So, I’m not actually a huge salad person, or at least I wasn’t always. They have to bring a little something extra to the table (pun intended) for me to go along. I find it especially difficult to choose a salad at a restaurant because I feel like I’m going to leave hungry. But, salads these days are stepping up their game, getting heartier and more creative. This one I made at home a few days ago is no different.

My husband put the idea in my head for a wilted spinach salad, then I extrapolated the idea to include as much bacon and crunch as possible. Let us begin… Here’s what you’ll need:

Lots of spinach. It shrinks when you wilt it, so 2 cups is reduced to less than one serving. I would plan on 3 loosely packed cups per person if this is your entrée.

Everything else is based on 2 entrée servings or 6 cups of spinach.

Bacon, to crumble on the salad. We’ll use the drippings three ways.

1 cup cashews, raw and unsalted

Your favorite additional salad fixings. I used red onion, cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado.

For the dressing:

1 TBSP Olive oil

½ TBSP Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Crisp up the bacon in a skillet and let drain on a paper towel or rack. Reserve about ½ TBSP of drippings in a bowl.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the cashews. Keep them moving around so they don’t burn.  Once they’re all golden brown, remove onto a paper towel.

Place a large handful of spinach into the skillet. Just as it starts to soften, pull it out with tongs and place in you salad bowl. Add the next handful. (If your skillet is large enough, you won’t need to do this in batches).

Whisk together the reserved bacon drippings, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Crumble the bacon and add it and the cashews to the wilted spinach. Add other desired ingredients. Drizzle with the bacon-balsamic, toss and enjoy!

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