Fall Bacon & Spinach Salad

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Special thanks to Butterball for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own!

The perfect Fall Spinach Salad with spinach, apples, red onion, dried cranberries, feta cheese, the best turkey bacon, candied pecans and an incredible apple dijon vinaigrette

The perfect Fall Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad with Bacon

My husband’s favorite dessert is an apple pie and after buying about a hundred apples to test different pies and crisps for his upcoming birthday, I needed to put those apples to use in something a bit healthier. The first thing I thought of? A Spinach Salad with plenty of apples, dried cranberries, and some turkey bacon to balance out the sweet. This salad is the perfect combination of sweet and savory with delicious and satisfying textures!

This Fall spinach salad is filling enough to be a meal yet light enough to still be a side, depending on how much you put on your plate. The vibrant colors of this dish and incredible flavors would make this dish the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table. I know it’s going to make an appearance on my holiday table 🙂

Turkey bacon used in our spinach salad

Why use Turkey Bacon?

I LOVE pork bacon but don’t necessarily love all the fat, calories, and sodium that comes with it. ESPECIALLY if I’m looking to be a little healthier with a salad 🙂 Butterball Turkey Bacon is the perfect healthy alternative! Butterball’s Turkey Bacon is full of flavor with approximately half the calories and 60% less fat and 43% less sodium than regular pork bacon .

How to make this Fall Spinach Salad

This salad is quick and easy to make! Here’s how to make it along with a few tips to ensure you achieve the right flavors and texture, as well as how to save some time:

  1. First, prepare the bacon. I like to cook it on a griddle, but you can use a skillet, oven or microwave too.  Once the bacon is cooked, it needs to be chopped into small pieces you can sprinkle over the spinach salad. EVERY bite of salad needs some of that bacon goodness in it 🙂
  2. Next, peel and thinly slice one red onion. Then, coarsely chop the candied pecans. Again, to make this salad come together quickly you can buy pre-candied pecans OR make my favorite candied pecans ahead of time.
  3. You’ll then want to prepare your apples. Core the apples and slice them as thin as possible. Alternatively, you can chop the apples into small bite-sized pieces. While you can use any apples you’d like to, I like to use Fuji or Gala and a Granny Smith for both flavor and color.
  4. Toss all the above ingredients together along with the dried cranberries, feta cheese, and baby spinach.
  5. The dressing couldn’t be much easier to prepare – just place the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper in a mason jar and shake to combine! This apple cider vinaigrette is going to blow your mind for how something so simple can be THIS delicious.

Pouring salad dressing on our spinach salad

Can I make this Spinach Salad ahead of time?

Unfortunately not. The apples will start to brown if they are prepared too far in advance, the turkey bacon isn’t as crispy, and the dressing will make the spinach and other ingredients soggy.

If you do want to prep in advance, I’d measure out and then store ingredients separately in plastic bags or small tupperware containers and toss them together right before serving. I’d quickly slice/chop apples right before eating (not in advance). The dressing can be made (and stored) in a mason jar 2-3 days in advance. Toss the spinach salad with ONLY what will get enjoyed the same day!

What can I serve alongside this Salad?

Spinach salad ready to eat

More Delicious Salads

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Fall Spinach and Bacon Salad

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The perfect Fall Spinach Salad with spinach, apples, red onion, dried cranberries, feta cheese, the best turkey bacon, candied pecans and an incredible apple dijon vinaigrette
Print Recipe

Fall Spinach and Bacon Salad

0 from 0 votes
The perfect Fall Spinach Salad with spinach, apples, red onion, dried cranberries, feta cheese, the best turkey bacon, candied pecans and an incredible apple dijon vinaigrette
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword spinach salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 196kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

Salad

  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 large apples cored and thinly-sliced OR chopped into small pieces (I use 1 fuji or gala apple, 1 granny smith apple, but any will do)
  • 1/2 of 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly-sliced*
  • 1 cup candied or honey roasted pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 5 ounces crumbled feta cheese (OR crumbled goat cheese)
  • 6-7 slices Butterball Turkey Bacon, cooked according to package directions and chopped

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Instructions

  • Add spinach, thinly sliced (or chopped) apples, thinly sliced red onion, pecans, dried cranberries, and half of the feta cheese to a large salad bowl. Toss with the prepared dressing (See step 3).
  • Serve immediately, garnished with the remaining feta cheese and chopped bacon.
  • To make the dressing: Add all ingredients to a mason jar, cover, and shake to combine. Taste and adjust for personal preference on seasonings (salt and pepper)
  • This salad doesn't store well! If you do want to prep in advance, I'd measure out and then store ingredients separately in plastic bags or small tupperware containers and toss them together right before serving. I'd quickly slice/chop apples right before eating (not in advance). The dressing can be made (and stored) in a mason jar 2-3 days in advance. Toss the dressing with ONLY what will get enjoyed the same day!

Video

Recipe Notes

*You can chop instead of thinly slicing. To take away the "bite" of the red onion (make it more mild): submerge the sliced or chopped onions in a bowl of cold or ice water. Let them sit for at least ten minutes, stirring 2-3 times, and then drain and use in this salad.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 196kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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The perfect Fall Spinach Salad with spinach, apples, red onion, dried cranberries, feta cheese, the best turkey bacon, candied pecans and an incredible apple dijon vinaigrette via chelseasmessyapron.com #spinach #salad #easy #quick #kidfriendly #fall #holiday #holidays #recipe #thanksgiving #christmas
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