I realize I’m a little late with this, but here it is anyway… Happy Spring! It’s been a while. My parents came to visit for a few days, and like the fabulous planner that I am (ha!), I had set aside the entire day before they came to shoot photos for two new posts. Where are these posts, you ask? Ugh.
The first recipe was a total flop – inedible, I couldn’t even eat it. The next recipe was a much beloved favorite of ours that I’ve been excited to share. It involves a rainbow of root vegetables, a hot oven, and cozy comforting herbs like thyme and rosemary. All good things for sure, but decidedly not spring-y. The opposite actually. Turns out this day was the first official day of spring. Of course. Even better. Nobody wants to turn their oven on to roast squash on the first day of spring, Jill. Needless to say, the roots never got published, though they have a very firm rain check come mid-October, and I’ve been absent for over a week.
I’m back with something season appropriate this time (spinach! mushrooms!) that’s also a breeze to throw together. This spinach salad is a riff off one my aunt makes that’s always been a favorite of mine. You’ve probably had at least a dozen different spinach salads in your life, so what makes this one different?
First, I like to soak the red onions in the dressing instead of leaving them completely raw in the salad. I don’t love the strong raw red onion bite, but if you soak it in something acidic (e.g. salad dressing) for a while, the offending bite disappears. Second, the almond crumbs. They’re easy to throw together, they will keep in your fridge for a while, and they are good on so many other things besides this salad (think roasted green beans). Third, the poppy seed dressing. Yes, you could buy a bottle of dressing to put on your spinach salad, but please don’t. This dressing is a cinch to pull together, it doesn’t have any “weird” ingredients, and it makes this salad sing. It’s perfect for your next springtime feast or dinner tomorrow, whichever comes first.
Mushroom Spinach Salad with Almond Crumbs
For the Almond Crumbs:
- 1/4 cup whole roasted almonds
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic
- A pinch of red pepper flakes and salt
- Olive oil as needed , about 2 tablespoons
For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
For the salad:
- 5 oz spinach
- 4 oz white mushrooms , sliced paper thin
- 4 oz bacon , cooked and roughly chopped
- 4 oz sliced Swiss cheese , cut into small cubes
To make the almond crumbs, pulse all the crumb ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Once everything has been chopped finely into course crumbs, add the olive oil a little at a time until the mixture comes together better. It shouldn't be runny at all, just slightly cohesive.
To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well to combine.
To assemble the salad, pour a good glug of dressing around the sides of your serving bowl. Add the spinach and half of the almond crumbs and toss well. Add more dressing if the spinach looks a little dry. Add the sliced mushrooms, bacon, and cheese, and stir to combine. Add a little more dressing if needed, but it shouldn't be dripping. Serve immediately at room temperature.