This Apple & Bacon Spinach Salad is the perfect side salad for fall. The combination of salty bacon, toasted pecans, creamy avocado, sweet crisp apples, and dried cranberries, all tossed in a homemade poppy seed dressing is amazing!
I love spinach salads and this Apple & Bacon Spinach Salad is one of my absolute favorites! It’s great as a side salad but sometimes I single serving (more like 2!) and eat a giant bowl of it for lunch. For more awesome spinach salads, try Strawberry Spinach Salad, Summer Berry Cobb Salad, or Berry Chicken Spinach Salad.
Apple Spinach Bacon Salad
The combination of ingredients in this salad is so delicious! Don’t be surprised when your guests go back for seconds.
- Pecans– I like to buy the pecan halves in bulk from Costco and keep them in my freezer so they stay fresh.
- Bacon– I recommend using original or hickory smoked. Baking time will depend on the thickness. You can also chop and then pan fry.
- Spinach– A large 1 pound container of baby spinach from Costco is most affordable. Break off any long and tough stems.
- Apple– Any sweet apple like Fuji, Gala, or Honey Crisp works great.
- Avocado– These are perfectly ripe when they give slightly when squeezed. As soon as they get to that point, place them in the fridge crisper until ready to use.
- Dried Cranberries– Adds another layer of texture and sweetness to the salad.
- Feta Cheese– Such a yummy cheese that is easy to throw on salads.
- Poppy Seed Dressing– My favorite dressing in the whole world! I always have a jar of this in my fridge. For a more vibrant pink color, use the outer layers of the onion that are darker purple.
HOW TO MAKE APPLE & BACON SPINACH SALAD:
Time needed: 25 minutes.
- Toast the Pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 7-8 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Let cool.
- Cook the Bacon
Turn oven up to 425 degrees F. Lay bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Chop when cooled enough to handle.
In a large salad mixing bowl, toss together spinach, apples, avocados, cranberries, feta cheese, pecans, bacon and dressing. Serve immediately.
Nuts– Use a different kind of nut like walnuts or sliced almonds
Greens– Massaged Kale would be great in this salad!
Cheese– I like feta in this salad but goat cheese is delicious as well. Shredded white cheddar is also a good substitute.
Fruit– You can use any kind of sweet apple or substitute with pear.
Parts of it. You can cook the bacon and pecans and prep the spinach ahead of time but I recommend waiting to cut the avocado and apple until right before serving since they turn brown.
Once the salad is tossed in dressing it won’t last more than 2 hours before the spinach starts to wilt. Only toss together what you are planning to eat immediately or just add dressing to salads individually.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS SALAD:
- Pyrex Mixing Bowls with Lids– I love using these to make salads in especially if I’m prepping part of it in advance and/or transporting it to a party.
- Half-Sheet Pan– I LOVE these pans. I’ve had the same 4 pans since I got married (10 years ago) and they are in great condition. They are perfect for cooking 8-10 slices of bacon on.
- Cutting Board– I love having various sizes of cutting boards and these are awesome because they won’t slip and slide around on the counter.
LOOKING FOR MORE SALADS? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Tuna Chopped Salad
- Crunchy Asian Broccoli Slaw
- Italian Chopped Salad
- Blackberry Blood Orange Salad
- Broccoli Bacon Salad
Apple Spinach Salad
- 3/4 cup pecans
- 8 slices bacon
- 10 ounces baby spinach
- 2 apples (I prefer Fuji), cored and diced
- 2 small avocados, peeled and diced
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Poppy Seed Dressing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 7-8 minutes until fragrant and toasted. Let cool.
- Turn oven up to 425 degrees F. Lay bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Chop when cooled enough to handle.
- In a large salad mixing bowl, toss together spinach, apples, avocados, cranberries, feta cheese, pecans, bacon and desired amount of dressing. Serve immediately.*