An easy spinach salad with bacon makes a great main dish or use as a side dish. Featuring a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing and using common pantry ingredients, this summer classic will earn a place on your summer menu.
This was a rescue mission. You are looking at the only copy of a long-time family favorite.
There are many fresh spinach salad recipes, but this version has a lot going for it: bacon, an easy homemade vinaigrette dressing, eggs, and a touch of China with bean sprouts and water chestnuts. So good.
Please enjoy one of our summer favorites. Remember, anything with bacon is wonderful. My wife has made this salad for special summer meals for over 40 years. I haven't changed a thing.
An excellent salad, and it's even good for you.
🥬How to Buy the Best Fresh Spinach
So, how to pick out the best fresh spinach?
- You want dark green leaves with crisp texture and aroma.
- You prefer young baby spinach that will have thin stems.
- Buy freshly picked if possible but avoid bunches with wilted, slimy, or discolored leaves.
- If you are buying bagged, look at the buy-by date and look at it the best you can.
- Don’t overbuy. While you can store it for up to 10 days, it is better consumed in 3-4 days.
🥣Making Spinach Salad Dressing
The dressing for the spinach salad is a tasty vinaigrette. It uses Worcestershire sauce and ketchup for an extra special flavor, making this one of your favorite things.
A vinaigrette is usually a combination of oil and vinegar. A standard ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, and this dressing approximates that.
The vinegar part is usually apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. The tomato in the ketchup adds a bit of acid here also.
The oil can be almost any oil, but we generally use extra virgin olive oil.
You can toss the salad with the dressing if you serve the whole amount, but it is better to store it without the dressing added.
👨🍳How to Make Fresh Spinach Salad
- Prepare cooked chopped bacon and hard boil eggs ahead of mixing.
- Mix spinach salad dressing, slice eggs and wash and trim spinach.
- Add all non-dressing ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Serve and drizzle with dressing.
- Store leftovers sealed well in the refrigerator but store the dressing in a separate container.
This is a salad, so there are no strict rules. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Fruits: Strawberry, apple, dried cherries, or cranberries
Vegetables: Other lettuce, cucumber, red peppers, sliced mushrooms
Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
Proteins: grilled chicken, shrimp, feta cheese, goat cheese, or blue cheese
Fresh spinach will store well sealed, dry, and cold for up to 10 days in the refrigerator's crisper drawer wrapped in paper towels. Wash only the spinach you are using now. Moisture is the enemy of freshness.
No, this is not a good dish to freeze. Most components will lose texture.
📖Favorite Summer Recipes
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Cut bacon into small to medium pieces and fry in a skillet until crisp and then drain on paper towels—slice four hard-boiled eggs. Clean and wash your spinach.
In a large bowl, combine all non-dressing ingredients and toss well.
Combine all dressing components in a shaker, small jar, or bowl and shake or whisk to mix well.
Serve with dressing on the side to drizzle when serving.
Fresh Spinach Salad with Bacon
- 1 lb spinach - cleaned
- 4 hard-boiled eggs
- ½ lb bacon
- 14 oz bean sprouts - drained
- 8 oz sliced water chestnuts - drained
- 1 medium chopped red onion - optional
- ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms - optional
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons red vinegar - or other vinegar
- ½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Cut bacon into small to medium pieces and fry in a skillet until crisp and then drain on paper towels—slice four hard-boiled eggs, trim, and wash the spinach.
- In a large bowl, combine all non-dressing ingredients and toss well.
- Combine all dressing components in a shaker, small jar, or bowl and shake or whisk to mix well.
- Serve with dressing on the side to drizzle when serving.
My Private Notes
- Pick out fresh spinach with good dark color and thin stems.
- The water chestnuts and bean sprouts are the limiting factors on the size of this recipe. You can cut the size if you don't mind wasting the extra.
- Serve the dressing on the side since this salad will store better without the dressing.
- Refrigerate leftovers sealed for up to 3 days but the third day is not the best.
- The dressing has lots of taste from Worcestershire sauce and ketchup so it can tolerate using different vinegar or oil if you want.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor note: This is a republish of a recipe originally published on May 24, 2010. That was the first year of the blog, and I just took a few pictures and tossed up the recipe so my kids would stop calling mom for it. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.