The Best Spinach Salad

Bacon and dates and pumpkin seeds, oh my!

This is one of the best salads I’ve ever made. Spinach, sweet dates, crispy bacon, pumpkin seeds, and mushrooms, and gruyere are tossed with a homemade red wine vinaigrette for a beautiful combination. I was so pleased that I honestly could have had a slightly larger size with some grilled chicken and been a happy camper for dinner!

The Best Spinach Salad

Photography by The Darling Photographer

I served this at my Fall Dinner at the Farm along with pretzel rolls. The recipe below is for six, as I served it, but you could easily translate it for 1, 2, or 4. I basically did 1 cup of spinach per person plus 1/2 a strip of bacon, 2 dates, 2 mushrooms, 1 oz gruyere, and a spoonful of pumpkin seeds. It’s easy to make as much or as little as you want!

The Best Spinach Salad

I always use HEB cherrywood smoked bacon from Central Market. It makes an enormous difference so if you want it to taste truly Rose Table, that’s my go-to bacon. Whatever bacon you buy, make sure it’s thick cut. You’ll want the raw bacon into strips (lardons, as the French say) and throw the strips in a nonstick fry pan. Turn the pan on and let it slowly heat up. If you throw bacon onto a hot pan, it will seize. Babysit the little lardons and remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to drain. I’m a total bacon snob and I don’t think I’ve ever really delved into my bacon cooking tips here on The Rose Table before, so there you go!

The Best Spinach Salad | The Rose Table

This dressing is awesome. It’s my mom’s red wine vinaigrette recipe from the 1970s. It’s so simple with just a few ingredients but wow, it’s just perfect with the bacon and gruyere. Last sentence aside, this is a pretty healthy salad. Spinach of course is a super food, as are dates. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc so I often add them to salads. I eat them in salad year round but they’re so appropriate for fall entertaining! I hope you love this salad as much as I do.

Note: the garlic clove should sit in the vinegar for one hour so keep that in mind when making this.

The Best Spinach Salad | The Rose Table
The Best Spinach Salad
6 cups spinach 
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 
12 dates, cut into small pieces
12 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
6 oz gruyere, cubed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
Red wine vinaigrette, recipe follows

  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Right before serving, toss with red wine vinaigrette.

Red wine vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, sliced

1/3 cup olive oil
Dash salt, pepper 

  1. Let garlic clove stand in vinegar for 1 hour. Strain garlic. Whisk vinegar with olive oil and salt and pepper, seasoning to taste.

Read more about the Fall Dinner at the Farm here. Watch the video highlights:

Enjoy the season,

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