Apple, Bacon & Spinach Salad with Sweet Red Onion Vinaigrette (GF, DF, Egg, Soy, Peanut & Tree Nut Free, Top 8 Free)
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Literally my favorite salad to make. The sweetness from the apples perfectly balances the saltiness from the bacon. And the dressing, THIS dressing…well, the sweetness and tanginess are a perfect yin and yang. Basically, this salad is perfection. The only thing not in balance is how much I eat of it. Gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut and tree nut free. Free of the top eight allergens!
Food is amazing guys. Literally. It brings people together and punctuates life’s moments. I have a sad story for you to hear. Are you ready? A man in my neighborhood, a loving father of three kids, died suddenly a few weeks ago. He was a stay-at-home Dad and was a fantastic cook. One time, out of the kindness of his heart, and knowing my family was having a rough time, he made us homemade sushi. SUSHI! I was so impressed. I also worked with his wife who is an absolute sweetheart. So, when I heard of his unexpected and tragic passing, I knew I wanted to do something. You know that innate wanting to help when something terrible happens? Well, my way of helping is usually through food. When I heard they needed a salad for the funeral I was so happy to have a way to extend service to this poor family. I also have a confession. I’ve given salads before at funerals, and often–because they’re on the weekend, I’m busy and slightly lazy I’ll just do a pre-packaged salad. That way, since my family isn’t crazy about salads, and so I don’t have allergens in my house I can buy it and simply drop it off. BUT, I knew this time I wanted to give my best. I wanted to give something yummy that could be satisfying and filling after a really rough morning. A funeral luncheon is so sad, but it’s so human at the same time. It’s after we’ve buried our dead, and instead of going home to grieve alone, we eat. We eat together and it gives us something else to do while we ruminate on what just happened. I think it’s kind of a beautiful excuse to stay together for a bit longer while our hearts collectively break. We may walk away still sad, but at least our stomaches are full…and I hope in some small way everyone’s hearts are full. I know I walk away amazed at how a community comes together, in awe of all of the service given and re-focused on what really matters. So, I pulled out this salad. This was the salad I also made for my sister’s pre-wedding dinner when I hosted it. Every single time I make it, people love it. So, I had hoped this would be a decent homage to the man who had made me sushi. I got one relative calling me several times for the recipe, so I think that was a good indication that it served its purpose. I’m not a huge salad fan, and I make it even more rarely since my boys aren’t big salad fans–but you throw in bacon and apples, and they actually ate it. Then add this dressing. This sweet pink dressing, that is soooo easy (throw it in a blender) actually got my boys to eat their lettuce. GUYS. This never happens. Basically, this salad is magic. Make it for a funeral, make it for Thursday night dinner–either way, it’s sure to help people. And, lastly–this is fabulous as a side or even a meal. I’ll often eat it as an entrée because it has the bacon in it. If you’re husband likes a lot of meat like mine, I’ll sometimes throw in leftover diced chicken too–too really amp it up for an entrée salad. And, if you’re looking for another spinach salad, try this strawberry spinach salad from blogger A Dash of Megnut. Enjoy! Continue to Content
- 1 package of spinach OR 2-3 romaine hearts, washed and cut (my son can’t do spinach–both work great!)
- 1-2 sweet apples, chopped (I usually use Gala)
- 1 pkg. bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
- 1/2 cup salted sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup craisins
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 small red onion (about a half cup)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- For the salad, make a bed of spinach and place the rest of the toppings on top.
- For the dressing, put all ingredients in a blender, but the oil. Turn the blender on and slowly pour in the oil to create an emulsion. Blend until everything is smooth and incorporated. Wait to put the dressing on until right before to keep the spinach from being soggy.
Also, if you can do dairy, crumbled feta cheese is amazing in it.
If you can do nuts, candied almonds or walnuts are a great substitution for the sunflower seeds.
Yield: 5Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 625Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 2093mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 9gSugar: 62gProtein: 9g
Adapted from: aaronandcarlyn