I’ve been making this delicious spinach salad recipe for years! Crispy bacon, creamy cottage cheese, and a sweet and tangy poppy seed dressing make this salad a filling dish that goes with almost any meal. It’s also easy to make with ingredients I always have on hand. One taste and you’ll understand why it’s our favorite!
Why this is our favorite spinach salad:
I love a good salad. And if there is no hearty main course salad on the menu, there is usually a quick side salad on the dining table. Oftentimes, it’s some sort of salad that clears out the fridge — a way to use up extra produce at the end of the week. But if I want something more, then I reach for this spinach salad.
Make no mistake, this salad is still very quick to make using simple ingredients I usually have on hand. But the taste is anything but ordinary. Spinach and crispy romaine are topped with salty bacon, creamy cottage cheese and an easy poppy seed dressing from pantry staples. The result is a sweet and savory salad that will have everyone coming back until the bowl is empty.
Simple enough for a weeknight, but chic enough for a corporate or holiday dinner. This spinach salad recipe is so ambitious. When I have it, I sometimes throw strawberries, sliced avocados, or tangerines into the mix. But it really isn’t necessary. This salad is deliciously complete just as it is.
Ingredients for our favorite spinach salad:
- spinach– We like to use baby spinach in this salad.
- lettuce– Romaine lettuce gives the salad a nice crunch.
- bacon– You can use any bacon here. I like to use Costco’s pre-cooked bacon.
- Mozzarella Cheese– Freshly grated mozzarella is better than pre-shredded in this salad.
- cottage cheese– I like to use large cottage cheese in this salad.
poppy seed dressing:
- Sugar– For this dressing you need regular, white granulated sugar.
- oil– Any unflavored oil will work here. I used avocado oil, vegetable oil, and light olive oil.
- white wine vinegar– For this dressing we use good old white distilled vinegar.
- Poppy– Adds great crunch and color.
- Dry Mustard– This recipe calls for dry mustard powder, but if you don’t have that, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard can also be used.
- Salt– I like to use kosher or sea salt.
- Green Onion– Spring onions add a nice, smooth flavor to the dressing.
How to make this spinach salad recipe:
- Prepare salad. Wash the lettuce and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large serving bowl along with the spinach and toss gently.
- Drain cottage cheese. Pour the cottage cheese into a colander and rinse with cold water to remove the creamy liquid. Drain well and add to the salad. Add shredded mozzarella and crispy bacon.
- Make the dressing. Place all of the dressing ingredients in a small jar or bowl. Add a lid and shake or beat until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Arrange the salad. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad and toss. Or serve the dressing on the side.
Tips & Suggestions:
Can I make spinach salad ahead of time?
You can prepare this salad earlier in the day. Reserve the bacon and add just before serving. The poppy seed dressing can be prepared well in advance. It keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks. Add the dressing only when ready to serve. Untreated leftover lettuce will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. You’ll likely have more dressing than you need for the salad, so add just enough to coat lightly, then add more to taste.
What else can I put in this spinach salad recipe?
This recipe is super adaptable. This variation is our absolute favorite, but here are some other ingredient combinations you can try:
- Swiss cheese, tangerines, diced avocado & fried onions
- Strawberries, chopped pecans and feta cheese
- Blueberries, Roasted Walnuts & Goat Cheese
- Diced hard boiled eggs and sliced mushrooms
- Avocado, Strawberry & Almond Slivers
- Fresh peaches, flaked almonds and smoked Gouda
What goes with your favorite spinach salad?
One of the things I love about this salad is that it’s delicious with so many different dishes. Here are a few recipes that it goes great with:
More delicious salad recipes:
Favorite spinach salad
I’ve been making this delicious spinach salad recipe for years! Crispy bacon, creamy cottage cheese, and a sweet and tangy poppy seed dressing make this salad a filling dish that goes with almost any meal. One taste and you’ll understand why it’s our favorite!
Servings: 8th portions
- 10 ounce bag fresh baby spinach
- 1 Head romaine lettuce
- 1/2 Cup pieces of bacon cooked crispy
- 1 Cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 8th ounces cottage cheese flushed
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Cup oil
- 1/4 Cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Poppy
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 2 stems green onion chopped
Wash the lettuce and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large salad bowl with the spinach.
Drain and rinse cottage cheese. Place in the salad bowl with the grated mozzarella cheese and crispy bacon bits. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Refrigerate until serving the salad.
You can pour the dressing over the ready-to-serve salad or let people add their own dressing to their salad serving. Enjoy!
Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 12G | Protein: 12G | Fat: 13G | Saturated Fatty Acids: 4G | Polyunsaturated fat: 2G | Monounsaturated fatty acids: 6G | Trans fats: 0.03G | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 741mg | Potassium: 439mg | Fiber: 3G | Sugar: 8thG | Vitamin A: 10275ie | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 2mg
I am a Registered Nutritionist, mother of 4, an avid food lover and a strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you’ll find lots of delicious fruit and veg-packed recipes, tips on how to get your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters, and plenty of resources to feed your family.
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