Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spinach Salad with Tangy Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

We had a family reunion this summer with Brandon's family. His cousin's wife brought this salad. Once I tasted it, I immediately forgot about all the other food that was being served and had seconds and thirds of this salad. It is SO good. Vanessa was kind enough to share the recipe with me and agree to let me share it with you.

I dream about this salad. Yes that is a confession. I feel better getting it out in the open. Not many salads capture my heart so totally and completely like this one has.

I adapted it to be sugar free using raw honey as a substitute. If you don't like mushrooms, leave them out or substitute them with something like a sliced red bell pepper. I understand. I'm actually a newly converted mushroom liker. Yes liker, not lover. Me and mushrooms used to not get a long aaaaat all, but now I'll put up with them (and maybe even enjoy them once and a while).

So for me to put up with mushrooms in a salad that I dream about...Well that's saying something.

Spinach Salad with Tangy Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
Printable Recipe

1 large head Romaine Lettuce, washed and chopped
6 oz. spinach leaves, washed
3/4 lb. sliced mushrooms
1/3 Cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 lb. cooked and crumbled bacon
2 11-oz. cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 Cup slivered almonds, candy coated*
3/4 lb Swiss cheese, grated or finely sliced

1-1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
3/4 Cup canola oil
1/4 Cup onion (I usually just use a half of a small yellow onion)
2 level Tbsp. prepared mustard
1/3 Cup white vinegar
1/3 Cup white sugar or raw honey (I use honey)
3/4 tsp. salt

Prepare salad dressing by combining salad dressing ingredients in a blender and blending well. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a week before serving. In a large salad bowl combine chopped lettuce, spinach leaves, mushrooms and chopped red onion. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, add the mandarin oranges, crumbled bacon, candy coated slivered almonds, and grated Swiss cheese. Serve dressing on the side, or add to taste (you may not use it all). When I serve this for my family (as a main dish salad), I like to leave the mandarin oranges, the crumbled bacon, the candy coated slivered almonds, the Swiss cheese, and the dressing separate so my kids can add them to their liking. It also works better for leftovers if they are not already combined.

*I adapted this recipe to candy coat with honey according to the directions found in this previous post, but the original recipe called for candy coating with sugar. To candy coat with sugar, melt 3 Tbsp. sugar in heavy bottomed saute pan. Add 1/2 Cup almonds and coat with melted sugar. Separate and cool.

Recipe Source: Adapted from a recipe shared with me by Vanessa

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