Baby Spinach Salad Seven Ways

popeye-04

Those of you who know me "off the blog" know that I eat a lot of baby spinach.  I buy a huge 16 oz. tub once a week, and I use it every day - in smoothies, steamed lightly, chopped up in frittatas and egg dishes, raw in salads with lots of additions . . . I can't get enough.  Spinach is packed with nutritive benefits.  I love other greens too, but I think that pre-washed baby spinach is the unsung hero of the prepared-food world.  Move over, Chef Boyardee!

Yesterday I talked about moving on to spring and summer.  A slow process here in New England, full of ups and downs and teases.  But I'm starting to think salads, and right now while there are no local, tender and tasty salad greens, I love the more substantial bite of a salad made with baby spinach.  Healthy, fast and easy, too.  What more could a girl wish for?

Here are some ideas for additions to your spinach salad - tweak them to your liking, and make your salads smaller for use as side dishes, or huge for use as main courses.  Maybe you try taking a salad for lunch this week?  Just pack components separately to avoid soggy wiltingness . . . small glass jars leftover from jams are great to reuse this way.

  1. Spinach salad with sweetened dried cherries, chopped walnuts, crumbled feta and fig vinegar/EVOO vinaigrette.  Note, goat cheese is great here too.
  2. Classic spinach salad with chopped hard-cooked eggs, halved grape tomatoes, crumbled bacon (please use the real stuff!) and dijon vinaigrette.  Add sliced button mushrooms if you like them, or try Marjorie Drucker's (NE Soup Factory) updated take which boasts a warm pancetta dressing.
  3. This spinach salad with toasted chickpeas and pomegranate vinaigrette is on my list to try - POM sent me a case of pomegranate juice that I'm looking to use!
  4. Spinach salad with strawberries and pecans - my sister-in-law got me on the strawberries and spinach salad thing and I am still in love with this combo.  This is a good recipe.
  5. Easiest ever - baby spinach topped with sweetened dried cranberries, crumbled bleu cheese, chopped walnuts and Newman's own light raspberry walnut vinaigrette.
  6. Indulge a little and top your baby spinach with grilled chicken (or pull your chicken from a supermarket rotisserie bird), pieces of brie cheese, halved grape tomatoes and a honey-mustard vinaigrette.
  7. This recipe from Bon Appetit is on my to-try list - who can resist this zany combo of spinach, pear and avocado? Or this one with warm feta dressing?

What's your favorite spinach salad?