Spinach and Radicchio Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

lunch bowl of spinach salad with bacon, mushrooms, eggs and red onions
wmaster890 / Getty Images
Total Time: 30 min
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Servings: 5 (1 cup servings)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

193 calories
15g fat
8g carbs
8g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 (1 cup servings)
Amount per serving  
Calories 193
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 16mg 5%
Sodium 358mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 4g  
Includes 3g Added Sugars 6%
Protein 8g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 101mg 8%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 639mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

This salad features favorite ingredients and flavors of fall and winter like apple, walnut, mushrooms, and radicchio. The warm bacon-flavored dressing is a nice blend of sweet and savory; the apple cider vinegar balances the richness of the bacon fat.

Making your own salad dressing helps limit the added sugars, unhealthy oils, and other additives present in many store-bought varieties.

While bacon is high in saturated fat and is not recommended to consume regularly or in large quantities, only a small portion is used in this recipe to enhance the flavor of the dish, so consume in moderation and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz uncooked thick-cut bacon (3 slices), diced small
  • 1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups radicchio, sliced in a chiffonade
  • 4 cups baby spinach, packed
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • Black pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Add the diced bacon to a pan and heat on medium-low to render the fat and crisp up the bacon (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, prep your vegetables.

  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon fat in the pan and pour off the excess into a glass jar.

  3. Bring heat up to medium and add red onion to same pan; saute for about 3 minutes until onions start to soften. Add the mushrooms to the same pan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring and adding more reserved fat as necessary to prevent burning and scraping up any caramelized brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, place half of the baby spinach greens in a large salad bowl.

  4. When onion and mushrooms are cooked, add half of the radicchio to the same pan and cook for about 1 minute, just long enough to wilt. Then, transfer all of the cooked vegetables while still warm, along with the cooked diced bacon, on top of the spinach in the salad bowl. 

  5. To make the dressing, in a separate small saute pan, add 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon fat, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and pinch of salt to the same pan and warm over low heat for 2 minutes to thin the maple syrup and warm the vinaigrette. 

  6. Toss the salad with the warm dressing to slightly wilt the greens. Add remaining baby spinach, toasted walnuts, and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Gently toss everything together. (This way you have a combination of slightly wilted and fresh greens.)

Variations and Substitutions

To reduce saturated fat content, you can replace the bacon fat with olive oil when cooking the vegetables. You will still get the flavor of bacon from the dressing.

For a complex, nutty flavor, try replacing the rendered bacon fat with walnut oil when making the vinaigrette.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • This dish can be a side salad, or you can add protein such as eggs, shrimp, or chicken, and even cooked grains to turn it into a main meal.
  • Boost fiber and carbohydrates by adding homemade whole wheat croutons or cooked whole grains such as farro or quinoa.

Tips

  • Freeze your bacon for 15-20 minutes in advance to make it easier to dice.
  • Toast walnuts in advance so you have them in your pantry for other meals or snacks (toast in 325F oven for about 10 minutes or until they start to have nutty aroma).

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1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Is Your Salad Dressing Hurting Your Healthy Diet?. May 1, 2017.