SHARON’S WILTED SPINACH SALAD
Fresh spinach and walnut pieces dressed with a warm sweet and sour soy bacon, Kalamata olive, garlic, roasted pepper, Balsamic and Dijon mustard dressing!
Salad Serves 4-6; Dressing makes 2 cups
1 pkg. fresh, crinkly spinach, washed, crisped, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
1/3 c. walnut pieces, coarsely crushed, not pulverized
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
4 strips soy bacon (I used Smart Bacon); stack slices on top of each other, then cut crosswise into 1/8 inch wide strips
7 Kalamata (Greek) olives, pitted and finely diced
2 sweet red roasted peppers, diced into 1/2 inch squares
1/4 c. Balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. country style Dijon mustard
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. peeled, finely chopped garlic
1/2 t. onion powder
a few drops (only) of liquid smoke
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. veggie mayonnaise (I used Vegenaise, but Earth Balance is as good)
Prepare all ingredients before beginning to assemble this salad.
Place spinach and walnuts in large bowl. Set aside.
In medium skillet, over medium-low heat, melt olive oil.
Pick up soy bacon strips and separate with your fingers while adding to skillet. Saute, stirring nearly continuously, for about 2 minutes. You want lightly crispy around the edges and soft centers.
Add olives and roasted peppers. Stir well and cook 1 minute.
Add vinegar, mustard, sugar, garlic, onion powder and just a few drops of liquid smoke. Stir to thoroughly mix.
Salt to taste, then add lots of freshly ground black pepper.
At this point you could use the dressing as is or continue on by adding the veggie mayonnaise. Stir again to thoroughly incorporate the mayo. Turn heat off.
Pour dressing over spinach and walnuts. Toss, plate and serve.
Notes: If making this dressing ahead, transfer to covered container and reheat till just warm just before you’re ready to eat.
The ingredients in the dressing combine to create a richly complex flavor achievement. This salad will become a favorite.
Use flat leaf spinach if that’s all you can find, but the crinkly type holds the dressing better.
ANOTHER SIMPLE RECIPE USING THIS SPECIAL DRESSING:
SWEET AND SOUR SOY BACON BEAN SALAD
Unlike the spinach salad, this salad is served chilled!
Makes 6 cups salad
2 c. soy bacon dressing from Sharon’s Wilted Spinach Salad
2, 15 oz. cans chick peas (garbonzo beans), washed thoroughly to remove all foam and drained well
2, 15 oz. cans black beans, washed and drained the same
Place beans in large bowl. Pour dressing over. Toss well. Transfer to covered container and refrigerate till ready to serve, stirring occasionally.
Notes: This bean salad tastes great as is. Although most bean salads taste better with some sort of crunch, onion, celery etc., this one doesn’t need it. Serve in decorative bowl, or over a large bed of fresh dried, crisped crinkly spinach to make a more elaborate display.