spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette

Happy Pie For Breakfast Day, friends! Do you see what I did there? I made it official, which means that you need not feel any regret that you may have innocently come upon a lonely wedge of leftover pie in the fridge this morning, and before you knew it, before you could responsibly hash out the pros and cons of setting your day to the tune of pie, and not, say, a muesli, fresh fruit and herbal tea detox, you in fact did have pie for breakfast and it was wonderful. You need not feel any regret because it’s a holiday, and it was important that you joined in the celebration. You were only doing your part. (Gobble, gobble.)

baby spinach
sliced button mushrooms

And now that we got that out of the way, I bet you could go for a salad. No, not a Salad of Thanksgiving Repentance; that would be rather dull. It might include wheat germ, and it’s too soon for all of that. I firmly believe that on the road from total overindulgence to the kind of mood that leads to my gym being jam-packed with Resolutes on January 1st, there should be some in-between. A salad, yes, one with several whole and wholesome ingredients, but also one that you look forward to eating because it in fact tastes amazing. And for that, I nominate this one. It comes with a warm bacon vinaigrette and old-school vibe. It’s not even a little sorry.

thick, thick bacon

Before I took off to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, Washington DC, Toronto and Chicago on the whirlwind last few weeks of the book tour during which I have missed you all terribly, I went on a serious spinach salad bender, surprising nobody more than myself. If you’d offered me this salad any time in the last 15 years, I’d have pushed it away without regret. For a while there, spinach salads were both ubiquitous and terrible, the classic flavors co-opted with everything from raspberry vinaigrette to honey-drenched walnuts better suited for an ice cream sundae topping. But as will always happen, after a long break, I started craving the old-school version, the one you might have found on a steakhouse menu up until a while ago, and I think it’s fairly well established how warmly I feel about steakhouse classic salads. This one belongs back among their ranks.

thick bacon, diced small
crisping bacon into bits
sizzling vinaigrette, cold saald

A bright pile of baby spinach leaves is scattered with wispy slivers of red onion, thinly sliced white mushrooms (please, no fancy mushrooms here), coins of hard-cooked egg and then the piece de resistance, tiny bits of bacon rendered in a pan until crisp and salty and perfect, and its smoky renderings whisked with a pinch of Dijon and red wine vinaigrette in a skillet to make a quick, hot dressing that you pour over the salad, gently wilting the onion, spinach and mushrooms and leaving you wondering why you don’t make this every week of the year. You should. There’s still time.

spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette

Book Tour: To say that the last few weeks of book tour-ing and meeting so many wonderful people have been incredible would be the understatement of the century. They’ve been mindblowing, overwhelming, humbling and maybe a tiny bit exhausting, but a good exhausting. One I’d do again in a heartbeat. Which is awesome, as it’s not over yet. Boston I know both the Tuesday and Wednesday events are sold out (boo!) but both include details about how you can stop by a bit later for a signing, even if you couldn’t get tickets. I hope I will get to see everyone that missed out. Darien, I can’t wait to see your beautiful library on Thursday. Texas, I will be counting down the second until I can finally get to Book People on Friday in Austin and Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston on Saturday. [All Book Tour Details, here.]

One year ago: Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Biscuits
Two years ago: Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
Three years ago: Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Four years ago: Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips
Five years ago: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples, Roasted Stuffed Onions and Simplest Apple Tart
Six years ago: Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw and Indian-Spiced Vegetable Fritters

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Adapted from several places, but my favorite version is Alton Brown’s

To hard-boil eggs, well, there are a million approaches out there (see this comment section if you don’t believe me). Mine is to cover a large egg with cold water and put it on the stove and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, set a timer to exactly 9 or 10 minutes, and reduce the heat to medium. Once it’s done, I often plunge it in icy water so that it will stop cooking immediately and also chill quickly. At 9 minutes, large eggs will be a little tender in the center, as you can see in the top photo. At 10, it will be a fully-cooked (but not overcooked) egg.

If you’re freaked out by raw red onion, you can actually add it to the dressing in the skillet for the last 10 seconds to soften it and remove more of the bite, and pour the onions and dressing over the salad together.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 spinach salad enthusiasts

4 ounces baby spinach
2 large white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 small or medium red onion, very thinly sliced
1 large egg, hard-boiled (see above), chilled, peeled and thinly sliced
4 pieces thick-sliced bacon (about 4 ounces), finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place spinach in a large, wide salad serving bowl. Scatter with mushrooms, red onion (see above for a different, mellower way to add the onions) and coins of hard-boiled egg. In a large skillet, fry bacon bits over medium-high heat until they’re brown and crisp and have rendered their fat. Use a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the skillet and spread them on a piece of paper towel briefly before sprinkling them over the salad. Pour out all but two tablespoons of hot bacon fat from the skillet. Reheat over medium and quickly whisk in the red wine vinegar, honey and Dijon. Pour over entire salad and season salt and pepper. Toss gently and serve hot. Repeat tomorrow night.

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235 comments on spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette

  1. This is also a new twist on an old favorite my mom used to make! Speaking of my mom, we spent the day after Thanksgiving perusing the Smitten Kitchen cookbook! We were imagining delicious meals, but not ready to cook again any time soon!

  2. My grandparents used to take me to a restaurant that made spinach salad table side. Its one of the only times I like raw mushrooms, but they have to be super thinly sliced.

  3. Sandy

    Yes, pumpkin pie for breakfast! My mother used to make this salad in the 70’s. I loved it but never have made it myself. Thank you for the inspiration!

  4. Looks great, but I hate raw mushrooms (the texture is just so dry, and I don’t feel they have much flavor). Would giving them a quick saute ruin everything?

  5. I love pie for breakfast, pretty much anytime there is a suitably tasty and breakfast worthy pie in my kitchen. Thank you, though, for making today the official pie for breakfast day!

  6. When I was growing up, there was a fancy restaurant in town that made this salad. It was my favorite part of the whole meal. I know how addicting it can be, and this will be making an appearance on my table as soon as all the leftovers are gone.

  7. Carmen

    I must give this a try! There is a local restaurant that does a similar salad with grilled chicken but is also warmed.

    Can’t wait to try this one out and maybe try it as a warmed salad too.

  8. JP

    I think plunging the eggs into ice water when they have finished cooking and slightly breaking the shells is supposed to help them peel more easily, but I have never found a method that works every time. If I am making egg salad for family sandwiches, it works perfectly, but if I am making deviled eggs for guests, the eggs stick to the shell like crazy. sigh. :)

    1. deb

      JP — The eggs know and I think they like to taunt us. ;)

      Chana — No reason you cannot. You might also take the onions-in-vinaigrette approach I mention in the head notes with mushrooms instead.

  9. Kasey

    I made your icebox cake for Thanksgiving yesterday and everyone loved it! The recipe was much requested so I sent them all links to your website today. :) This salad looks delicious! I’m still anxiously awaiting the arrival of your cookbook, which I ordered from Amazon a while ago. Thank you for all your awesome recipes Deb!

  10. Haha! I totally had a couple of bites of pumpkin pie this morning along with my oatmeal – I figured there was nothing wrong with having dessert after / with my breakfast :) Having this salad for lunch sounds like the perfect addition to my day!

  11. Jennifer B

    Very similar to the classic spinach salad my family knows and loves. We often put crisp bean sprouts and sliced water chestnuts into the salad – the water chestnuts especially keep their crunch even at the other things soften a bit in the warm dressing.

  12. Such a classic. I remember, years ago, when restaurants would serve warm spinach salads and they seemed so exotic. I think a lot of us are looking to something green today, at least. After all, the decadent indulgences have now officially begun, and we won’t see anything remotely healthy until Jan. 2, when remorse sets in.

  13. I’m wondering if I can make this with veggie bacon since we don’t bring bacon into our house. Hmmm…

    BTW: My Dad just told me your cookbook is #2 on the NYT Best Sellers List. Congratulations Deb! That’s an incredible accomplishment. (And I can say I knew you when…) You should be so proud of yourself.

  14. Hm, reminds me of a certain salad made with radishes and balsamic instead of mushrooms. I’m surprised you didn’t poach the eggs, seeing as you’re always looking for an excuse to! Do you have any good turnip recipes or ideas? Thanks, and congrats on the cookbook.

  15. beka

    Salad scmaldid. I made your amazing deepdish apple pie for thanksgiving and was the most popular girl at the table. YUM. thank you for lovely book and delicious thanksgiving treat.

  16. Don Hilliard

    It was an ironclad rule in my family (and my sister and I have continued it) that any pie containing fruit or vegetable is de facto a breakfast food.

    Stacey@27: You might be able to get a pretty good equivalent with the veggie bacon by cooking it in a bit of oil (which will help it crisp more and give you some ‘dripping’ to work with), and adding a little mild liquid smoke (which is vegetarian) to approximate the flavor.

  17. FYI, you can also soak raw onion in ice cold water to remove some of the not-appealing raw taste/smell while you put together the rest of the salad, then drain and add before you top with the dressing. I personally hate raw onion, but will eat them if I prepare them like this.

    Also, it was so great to meet you in Chicago! I made the popcorn cookies as soon as I got home and they barely lasted the rest day.

  18. Amy

    This looks great, definitely putting on the menu for this week!

    Also, I made your Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Graham Cracker crust for Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE HIT. Thank you so much, you never let me down!

  19. Dana

    If your book tour is bringing you to Vancouver BC or Calgary AB, head to old school steakhouse Hy’s for spinach salad. Tossed tableside, dressing heated on a little tableside burner…

  20. Sally

    I’m not much of a pie fan, so pie for breakfast doesn’t do it for me. However, I love crisps and cobblers and will (and do) gladly eat a serving or two for breakfast.

    The spinach salad looks great and is very appealing right now.

  21. Alice

    Breakfast was a slice of your delicious gingerbread apple updown cake with whipped cream. Your recipes make me look like a rock star in the kitchen! Thanks for all you do. It was great to hear your previous interview on NPR. I hope DH takes the big hint (we discussed the interview) and picks up a copy of your book for Christmas for me. This salad looks perfect–making the grocery list now.

  22. Diane from DC

    Yep, salad is probably what’s best right now, given the feast I had. Can’t wait to make this. I missed your DC stop but I hope you’ll be able to swing back at some point.

  23. I think my original comment may have gone to you spam folder. As I said previously that I have to agree with the other commenters that this is definitely a great time for salads. I am vegetarian so I was trying to figure out a substitute for the bacon. This looks great. :)

  24. Hilary

    oooo!! I used to make a salad close to this one, but haven’t in a long time. Looks like a good time to go back!

    Do you think that you will be rescheduling a New York book tour stop? I didn’t mind the week off of work, but had been planning, pre-Sandy, to hit up your signing.
    Also – I just used your cheese straw recipe, salted caramel recipe and a modified version of your buttercream frosting recipe (made it maple-buttercream to go with pumpkin cake) for a very successful Thanksgiving meal yesterday. Still need to email a couple of guests the links to these gems. Thanks and happy holidays!!

  25. WHAT??? You were in Vancouver? How did I miss that? This salad looks great but …really…you came to Vancouver and I did not know?? I have a box of your new book just waiting to give to friends at Christmas. Huge fan.

  26. No pie in this house for breakfast this morning being as we are north of the border but I’m on my 4th or 5th version of breakfast crisp – my husband vacuums them up like nobody’s business before anyone can get a spoon in. So thanks for the recipe (so far I’ve done apricot, strawberry and blackberry/raspberry/peach). Sadly I didn’t see this salad recipe before I sauted spinach for supper – that salad looks delish.

  27. Oh wow what a beautiful picture. Thank you for reminding me of this salad, we just love it and can have for any meal of the day. On it’s own :-)

    Wishing you great luck for the book, you are spreading good vibes with your food :-)

  28. Jaime

    Pie for breakfast? Oops. I had it three times today. But not without devouring a batch of the pea alfredo from your book – it is my toddler’s new favorite meal (in fact, whenever she sees me open your book she screams “nom nom nom!”), and we just happen to have fresh peas flourishing in our Santa Cruz garden right now.

    Now I need to go buy bacon…

  29. Janelle

    mmmm, that does look tasty–as does everything in your book! Can I just say that you have a way of talking me into trying anything? If I’m uncertain to start with, and even if it contains things I’m not normally a fan of, all I have to do is read your intro to the recipe and that’s all it takes! I’m practically in the kitchen making it moments later! Thank you!!

  30. Deb – this salad looks amazing. While it might require a trip to the grocery (spinach didn’t seem to make it onto my holiday shopping list), this totally looks worth it. Can’t wait…

  31. Totally unconnected to the post (although I did eat pumpkin pie for breakfast today, yay!) my copy of your cookbook came in the mail, at last, after being stranded at the end of the line outside the book signing in San Francisco! It was lovely to meet you. And after thoroughly appreciating the book jacket, I threw it away, in your honor. So much better without! x

  32. I could tell I would love this salad, before I even read the post. I’m such a mushroom fan and I love hard boiled eggs in my salad – and both of those things are great with spinach salad…especially if there’s bacon involved. You’ve hit all the right buttons here! I will be making this salad soon! Lord knows I could use it after all that yummy Thanksgiving feasting!

  33. Michelle

    I love this salad! But I have to tell you I setimes cheat. Whole foods makes a packaged spinach salad with eggs, mushrooms, red onion, bacon and a mustard dressing. I bring it home, throw the bacon in the pan to crisp up, throw in all the onions and mushrooms for a minute to take the edge off, turn off the heat and add the cup of dressing to the pan to get it warm. Toss the spinach in a big bowl an pour the dressing and stuff over the top. Quick if you don’t want to shop for all of the ingredients because you know you won’t be home to cook any other nights this week…

  34. Warm bacon grease over anything is delicious. Nevermind that it’s over veggies! I made something similar with Brussels sprouts recently but didn’t think to add egg or mushroom. Another reason to experiment with more bacon grease. ;-)

  35. Susan

    Ever since you featured pickled onions, I have never not put my salad onions in the vinegar for the dressing for at least a few minutes. It makes such a difference! I haven’t had this salad in years…and you’re right, it’s too good to let it go by the wayside.

  36. tunie

    Used to have a salad so much like this one; warm vinaigrette with sauteed chicken giblets over a mache salad at my fav. french bistro in Georgetown, DC – much like spinach but without the oxcylate acid and with a nutty flavor. Difficult to come by though.

  37. Debby

    Yes, I did have pie yesterday in the morning – or pumpkin tart from your book that was the first pumpkin “pie” i’ve ever liked! and right in front of my “health conscienc
    ” family. Also am making your smores cake for my daughter’s birthday – I have so enjoyed your book and do as much cooking from it and I have read it! Congratulations!

  38. Karen

    Mmmm, yummy!

    Deb – Your book just arrived, and I have already dog-eared sooooo many recipes!

    Thank you for including a ton of wonderful, scrumptious photos! My pet peeve is recipe books that have, like, 4 photos. Food is such a visual medium, and you seem to be one of the very few who understand that.

    I’m giving copies of your book as Christmas gifts (lucky recipients!).
    Congratulations on a spectacular accomplishment!

  39. Can I tell you again how much I love your cookbook? I love your cookbook. I made your mom’s apple cake for Thanksgiving and it was, as promised, a hit. It’s delicious. I just had the last piece for breakfast. I’m happy. This holiday season I’m thankful for Smitten Kitchen, your wonderful recipes and your humor! Best to you and your family, Deb!

  40. Dinnc

    The pumpkin pie was finished off last night so I had to content myself with warm apple pie for breakfast — one of my favorite breakfasts ever. I like the classic spinach salad recipe you’ve just posted. Sometimes I go a little less than classic and instead of raw mushrooms and hardboiled eggs, I throw in lightly sauteed sliced apples (with skins on) and sauteed onions. It’s a little harder to toss but equally delicious!

    I’m sure the Darien book signing will be a mob scene but am hoping to get there nonetheless.

  41. Sarah

    I picked up your book at Poets and Prose in DC and you said I might like the cauliflower pesto pasta. Made it last night and it was a huge hit! Hope you enjoyed your rest and the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  42. llaney

    I make spinach salad exactly this way (including tossing the onions and mushrooms in the dressing for about 10 seconds) except I sprinkle it with pomegrante seeds for Christmas dinner — the red and green give it such a holiday appeal!

  43. How did you know I ate pie for breakfast this morning! Left over apple crisp pie with plain cheesecake all in one bowl. It was good and I don’t, really, regret it. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  44. What a delish way to detox from the holiday binge. I love the sound of bacon vinaigrette on crisp spinach. And by the way, those slabs of bacon are calling out to me. So I must make this one today. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday!

  45. Stephanie

    The only thing that makes this dish more delicious would be to add a dollop of mayo in at the end of the dressing making process and stir. ….creamy bacon… mmmmmm

  46. Cath

    Rather than pie for breakfast, I had leftover sweet potatoes. No, nevermind that there’s so much sugar in the potatoes and topping that it’s basically a potato cobbler. I had *vegetables* for breakfast. Pure genius.

  47. Tracy

    I’ve made a veggie version of this for veggie guests, sauteeing chick peas and sliced hearts of palm until crisped on the outside. Remove them with a slotted spoon, then squeeze lemon juice into the hot olive oil, off the heat. Season and dress the salad. Delish too!

  48. Loved it!!! I was planning on spinach salad tonight and fate had me sit down to your blog just before starting dinner. It was awesome!! I will definitely be doing this again. Thanks so much…and by the way, I love your cookbook. I have already made your s’mores cake! Thanks again.

  49. sarah

    Your Pie Crust 102 and 103 have officially changed my life forever. Thanks so much for what you have done to take the fear and loathing out of pie-baking. It was “easy-peasy” as my little daughter would say. Now she’ll grow up knowing it’s fun to bake pie from scratch. I thoroughly enjoyed making it this Thanksgiving and watching family and friends gobble it up.

  50. DELICIOUS. On thanksgiving we made a sweet potato side dish of tiny cubed sweet potatoes cooked to an almost crisp in, yes, bacon fat (along with a bunch of fresh herbs & salt & pepper.) We’ve been eating the leftovers for breakfast with eggs this weekend & I’m betting the small bit that’s left will be delicious served on this salad for brunch tomorrow. Thank you!

  51. Funnily enough, this IS, basically, the salad my family eats on Thanksgiving (and Christmas, and pretty much any other time the good china comes out). Ours does not have the hard boiled eggs, because we all detest them, but I can understand how, in principal, they are a solid addition.

  52. jan

    My mother made this often in the spring with new tender dandelions which my brother & I harvested in the back yard for 5 cents per scrub bucket full. She omitted the mushrooms. Not having anyone to harvest the dandelions, I now substitute spinach and make many, many variations–all good. (Mom’s dressing was bacon grease, vinegar & sugar.)

  53. CM

    There used to be an Italian chain restaurant that had a salad like this, only they included halved red grapes. It was a surprisingly tasty addition to the spinach/bacon salad.

  54. ellina

    Deb, my copy of the book arrived on Friday, and I love it! Breakfast yesterday was pancakes, sans apricots, for obvious reasons, and it was the best and fluffiest pancakes ever! I made the lemon bars to take to take to a lunch we ‘re invited to today. I had some problems: The filling mixture looked curdled. It was OK once it hit he oven, but I think it released some butter at the edges while baking. The flavour was wonderful, so I’m assuming the ingredients were OK, but what did I do wrong technique-wise? I’d appreciate it if you could help, as we would really like to make (and eat) these quite often! thank you!

    1. deb

      Hi Ellina — The filling does look uneven going into the oven (the lemon won’t get totally smooth) but I never noticed any butter releasing (but it’s not absurd that it would; this definitely happens in some buttery baked goods). Glad you’re happy with the taste!

      Hi Hilary — So… uh… it was rescheduled! But the event passed. I’m sorry we failed to communicate this (I mentioned it at the end of the last post, and on Facebook, and on the Book Tour page, of course). Nevertheless, I have a few other NYC events coming up. I’ll be at Fish’s Eddy on Dec. 11th and the Mid-Manhattan Library on the 17th. All the details are on this page; I post updates there as well. Hope we will get to finally meet!

  55. Heather

    Re:eggs being hard to peel. It has nothing to do with how they are cooked but how old the egg is. Fresher eggs are harder to peel and older eggs are easier.

  56. I have the answer to the “why do some eggs peel easily and some not – even in the same darn batch!” question. It depends on how fresh they are. Freshly laid eggs do NOT peel well no matter what the cooking or peeling method. I have hens, so I try to keep some “older” eggs in the back of the egg container for when I want hard-boiled. I am not sure how old commercial eggs are when they get to market, but see no reason why the same technique won’t work with those.

  57. Kim Stebbins

    Thank you for reviving this recipe! I haven’t eaten it in years and am looking forward to making this one–I have been on a recipe revival kick lately.
    PS I am from the south and I happen to know that almost everything is better with a little bacon grease (though I don’t often indulge)!

  58. Kimberly

    Aside from the quick pickle method for taming raw onions, I sometimes put them in ice water (after slicing, chopping, etc) for about 30 minutes. It’s a tip that I picked up from the Splendid Table and it really seems to cut down on the heartburn effect.

    My brother gifted me a signed copy of your book from the University Bookstore in Seattle – love it! Just filled the fridge with ingredients for a fun week of cooking.

  59. Anna

    Deb, you are a genius. I used to eat these things all of the time. In my area, they kind of just slipped away from all the restruants. But now I can make my own! A conversation I had with my family the day after Thanksgiving: No, I’m not eating pie for breakfast… it just looks that way.

  60. Don Hilliard

    Carol@89: ” I am not sure how old commercial eggs are when they get to market…”

    Egg cartons will have, in addition to the sell-by date, a three-digit number on the same stamp: this is the date the eggs were packed on (in Julian-calendar format, where 001 = 1 January and 365 = 31 December.) There’s probably one or more conversion apps for your smartphone, but you can approximate by averaging 30 days to the month.

    Older eggs do peel more easily when hard-boiled, but they’re also more likely to turn grayish on the outside of the yolk. Doesn’t affect the flavor, just the presentation. (My mother and grandmother also swore that older eggs worked better for cake baking; I haven’t done enough of that to verify it!)

  61. I don’t like cooked spinach, so I always try to find new idea to eat it raw and this salad is one of the most interesting recipes I’ve seen lately that could solve my problem. I’m actually going through a phase where I’m tired of soups or steaks and I would eat simple salads all day long. So this is a recipe I will most certainly try this week.

  62. suzanprincess

    EASY, ELEGANT EGGS CAN BE YOURS! After years of fighting those pesky stuck eggshells I discovered the no-fail peeling method: Crack the egg all over, then slip the tip of a teaspoon inside the shell at the flat end, and GENTLY work it around and down the egg, loosening a spiral strip of shell. Do it under running water for even better results.

  63. Anna

    I made this this past weekend and it was really good. I don’t care for completely raw onions, so I did as you recommended and threw the onions in the 2 tbps bacon fat for a minute, then whisked them in with the vinaigrette. It worked great. Also, I used arugula instead of fresh spinach. We made this to accompany your sesame turkey meatballs and chickpea salad from the cookbook. Awesome combo, and a great meal all around.

  64. Katie C.

    Pie for breakfast is a tradition in my family, or at least for me. I love the old Bill Crosby shtick where he feeds his kids cake for breakfast – what, it’s got all the basic ingrediants: eggs, flour, milk…what’s wrong with that?! We usually have banana cream pie for the holidays. Sounds like breakfast to me!

  65. Kim M

    hi Deb! I made your carmelized onion cornbread & ATTEMPTED the s’more pie. Cornbread was fantastic! i had to cook it a bit longer than you advised in my oven, but days later it was still great, the flavors married so well.

    the s’more pie! WELL, the chocolate pie part and the crust were great. I should have listened to you though and bought a candy thermometer. Big mistake. Big. Huge. Without getting the corn syrup mixture to 260 degrees, i guess it was too cold because it turned to GLUE in my mixer. And then stuck, and then had to be soaked overnight to get loose! The pie was fantastic still, so chocolatey and we had it with whipped cream. Next time, i will buy the darn thermometer!

  66. Kim M

    Deb – question about this recipe. Do you think the vinaigrette can be reheated the next day? (As in a take to work salad with the vinaigrette on the side heated in the microwave?)


  67. Laura WL

    Oh man. I love warm wilted spinach salad. There’s one with goat cheese at a local brewery that I just love to death. I am not usually a spinach fan, but when it’s slightly wilted? Perfection. Also, I LOVE how you use so many ingredients that people usually have sitting around the house. I am making this tonight!

  68. I proudly admit to eating pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. I had to argue against my boyfriend. But I will stoutly defend pie for breakfast…or for any meal, really. Same goes for ice cream, though I realize that’s more of a stretch for some.
    Loving your cookbook endlessly! Good luck with more touring!

  69. I had my Dad’s apple pie for breakfast (and maybe a little more for afternoon dessert). This salad fits the bill for dinner this week – maybe with a cup of butternut squash soup!

  70. Sara

    I have made Alton Brown’s spinach salad for a few special occasion dinners and it’s always a hit, even with my friends aren’t big fans of salad. Delicious!

  71. Kari D

    just jumping in to say….I just got an email from Amazon letting me know that they have Cyber Monday deals (what a shock, right?). BUT whose cookbook is there, over the link to the BEST Cookbooks of the Year? Need I say more!??!! Woo hoo, Ms. Perelman!

  72. David Cantor

    Hi Deb, Was so looking forward to the book signing in Bridgewater NJ on the 16th. Alas, I have to be somewhere else at exactly that time. So I’ll say now, “thank you for so many go-to recipes that my family loves!”

  73. Jessica Cody

    Do you mind telling me where you found the beautiful, rustic looking silverware that is shown in this picture and several others on this site? Congratulations on the book — it’s very warm and well written. I’m scheming on dipping some of those brioche pretzels into a wheel of melty brie!

  74. barbara lassiter

    My Grandmother used to eat pie for breakfast all the time and so do I sometimes. She made wonderful fruit pies and egg custard pies and I thought that they weren’t just for dessert but for breakfast too! I make a warm spinach salad similar to yours and we love it, even my husband who thought he didn’t like spinach!

  75. beanwean

    How funny–the special appetizer salad this week for the private club restaurant where I work is this very salad! And yes, we do steaks…local, grass-fed, bee-yoo-tee-ful steaks….

  76. Sarah

    Hi Deb! I’m one of the lucky few who gets to see you on Wednesday at the Coolidge Theatre. My coworker, Emily, scored tickets the day they went on sale, and she was kind enough to invite me along. We both work at a sandwich shop, Cutty’s, that’s a five minute drive or 15 minute walk from Coolidge Corner. If you’re hungry for a sandwich while you’re in town, come stop by! We’d keep the fan-girling under control. Either way, I can’t wait to hear about you and the book in a few days.

  77. This salad looks even better than the spinach salad that I love at a local restaurant that I frequent. I intend to make this soon – my mouth is watering at the very sight of it.

  78. Ama

    You are so right!!! After all that gobbling I was craving something green that was not lettuce…
    I made the salad and my family ate it so fast, I was not able to have seconds!

    I am glad that your book tour was such a success! Congrats!!!

  79. Morgan

    Delicious salad, made it last night! Threw in the onions a little early (with the bacon) and they gobbled up all the bacon grease & I had to cook up another piece (alas) to have some grease for the dressing. All in all, a great salad, I made it with the quick white bean soup posted here from a few years ago!

  80. Kim in MD

    Yum! I love spinach salad! I try to each one for lunch everyday, so I like to change it up. Your salad looks delicious, Deb. I agree about the many different ways to cook eggs, and that they tried to daunt us! ;-)

  81. liliMarlene

    Sounds great to me–my favorite version is from Donatella’s–their version has green
    beans and probably the best lemon vinaigrette dressing I’ve had. I order it everytime I’m there.

  82. Joanna Jones

    Thanks for this recipe — where do you source your bacon from? I get mine from Pasture Prime Family Farm, in Summerfield, FL. You can order direct online. They have Mangalitsa pork, which is hard to find — super yummy fatty, but it’s a different kind of fat that conventional, industrial-raised pork has. They also carry Berkshire pork. Anyhow, they’re true sustainable farmers, family run, and their animals are all-natural. They’re worth checking out. is their website. LOVE your recipes and writing — keep it coming!

  83. Chris

    I actually made a similar salad on Thanksgiving – minus the egg but plus dried cranberries, bleu cheese, and pepitas. I think I’ll add your egg as well and make it again for a light dinner or hearty lunch salad this week. Thanks Deb! (P.S. I’m a new fan of your site, and will see if I can wait for Santa to bring me your book – likely won’t last that long.)

  84. I LOVE spinich salads with bacon dressing. I think this was the only way my parents could get me to eat spinich. I guess that just proves that everyone loves bacon. :-) Thanks for the post… Now I need to have this.

  85. Lita

    This may be late for those who have finished turkey leftovers, but I didn’t get to cook my turkey until Sunday so have lots of it to play with. There was a family owned grocery store in the 70s and 80s in Racine, Wi that used to make the greatest turkey salad. At one time I was so fond of it that I would buy and cook a turkey breast just to make it. Never had a recipe, but the main ingredients are chunks of turkey, chunks of red delicious apples, chunks of water chestnuts tossed in a dressing of plain yogurt, Major Grey’s mango chutney, a bit of mayonnaise, curry, and honey. The yogurt makes this a nice, light snack, although I think it needs a bit of the fat from the mayo. I know that many people have the same disdain for red delicious apples as they do for iceberg lettuce, but they hold up well.
    Now, as I think about this salad with a couple decades more cooking experience than when I last made it, I’m imagining variations; scallion, walnuts, almonds, dried cranberries, a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, some fresh cilantro or parsley, a hint of garlic… Or maybe not – it tastes great as it is!
    Thank you for your lovely blog!

  86. Yum!! This is the healthier version of the hot spinach salad that I love…and I lived on for a while as a grad student..except mine didn’t contain boiled eggs or mushrooms. So, technically this one is miles heathier! Thank you.

  87. This salad is perfect for my house – we’re big bacon and egg eaters! I have never made a bacon vinaigrette homemade and will definitely be using your recipe. Your bacon looks fabulous and I bet it added a wonderful flavor to the salad!

  88. Nell

    So, so timely. Just bought a big bag of locally grown baby spinach, and have everything else needed. Already committed to a potato-turnip greens gratin for when the s.o. gets in from hockey, and this would be the perfect accompaniment.

    Have put the cookbook on my Christmas list. Best wishes for the next round of touring!

  89. SG

    I cook for two – I don’t like mushrooms, he can’t stand hard-boiled eggs. What else would you recommend adding that works with these flavors?

  90. I love a good spinach salad … and warm vinaigrette? count me in!

    Deb, I don’t comment much, but I’m a huge fan. I spent most of last night huddled in my bed reading your delicious new cookbook and I’m so excited. We’re making dutch babies this morning!

    Actually, I couldn’t help myself and wrote a little review on our blog:

    And I’m hoping to help you boost holiday sales :) It’s WONDERFUL! A hearty congratulations!!!

  91. pambeane

    This was the PERFECT post-Thanksgiving-and-leftovers dinner! Light, satisfying and delish! Another winner, Deb, and a new addition to my recipe file! xoxox

  92. Sally

    For SG @ 143 and others who don’t care for raw mushrooms. Leave them out, substitute olive oil for the bacon grease, serve the salad cold and add some freshly crumbled blue cheese–test for saltiness. And croutons, garlic or plain. I like to chop the egg up, too. I’m not a fan of big mouthfuls of dry egg yolk.

  93. Yum! This looks so good! I actually make a very similar vinaigrette, but mine doesn’t use any sugar and has nutritional yeast instead. It’s always a big hit with guests, but of course, putting bacon in a salad pretty much guarantees that!

  94. Kathryn

    Just popping in from LA to say, my God, your cookbook is so good. I’m savoring every page, every story. It’s like a novel but one that I want to put down every 2 minutes to see if I have ingredients in my cupboard. THANK YOU for your passionate brilliance. xo

  95. Maureen

    I so wanted to love your cookbook and I am sure many of the recipes ARE great but the format is awful. I hate recipes that are written in paragraphs and are not all on one page-just not user friendly.
    The photos all seem out of focus and dark as well.

    Guess I am in the minority.

    I do like your blog!

  96. dancing gal

    Hi there!

    I hope you are having a blast during the book tour! The book is beautiful, the photography is gorgeous and the recipes are mouthwatering!!! I’m so excited about it !!!
    Plus, (who knew?!) my soon-to-be birthday cake is in there, thanks Deb!
    I’m planning to make the “tiny but intense chocolate cake” for my birthday, since I’ll be having a birthday party for two :p
    But, (and now I’m crossing my fingers) I have a question… Why a springform pan? Would a normal 6″ cake pan have problems with releasing? Or would it be too short (meaning that a 3″high non-springform pan would be fine)?
    I’m only asking because a) I don’t already own any 6″ pans and b) my kitchen being tinier-than-tiny, and me thinking I’ll get far more use from a couple of normal (or high-sided) 6″ pans than a spring-form one, I’m wondering which one I should buy….
    BUT! If you tell me that it should absolutely be a springform, I’ll definitely go with that. I wouldn’t want to destroy my own birthday cake, would I?!

    I know that chances are you won’t see that or be able to answer in time, but I really hope so, because I need to decide pretty quickly and your help is more than welcome!!!!

    Thanks anyway!


    1. deb

      Hi Eliza — The springform is because the cake is tallish (at first) and also delicate, not the ideal kind to flip out and reverse (it probably won’t be easy to do because it has little weight to “fall” out when reversed). It’s worth trying in a regular pan if you think you can handle the extra work it may be to remove. 6″ springforms can also be used for half-sized cheesecakes, a half-sized Deepest Dish Apple Pie, and great tall mini-quiches as well as most birthday layer cakes (half-sized). I agree that they’re hardly the first pan that a kitchen needs, but mine was an excellent, inexpensive investment.

      Hi Maureen — Sorry to hear that you’re unhappy with the book’s page layout. We’d of course have preferred to be able to fit every recipe on a single page but it was absolutely not possible (we tried it a million ways). For a book to have a photo for each recipe and a longer introduction (i.e. the things we like on the site), most recipes will not then fit on the remainder of the page (and were we to leave it blank or stuff more photos in as filler, the book would have been even more pages, and expensive, which was out of the question). The only other choice was to nix photos or longer intros/stories and while that might work well for most cookbooks, it was not at all the vision we had for The Smitten Kitchen one! Should you prefer to see the information in a rolling format, the e-reader versions are lovely.

  97. dancing gal

    ps: I know that, probably, this wasn’t the best place for my relating to the book comments and questions, as it has nothing to do with this (gorgeous, by the way) salad, but I didn’t know where to post it… I hope it’s ok :)


  98. dancing gal

    Deb, thanks so much for answering!!!! You are so nice!
    I have to admit that you (and the 6″ springform) had me at “half-sized Deepest Dish Apple Pie”!!! Ok, at half-sized birthday cakes too :)
    Thanks so so much (again), I’m off to place my order (and then bake some chocolate peanut butter cookies!) and I’ll keep you posted how the cake went once my birthday is here!!!!


  99. Just saw your book in Anthropologie (the Omaha store, of all places, too) and was so excited!! Lots of my favorite things all in one place:) Congratulations. It’s on the Hanukkah list. Oh, and I blame your couldn’t-be-denied-delicious-looking latke recipes for the unfortunate fact that I just invited my husbands family over for their first Hanukkah feast in two weeks.

  100. Shan

    Hi Deb! Love the recipe, as usual, but the talking ads on the site are driving me CRAZY! They are making it tough to sneak peeks at recipes at work. Just saying :-)

  101. GosiaL

    yum…but I have a question ….what dessert would you do with St. Germain…I have one bottle ,and except drinking it , I don’t have idea how to use it …some chocolate combination ???

  102. I loved this culinary visit to the past. Warm spinach salads were all the rage with “ladies who lunch” decades ago, and they’re just as tasty now as then. I toasted you a thank you as we enjoyed this retro salad at dinner tonight. Now about that slice of pie for breakfast…

  103. I’ve always wanted to love this salad. Alas, me and raw mushrooms really just aren’t friends.

    But you know who are friends? You and Ina. My two favorite food people, together, making cookies? Mind-boggling, I tell you.

  104. Nicole

    Brilliant meal that kicked our weekend off on a perfect note. I added avocado and skipped the onion. My kids had mac n cheese and picked at some of the salad ingredients so it was a win/win. You always deliver high quality dishes. I adore your cooking style.

  105. Deb,
    I made your breakfast bars from “The Book” The batter smelled and tasted delicious mainly because of the almond extract and orange zest but the bars came out not so great. They look exactly like yours but they are kind of crumbly and the taste is not what I expected. They kind of taste like Nature Valley granola bars. Not sweet enough (I did use figs instead of dates because I cannot tell the difference clearly), there is a slight oil taste and the consistency is weird. Maybe I am not used to wheat germ. Let me know what you think. I found this woman who made your bars and she is very happy but I was disappointed. Other then this I miss your blog posts. It’s been over a week. Maybe you can have a blog post about your tour experiences.

  106. Cece

    I love your recipes. I really enjoy cooking now because of this website. I just bought your new cookbook as well!
    I know this is unrelated to this post, but can you maybe tell me the essentials I should always have in my fridge.

    1. deb

      Cece — I don’t have a single list. It’s mostly what you cook with the most. I tend to keep around milk, eggs, butter, and a few types of cheese (plus fresh fruit, vegetables, yogurt, leftovers, etc. etc.) I keep yeast and nuts in the freezer for longer storage.

      Anna — Sorry you did not like the bars. It might just be personal taste. I don’t think I will do a post about the tour because I really like to stick to recipe conversations, and not meta-conversations about things that have happened because of the site (not inherently interesting to a new readers). However, it’s been great fun and I look forward to being back on this site more often. SK has a single employee (me!) so when I’m crazy busy, something else in the SK universe always gives and I’m also bummed that it had to be the site for a month or so.

  107. Kara

    I omitted the mushrooms and used green onions instead of red. Delicious! Served with baked potatoes and the fixings tonight for dinner.

  108. Tracy

    This was so freakin’ good! I tweaked it just a bit; omitted the egg (didn’t want to hard boil eggs), added avocado, cooked the mushroom AND onion for just a few moments in the bacon fat, then made the dressing. WOW. Thanks so much Deb. Enjoy the remainder of your book tour! I’m so bummed I missed you in Los Angeles.

  109. Beau

    Very cool — we have nearly an identical salad on our menu at the restaurant I work at in Minneapolis. Our bacon vin is with rendered bacon, maple syrup, sherry vinegar. We toss spinach with the bacon vin, toasted/sliced almonds, slices mushrooms, and parm cheese. Top with a perfect 63 deg egg. Delicious.

  110. Marianne

    Deb, I made this salad for dinner last night. Delicious! I had an unopened 3 oz. package of chopped pancetta and some shallots leftover from Thanksgiving so I used them instead of the bacon and red onion, which I didn’t have on hand. My husband and I loved it! Definitely making this again. Congrats on your cook book! It’s on my wish list.

  111. Theresa

    I made this today for lunch and it was so good I’m making it tomorrow again. I just love that dressing! So yummie! I put half of the onions in the pan with the dressing and left the other half raw. Super yum! Thank you for that great recipe!

  112. LovelyLauren

    I am not usually a fan of spinach salads. The variety I’ve always had usually involved a sweet sticky dressing that I find quite unappealing. This, however, was delicious and really easy to make for one!

  113. Kasey

    Yay! I just got your autographed book in the mail and I couldn’t be happier! Deb, you rock! Thank you for all the wonderful meals, fun stories, and cute pictures of Jacob over the years.

  114. Alyssa

    Deb- I made this tonight and, while it was delicious, I found that there wasn’t enough vinaigrette for my taste. Perhaps if you like more dressing, you could keep all the bacon fat in the pan and up the amount of vinegar, dijon, and sugar. But, even with a light amount of dressing, this was fantastic.

  115. Paul Glotzer

    The many times I’ve viewed this dish (impressed with any “regular” blogging during what must be (have been?) an exhausting and gratifying book tour), I first see delicious clams interspersed in the greens, which gets me thinking you’re way more creative than I am, but maybe there’s a kernel of an idea in there, which is yours to run with, disregard as disgusting or whatever.

  116. Jacqueline

    I had so much fun copying this recipe for my collection because I cut/pasted all the variations from the notes. The ingredients will be on my shopping list regularly. Congrats on the NY Times article and the release of your book. You’re rockin!

  117. I love your cookbook! I’m actually offering it in a giveaway on my blog (that’s how AWESOME I thought it was!!!) And you know what? I had no idea how new it was. Also, I went into Barnes & Noble and your book was everywhere! I bet you’re excited about it (I absolutely love the introduction, by the way. You are hilarious!)

    I can’t say much about the bacon vinaigrette since I don’t eat pork, but as far as eggs go, have you ever given duck eggs a try? They’re about twice the size of a chicken egg, super rich, and their yolks are a bright orange. They’re a beautiful (not to mention tasty) addition to any salad.

  118. Katrina

    Made this salad last night………YUM! My teenage daughter was skeptical ’til she took her first bite and acknowledged the brilliance of pairing warm bacon fat with spinach, crisp bacon bits and rich egg chunks. Thank you!

  119. oh oh oh. the pizza shop i work at sells a wilted spinach salad with warm bacon vinegarette with sweet potato rounds, gorgonzola, and thin slices of red onion. its heaven in a salad…thought you might enjoy the combination!

  120. kristen

    we just enjoyed this beauty of a salad and i tell you what, it’s a new favourite in our little house. i was wondering about the scant amount of dressing but trusted the smitten and boy oh boy am i glad i did. deeeeeeeeeeelicious. i used two eggs but only because i knew to compensate for my brutal egg-hacking ways. thanks so much for posting this. finally a spinach salad that my husband won’t roll his eyes at :)

  121. One of our favorite restaurants in Brooklyn, Roman’s, had a similar salad with raw regular rather than baby spinach, which we’ve never used or tried in a salad till then. It was rather wonderful, and I’m wondering if you guys have ever tried any salads with regular rather than baby spinach, and if so, what your reaction was.

  122. Linnea

    I just made a salad of baby kale, spinach, acorn squash, red onions and blue cheese with this dressing and it was excellent! I kept reaching into the bowl with bits of bread to swipe up the left-over dressing. Yum!

  123. You were not kidding when you wrote “Repeat tomorrow night”. I made this salad twice in three days, it is just addictive!
    And if anyone might be wondering – it is great even the second day after being kept in the fridge over night. I had some leftover last night so decided to try storing it, and it held up great!

  124. Lisa

    I was wondering if you could suggest a substitute for baby spniach. I’m living in Germany, and that green is hard to find…. and i’m quite sad about it too.. but i used Germany Wursing or savoy cabbage instead of Chard the other day in the soup recenlty posted to great effect :)

  125. Dahlink

    Somehow I missed this post when it first appeared. My sister traditionally breakfasts on leftover stuffing the day (or two) after Thanksgiving–leaving more pie for the rest of us.

    The spinach reminded me of the time when the produce section of my local grocery store had a section labeled “Baby Spinach,” right next to a hand-made label that said “Teenaged Spinach.”

  126. Tina

    Hi Deb! I love this recipe …. But I would swear that when I made this a month or two ago, it was different. I remember shallots … Or am I delusional? :)

  127. Cindy

    Please forgive me if someone has already asked this – i cannot go through over 215 comments to make sure I’m not being redundant. I want to make this tonight but my husband is going fishing and would like me to save him leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Would he be able to reheat the dressing if I keep it aside? Either in a sauce pan or a microwave?


  128. Amy P

    I make a version of this and it’s my favourite! Sadly, it’s not my husband’s favourite, which means that it’s even better on the rare chance that I do make it. My version includes those canned mandarin oranges (the height of elegance, naturally) and some garlic and maple syrup in the dressing :)

  129. Breakfast was a slice of your delicious gingerbread apple updown cake with whipped cream. Your recipes make me look like a rock star in the kitchen! Thanks for all you do. It was great to hear your previous interview on NPR. I hope DH takes the big hint (we discussed the interview) and picks up a copy of your book for Christmas for me. This salad looks perfect–making the grocery list now.Happy Valentines Day 2016Happy Valentines Day images

  130. Stacey

    This vinaigrette is delightful! I tried the New York Times’ recipe for bacon jam yesterday (came out more like caramelized onions with some bacon pieces mixed in; quite tasty, but not what I was looking for). Anyways, it calls for pouring off most of the bacon fat, and despite my best intentions, I never end up using it up. We had planned on a dinner of salad and one of my favorite easy dishes: French potato salad w/dijon vinaigrette. I thought “Surely Deb has a recipe for a bacon dressing!” =) So, so easy, and worked beautifully on both the salad and the potatoes, which are supposed to be served warm anyways.

  131. Sophie Lafferty

    I made this Sunday night to go with our Rib eye steak dinner and it was a perfect “old school” meal. Using what I had on hand, I subbed green onion for the red onion, raspberry vinegar for red wine vinegar, and to make this “keto-friendly”, I used monkfruit sweetener instead of sugar. Also left out the mushrooms (none on hand.)
    Really, really good!

  132. Tigerlily

    I used this dressing over arugula, diced onion, and roasted white sweet potato cubes, in a riff of your classic. It was great and I’m glad I have more sweet potatoes to make it again. It was similar to a German potato salad on top of fresh greens.