Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon-Champagne Vinaigrette

Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon-Champagne Vinaigrette

Happy New Year to my favorite paleo-ers! January 2nd was my two year paleo anniversary and I can't even believe it's only been that long! In keeping up with traditions, on the 2nd, I started my annual January Whole30. There are two groups of people who can successfully complete a Whole30 that I've encountered––the ones who in trying really hard to stick to the program, eat the same proteins and the same vegetables almost everyday, all cooked the same way. It's really boring, but it works because it becomes second nature––something you don't even have to think about, so I suppose it makes finishing out the month long program a little bit easier. Then there's the second group, who can't handle the food boredom of eating the same things all the time and have to make new dishes everyday and experiment with fruits and vegetables they've never tried before––to keep things exciting and keep themselves interested in finishing out the thirty days. I think that the first few times I did a Whole30, and I'd imagine others have the same experience, I was definitely someone who fell into the first category of people. I settled down nicely into a routine of scrambled eggs with a slice of compliant bacon for breakfast with some sweet potatoes, ate leftovers from the previous night's dinner for lunch, and for dinner either had zucchini noodles with some tomato sauce and homemade meatballs or taco seasoned ground beef on top of a giant salad with salsa as the dressing. Don't get me wrong, everything I was eating was delicious, but looking back––it was so boring. As much as I love my zoodles and tomato sauce or a big, hearty taco salad, I couldn't do that for thirty days straight again. More recently, I think I've transitioned to the second group of Whole30-ers and now if I'm not trying new things and mixing up my meals, I get really bored and just generally lose interest. This time around, I'm making it a point to make two or three brand new recipes each week whether they be a whole dinner, a new breakfast, or just a side dish that I'm not used to having. I want to try new vegetables and experiment with new cooking techniques. I recently realized that the only way I ever eat spinach is sauteed with garlic and olive oil––Italian style. It's delicious, but I figured, why not try something new? I'm not a huge, huge fan of raw spinach, I prefer it to be wilted––even if just a little bit (it's a texture thing), so I decided to try a warm salad where I'm not really cooking the spinach, but it still wilts to my satisfaction! I really love the way this turned out, it was even better than I'd expected and I will certainly be making this again throughout my Whole30––it's so easy and full of flavor! So, for those of you who like to eat the same foods the same way all the time, I urge you to try something new, and this recipe is the perfect way to do that! For the rest of you adventurous eaters, add this dish onto your list of new recipes to try because I'm sure you've never had a salad like this one before and you certainly won't be disappointed!

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Warm Spinach Salad with Bacon-Champagne Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 12 min Total Time: 17 min Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2-3 strips of bacon, diced

  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar (try raspberry champagne vinegar for an extra hint of raspberry)

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 8-12oz baby spinach

  • 4-6oz fresh raspberries

Preparation

  1. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat, drop in the bacon bits and stir frequently until cooked through and crispy, about five to six minutes. When done, remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and let cool on a paper towel lined plate.

  2. Add the red onion slices to the bacon fat and let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. When done, remove these from the pan with a slotted spoon as well and set aside.

  3. Add the olive oil and champagne vinegar to the pan with a pinch of sea salt. Warning: lower the heat on your stove before adding the vinegar, as it creates a good amount of steam and sends some hot oil flying everywhere––but just for a couple seconds!

  4. Stir the oils and vinegar together and scrape up and stuck on bacon bits from the pan, let this dressing simmer for about a minute.

  5. While the dressing cooks, combine the spinach, raspberries, bacon, and red onions in a medium sized bowl.

  6. Remove the dressing from the heat and pour directly onto the salad, tossing to coat evenly as you pour. This will slightly wilt the spinach leaves.

  7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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