chopped into quarter inch pieces.Raw spinach, washed and dried if needed.Bacon chopped to match the size of the almonds and cranberries.Dried cranberries.
Because they are going to get chopped up anyway, I like to cut the strips of bacon in half before cooking. It makes them fit in the pan better and they are easier to flip.
Because they are going to get chopped up anyway, I like to cut the strips of bacon in half before cooking. It makes them fit in the pan better and they are easier to flip. | Source
Almonds chopped into quarter inch pieces.
Almonds chopped into quarter inch pieces. | Source
Raw spinach, washed and dried if needed.
Raw spinach, washed and dried if needed. | Source
Bacon chopped to match the size of the almonds and cranberries.
Bacon chopped to match the size of the almonds and cranberries. | Source
Dried cranberries.
Dried cranberries. | Source
All mixed together. Now for the dressing!
All mixed together. Now for the dressing! | Source

Making the Dressing

Combine equal parts of sugar, vinegar, and vegetable oil. Shake (or stir) vigorously. That's it!

About the Dressing

This homemade vinaigrette dressing is the easiest ever. I like to keep mine in one of those containers designed for mixing powdered drinks. It has a special insert that aids in mixing and a flip-top lid that pours easily. Go for the solid plastic ones and try to avoid the ones with metal. A metal shaker ball in a container with vinegar probably won't do very well for long, but my fully plastic one has held up for years.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The oil and vinegar in this dressing tend to separate quickly.A shaker with an insert like this one works very well to mix the dressing just before serving.Well mixed dressing - ready to use.
The oil and vinegar in this dressing tend to separate quickly.
The oil and vinegar in this dressing tend to separate quickly. | Source
A shaker with an insert like this one works very well to mix the dressing just before serving.
A shaker with an insert like this one works very well to mix the dressing just before serving. | Source
Well mixed dressing - ready to use.
Well mixed dressing - ready to use. | Source

You can scale the recipe up or down and it keeps well in the refrigerator. Aside from my homemade honey mustard dressing, this vinaigrette is the only kind of salad dressing my husband will eat. So, I make a bunch at a time and save it to use whenever we have salad.

When dressing the Simple Spinach Salad above, pour some on and then toss. Add more dressing a little at a time until all of the leaves look coated. Stop before it starts to puddle in the bottom of the bowl. Enjoy!

Comments

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    • afterschoolspring profile imageAUTHOR

      Camille Diaz 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, leahlefler! I was so surprised the first time I made this and the kids kept asking for more. Hopefully, your kids will too!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      Oh, Camille - this looks SO good! I'm definitely trying this one - and I'm a fan of anything that gets more spinach into the kids' diet!

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