I don’t know about you, but I happen to think the perfect accompaniment to green vegetables is bacon.
And not just any bacon! Candied bacon.
Candied bacon is incredibly easy to make and goes so well in this delicious spinach salad with fresh blackberry vinaigrette dressing. Perfect for a 4th of July spread, if I do say so myself!
I have been really into making my own salad dressings lately and have been experimenting with some different and fun ones to mix things up a bit. When I saw plump, sweet blackberries on sale last week at my local market I knew what I wanted to do with them! I blended them with a little white balsamic vinegar (if you can’t find white balsamic, regular balsamic will do!), garlic, mustard and olive oil, and the end result was just lovely: a bright, colorful dressing that burst with flavor!
As for salad toppings, you decide. I loved slivered almonds and more fresh blackberries to go along with my bits of candied bacon, but really any topping will do. Next time I think I’ll try this with grape tomatoes and thin slices of crisp jicama. Yum!
You can prepare the blackberry dressing and the candied bacon the day before you plan to serve this salad. So on picnic day, all you have to do is just assemble and dive in!
P.S. you might want to make double (or triple) the amount of candied bacon. Just sayin’.
Spinach Salad with Candied Bacon and Fresh Blackberry Vinaigrette
- For candied bacon:
- 4 slices bacon, preferably applewood
- 1 cup brown sugar
- For blackberry vinaigrette
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
- pinch of sea salt
- pinch of black pepper
- For salad assembly
- Fresh baby spinach
- Slivered almonds
- Additional fresh blackberries
- Sliced grape tomatoes (optional)
- Make salad dressing first. In a blender combine the blackberries, garlic, mustard and white balsamic vinegar. While the motor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Continue blending until mixture is well combined. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. This will make about a cup of salad dressing---store in a sealed mason jar or Tupperware container in the fridge for up to a week.
- To make the candied bacon, preheat your oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and then place a rack on top.
- Place the brown sugar in a shallow dish or on a plate. Swipe each piece of bacon in the brown sugar, really covering each piece well. Then, place each slice on top of the rack on the cookie sheet.
- Bake bacon for about 15 minutes, until bacon is crisp, dark and beautiful. Let bacon cool completely.
- When bacon has cooled, chop up roughly with a knife and set aside. Now you’re ready to prepare your salad!
- Place the greens in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle candied bacon on top, along with slivered almonds and whatever other salad toppings you like. Drizzle with dressing and toss well. Scatter blackberries over top and serve!
Yield: 4-6 servings with additional dressing left over
Jenna Weber is half of the Fresh Tastes blog team. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and, since then, has worked as a pastry chef, bread baker and freelance food editor. Currently, Jenna blogs full-time on EatLiveRun.com where her delicious daily recipes and quirky culinary musings appeal to thousands. She lives in Northern California and, when not in the kitchen, can usually be found on her yoga mat.