Wilted Spinach Salad recipe with warm bacon dressing, eggs, and red onion is the delicious side dish or light lunch you didn’t know you were missing.
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Wilted spinach salad is an old-fashioned, healthy salad that’s so good we are making it today. This classic salad recipe is made by pouring a warm bacon vinaigrette over fresh spinach then topping with hard boiled eggs and red onion.
If you love wilted spinach, you will love this warm spinach salad! It’s more like a side dish to pair with your favorite main dish but also easy to throw together for a quick and delicious lunch.
Ingredients for Wilted Spinach Salad
Wilted spinach salad is made with a short list of fresh ingredients and kitchen staples.
- Bacon: Diced for crisp bacon bits, and bacon drippings are then used to make the addictive salad dressing.
- Hard boiled eggs: Grated so they are light and fluffy.
- Baby spinach: Bite-size leaves are more tender and flavorful. If you have mature spinach, trim off the stems and tear the spinach leaves into smaller pieces. Then wash well to remove any grit.
- Fresh red onion: Adds bright color, crunch, and a mild-spicy flavor to wilted spinach salad.
- Dressing: Red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.
How to Make Wilted Spinach Salad
This wilted spinach salad recipe is cooked in one pan and ready in 20 minutes! Full recipe card is below.
- Cook bacon: Preheat large skillet on medium heat, add bacon and sauté until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon onto a plate. Reserve bacon fat in the skillet and reduce heat to low.
- Make the dressing: Add vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir and simmer for up to one minute then turn off heat.
- Wilt spinach: Toss in spinach, coat in warm bacon salad dressing and let it wilt just a bit.
- Add toppings and serve: Transfer wilted spinach to a large bowl then top with crispy bacon bits, red onion, and grated hard boiled eggs. Serve warm.
Tips for Best Results
Here’s the secret to making the greatest wilted spinach salad.
- Don’t overcook the spinach: Spinach leaves wilt very quickly, make sure to remove it from the skillet even before it looks done. Overcooked spinach will be limp with a bitter taste.
- Don’t leave salad in hot skillet: Once spinach is cooked, move salad to a large bowl in order to slow carryover cooking. The spinach takes seconds to wilt if left in the hot skillet.
- Don’t worry about the amount of spinach: It wilts a lot! You can add the spinach in batches.
- If you add crumbled cheese: Beware it’s salty. This salad recipe is already salty from the bacon and while blue cheese and goat cheese are common additions, be careful not to add too much.
- Make hard boiled eggs in advance: This recipe is perfect to use up leftover hard boil eggs. Here are my favorite methods, Instant Pot hard boiled eggs, stove top hard boiled eggs and air fryer hard boiled eggs.
What Else Can I Add to Wilted Spinach Salad?
Make this spinach salad recipe with warm bacon dressing your own with a number of add-ins and toppings. Here are some delicious ideas.
- Beans: Drained and rinsed cannellini beans or white beans.
- Veggies: Sun dried tomatoes, sliced radishes, mushrooms, green onions, or crispy fried onions.
- Fruit: Apples or strawberries.
- Nuts: Walnuts or slivered almonds.
- Cheese: Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese, or freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Protein: Add shredded chicken. I love adding leftover Instant Pot shredded chicken or crock pot shredded chicken.
- Spices: Add a little kick with cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, or chili powder.
Grilled steak, roasted chicken, pork tenderloin, or sliced ham all taste delicious next to this rich and flavorful salad. And we love pairing it with one pot spaghetti or Instant Pot lasagna on pasta night.
How to Store
This salad is best eaten fresh when the spinach is lightly wilted. It will wilt further and become soggy, and simply wilted spinach when reheated.
You can store leftovers in a container for 2 days but do not freeze. The water content in the spinach causes freezer burn, an unpleasant texture once thawed, and the dressing separates.
This means to quickly cook the spinach just long enough until it shrinks and keeps its color. You want it to be slightly wilted but not soggy and mushy.
Spinach is a powerhouse superfood packed with nutrients. You absorb more calcium and iron when spinach is cooked because the oxalic acid breaks down under high temperature, which releases the calcium and iron.
You can make the dressing a day or two ahead of time and reheat it when you are ready to make the salad.
More Spinach Recipes to Try
- Healthy spinach dip
- Crustless spinach quiche
- Lentil spinach soup
- Healthy spinach artichoke dip
- Chicken spinach pasta
More Salad Recipes to Try
- Strawberry spinach salad
- Spring mix salad
- Lettuce salad
- Lemon kale salad
- Mexican kale salad
- Arugula feta salad
Wilted Spinach Salad
For Spinach Salad
- Preheat large skillet on medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon onto a plate, draining and leaving bacon fat in the skillet.
- Reduce heat to low and add vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir, and simmer for 30 seconds-1 minute. Turn off heat.
- Add spinach and stir to coat in warm bacon salad dressing and wilt just a bit.
- Transfer to a large bowl, top with crispy bacon bits, red onion, grated hard boiled eggs and serve warm.
- Store: This salad is best consumed immediately. Store leftovers in airtight container for up to 2 days. Do not freeze.
- Do not leave salad in a skillet as it wilts within seconds.