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Spinach and Bacon Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Most people think of bacon as primarily a breakfast and brunch food. And yet, bacon has all sorts of potential for meals throughout the day. 

For those of you wondering how to sneak in a helping of bacon at dinnertime, check out this spinach and bacon salad with warm bacon vinaigrette. That’s right — there’s bacon in the salad and bacon in the dressing!

The star of this salad is the Maverick Ranch Natural Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon, part of the Frontière Natural Meats family of products. This thick-cut bacon is made from center-cut pork bellies with a slightly sweet, slightly smoky flavor.

Frontiere Natural Meats bacon with salad ingredients

When coming up with this particular recipe, we were sure to incorporate some of our favorite salad ingredients. Baby spinach is a great salad base since the leaves are tender yet slow to wilt, holding up well under a warm dressing like this.

Mushrooms add earthiness (we sauté them in this recipe, but if you prefer them raw, just skip that step!). Avocados bring in a smooth texture and healthy omega-3s (after all, we never said this salad was low-fat!). A good salad always has some type of cheese, and although we chose bleu cheese for this recipe, crumbly feta or shaved Parmesan would work well here. Finally, some soft-boiled eggs add even more protein and another nod to a typical breakfast food re-imagined. 

The beauty of this salad is that you can make almost all the cooked ingredients using a single pan on the stovetop. We recommend a cast-iron skillet. Start by cooking the bacon, and remember to save that bacon fat — it’s essential for the warm bacon vinaigrette.

You can also prepare all the ingredients ahead of time and assemble them later. Simply reheat the dressing in the skillet or microwave before tossing it with the greens. 

And, if you want to eat this salad for breakfast … be our guest!

Spinach and Bacon Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Serves four

Ingredients

For the salad:
12 oz (12 slices) Maverick Ranch Natural Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon, cooked and chopped (grease reserved)
4 eggs
8 oz Baby Bella mushrooms
8 oz spinach
2 oz bleu cheese
1 avocado, cubed

For the vinaigrette:
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup of reserved bacon grease

Method

In a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon slices in a single layer to your desired doneness. You may have to work in batches. Allow the cooked bacon to cool on a plate lined with paper towels. Crumble or chop with a knife and set aside.

Bacon cooking in a skillet Strips of bacon sizzling in a skillet

While the bacon cooks, place the eggs in a small saucepot and cover them with cold water. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Then, cover the pot, remove from the heat and set a timer for 7 minutes (10 if you prefer a firm yolk). Rinse with cool water and set aside.

Eggs boiling in a pot

Meanwhile, wash and slice the mushrooms. (We recommend placing the mushrooms in a bowl of clean water, gently rubbing off any dirt or debris with your hands, then rinsing thoroughly and drying on a towel. Cut off the very bottom of the stems, then slice the mushrooms and set aside.)

Sliced mushrooms on a cutting board Chopped bacon by a knife

Once all the bacon has been cooked, remove it to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow to cool and then roughly chop or crumble into bits.

Carefully pour the bacon fat into a heat-proof measuring cup or bowl. Add one tablespoon of fat back into the cast-iron pan, then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until softened and brown. Remove the cooked mushrooms and set them aside.

Keep the pan over medium-high heat and add the diced shallots. Sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the sugar, mustard and vinegar. Whisk to combine. Then slowly add the bacon fat back to the pan, whisking to combine. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Turn the heat to low.

Pouring ingredients into a cast iron skillet Whisking vinaigrette in a skillet

Peel and slice the boiled eggs.

Place the spinach on a platter. Top with the cooked, chopped bacon, mushrooms, cheese, avocado and eggs. Pour the warm bacon dressing over the top and toss well. Serve immediately.

Pouring vinaigrette over salad