I’m just going to cut right to the chase here. This Bacon & Apple Spinach Salad rocks. It’s hands down the best fall salad with the perfect pop of textures and flavors.
Think crisp, salty bacon; tart and juicy apples; spicy red onion for a kick; buttery, crunchy pecans; and finally some creamy, tangy crumbled goat cheese to round everything out. It all comes together under a sweet and sour honey mustard vinaigrette that is absolutely to die for.
It’s such a simple, fresh, and easy-to-make dish. But it’s bursting with delicious flavor (not to mention colors!). I love to make this salad throughout the fall season (and winter too, tbh). It’s the perfect complement to a warm, seasonal soup (like this hearty potato & leek soup). It makes a great side dish alongside roasted chicken, grilled steak or pork chops, or even seared salmon. This salad also works as a star all on its own, perfect for a fall lunch or light dinner option. It pairs perfectly with a crisp white wine, or a tart apple cider, of course.
This Bacon & Apple Spinach salad couldn’t be easier to make, and I guarantee you’ll want to eat it all season long.
The salad to end all salads…
The first step to making this salad involves cooking bacon… so you already know off the bat this dish is going to be a winner.
Chop up about 5 strips of bacon into little pieces and cook them down in a pan until they are nice and crispy, with most of the fat rendered out. Get the bacon on a plate to drain until you’re ready to use it.
Then make your dressing. It starts with equal parts Dijon mustard and honey. Add some apple cider vinegar to ramp up the tangy flavor, and some paprika for a smoky kick. Finish it off with salt, pepper and a generous pour of olive oil. Then just mix it together until all the ingredients are combined.
PRO TIP: I love to make salad dressings in a mason jar. Just pop the lid on and shake, shake, shake. It’s easy, mess-free, and you can store the leftover dressing right in the jar you mixed it in.
To assemble this salad, start with a bed of baby spinach. Chop up an apple (use a tart one, like Fuji, Pink Lady or Empire) and some red onion to sprinkle on top. Then add some chopped pecans. Pour your dressing all over the salad and toss everything to coat.
As a finishing touch, sprinkle crumbled goat cheese all over the salad. Then grab a fork and dig in immediately.
Let me know if you give this Bacon & Apple Spinach Salad a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Bacon & Apple Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
For the Salad
- 5 Strips Bacon Chopped
- 3 Cups Baby Spinach
- 1 Small Red Onion Diced
- 1 Apple Thinly chopped
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
- 1/3 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese
For the Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 2 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Tsp Paprika
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Tsp Pepper
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- Add the chopped bacon to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is crispy and most of the fat has rendered out. Remove bacon to a paper towel to drain and cool.
- Make the dressing. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar or container with a lid. Shake vigorously until everything is completely combined.
- Assemble the salad. Arrange the spinach on a platter or in a salad bowl. Sprinkle the bacon, red onion, apples, and pecans on top. Pour the dressing over and toss everything to coat.* Top salad with crumbled goat cheese.