The traditional spinach salad with crumbled bacon is delicious, but it's also loaded with fat, sodium and extra calories. To render it healthful, I combine tender leaves of baby spinach with orange segments, strawberries, toasted pecans and a light dressing made with fresh orange juice and zest. I save the bacon for the splurge of a BLT on another occasion.
To make the salad into a meal, top with grilled salmon. The extra orange dressing can serve as a sauce for the fish.
- For the dressing
- Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange (1/4 cup juice, 1 teaspoon zest)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the salad
- 3 to 4 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed and dried (about 6 cups)
- 2 large navel oranges, cut into segments (see NOTES)
- 8 ounces strawberries (hulled), small ones cut in half, medium ones quartered, large ones cut into eighths (a generous 1 cup cut-up)
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped (see NOTES)
Prepare the dressing: Whisk together the orange juice, zest, vinegar, mustard and honey in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil to form an emulsified dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The yield is a scant 1/2 cup.
Place the spinach in a salad bowl or on individual plates. Scatter the oranges and strawberries over the spinach; top with the toasted pecans. If making one large salad, pour 1/4 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss to mix. If making individual salads, drizzle a tablespoon over each salad. Serve immediately.
Pass the remaining dressing on the side, or save for another use.
NOTES: To segment the oranges: Use a sharp knife to cut off the top and bottom of both oranges; stand each orange on end. Working vertically around the oranges, one at a time, use a sharp paring or serrated knife to cut away and discard the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl, slice between the membranes to remove all the orange segments, letting them drop into the bowl.
Toast the nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until they are fragrant and lightly browned, stirring often to keep them from burning.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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