Spinach Salad with

Warm Bacon Dressing

Spinach-Bacon Salad

March 26: National Spinach Day

Popeye loves spinach and Olive Oyl, but we love our spinach salad with bacon just as much! The healthy-green-vegetable leaves go well with a not-so-healthy-but-delicious dressing. The caramelized red onions and sauteed mushrooms lend a yummy flavor and the eggs add a bright color to this hearty and tasty salad. Prepare what Popeye would love, too, and make a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing for National Spinach Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Pioneer Woman)

For the spinach salad

  • 8 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 6-8 slices bacon

Directions

Prepare all the ingredients for the salad. Slice the red onion thinly and separate into rings. Slice the mushrooms. Boil, cool and shell the eggs. Slice them and set aside.

Spinach-Bacon Salad

Fry the bacon until cooked and crisp. Reserve 6 tablespoons of bacon grease for sautéing the onions and mushrooms and for making the salad dressing. Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside.

Spinach-Bacon Salad

In the another skillet, heat two tablespoons of bacon grease and slowly fry up the onions until wilted and caramelized. Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same skillet, fry up the mushrooms, adding another tablespoon of bacon grease, if necessary. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Make the warm bacon dressing.

Spinach-Bacon Salad

For the warm bacon dressing

  • 3 tablespoons reserved bacon grease
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dijon or honey mustard
  • dash of salt

Directions

In a small pan, mix the reserved bacon grease, vinegar, sugar, mustard and salt. Mix well over low heat.

Spinach-Bacon Salad

Assemble the salad. In 2-3 individual salad bowls, layer the spinach on the bottom. Top with the caramelized onions, mushrooms and crumbled bacon. Pour the warm bacon dressing over the salad and toss lightly to combine. Garnish with boiled egg slices. Serve immediately.

Spinach-Bacon Salad 

Notes

Spanakopita (σπανακόπιτα)

Spanakopita

March 26: National Spinach Day

Our college friend, Christos C. from Crete, hosted a small graduation party for Islander at his house. He cooked a traditional Greek dinner, including oregano lemon chicken, cucumber yogurt dip (tzatziki) and spinach pie (spanakopita). It was a delicious dinner showcasing his culture and cuisine.

Decades later, when we lived in Illinois (the state ranks in the top 5 with the highest Hellenic population in America), we attended the annual Greek festival in our town. Eating their food brought back good memories of the graduation meal.

Once in a while, we still cook those simple dishes that Christos taught us. We transformed his version of spinach pie into triangular dumplings so we can serve smaller spanakopitas at celebrations.  The petite pies are especially perfect on National Spinach Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Athens Foods)

For the spinach filling

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill, minced

Directions

Thaw and drain the spinach well. Chop the onion. In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Saute the spinach with the chopped onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Spanakopita

Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the ricotta and feta cheeses. Add the dill. Cool to room temperature.

Spanakopita

For the pastry

  • 1 package of phyllo pastry sheets (we used Athens brand fillo dough), thawed according to the package directions
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions

Remove thawed pastry sheets and slice in half lengthwise. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth/towel to avoid drying out the sheets. Assemble the spanakopita by placing one sheet on a flat surface, such as a cutting board. Brush with melted butter.

Spanakopita

Layer 2-3 more sheets on top and brush with butter. Place about 2 tablespoons of spinach filling on the edge of one sheet. Carefully fold the corner diagonally to the opposite edge to make a triangle. Fold again, like a flag, to the other edge.

Spanakopita

Continue folding until reaching the end of the sheet and tuck into the triangle. Brush both sides with butter. Place on a sheet lined with wax paper. Continue assembling all triangles. Brush the tops of the spanakopita with butter when the pan is full. Add another layer of wax paper and place more triangles on top. Brush with butter again and cover with plastic wrap/film. Freeze until firm.

Spanakopita

Line a baking pan with foil and mist with cooking spray. Place the spanakopitas seam side down on the pan in a single layer. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Spanakopita

Notes

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