This salad will make you look so fancy without even trying. For me, any salad involving crumbled blue cheese and toasted pecans is always perfect. There are so many things you can add to this combo, but if you have 15 extra minutes, and some local bacon make this dish ASAP! Bacon-wrapped dates are the perfect combo of sweet and savory. Order bacon from CSA+ and grab the spinach for your CSA share to get started.
Bacon wrapped dates are super easy to make. I used big medjool dates, but deglet also work. If the dates have pits, make a slice down the side and pull out the pit. After you wrap the bacon around it you won’t notice at all. Slice the bacon in half before wrapping. If you have toothpicks use those to secure the bacon, if you find yourself out on the farm with no toothpicks the end of a wooden skewer also works! While the bacon and dates roast, get the rest of your ingredients together. Dress the salad and assemble just before serving. I like a lightly dressed salad, so double the dressing if you prefer the opposite. If you’re making this ahead you can keep all the ingredients separate until eating. I topped the whole thing with pickled onions we had which made for a brilliantly colored salad. Feel free to get creative with any extra toppings!
Spinach Salad with Bacon Wrapped Dates serves 4
1 lb spinach
8 dates, pits removed
4 slices of bacon, sliced in half
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup pecans
optional: pickled red onions
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt + pepper to taste
Make the bacon wrapped dates. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wrap each date in a slice of bacon and secure the ends with a toothpick. Place the dates into a rimmed baking dish or cast iron skillet. Bake the dates for about 10 – 15 minutes until the bacon is brown and crispy, flipping them over halfway through cooking. Let cool on a wire rack, then remove toothpicks.
Toast the pecans. Break the pecans into small pieces or roughly chop them. Place in a small skillet or saucepan, and then place the skillet over a burner on medium heat. Toast the nuts for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts start to turn golden and start to smell toasty.
Assemble the salad. Wash and dry the spinach, remove the stems and tear into bite-size pieces. Whisk the dressing together or shake up in a jar. Toss the spinach and dressing together, and arrange on a platter or serving dish. Top with the bacon-wrapped dates, toasted pecans, blue cheese, and pickled onions if you have them.