elevating the status of the salad

Tag Archives: spinach



It’s that time of year again, when it is hard to be inspired by the root vegetables at the farmer’s market. However, you can add a little goat cheese to anything and it solves most problems in the world, including “the winter that refused to end.” I hope you enjoy this recipe, as we (im)patiently wait for more exciting vegetables. This comes from Cooking Light’s April 2013 issue. 


  • 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups radishes, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch wedges, with root and 1/2-inch stem left on
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (I used about 1 teaspoon dried instead)
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1.  Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Add radishes and oregano; toss to coat. Place 1 cup spinach on each of 4 plates. Using a slotted spoon, top each plate with 1/2 cup radishes. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing evenly over salads.

You can lighten this salad by omitting the goat cheese. However, this particular version was made with Bucherondin, a goat cheese log from Stinky Brooklyn. It is also tasty if you substitute sunflower seeds for the almonds. 


  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 6-8 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 basil leaves, julienned
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. To reduce the vinegar, pour it into a small saucepan along with the brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Stir frequently, and be careful not to burn the vinegar. When it reduces by about half, remove from heat. When cooled to room temperature, whisk in olive oil. I added a little bit of salt and pepper, put it in a sealed container and gave it a few shakes.
  2. To assemble the salad, layer spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, almonds, and basil.
  3. Drizzle the salad with dressing just before serving. You will have extra dressing, which you can refrigerate and use at another time.

This sweet soup was a perfect ending to a chilly Sunday. All of the vegetables and the cream are at the farmer’s market right now. This recipe comes from Didi Emmons’ Entertaining for a Veggie Planet



2 acorn squash

extra virgin olive oil

4 heads of garlic, 3 left whole, 1 separated into cloves and peeled

2 tablespoons butter

2 onions, chopped

4 cups vegetable stock

2/3 cup dry sherry

1 bunch spinach (the recipe calls for 2/3 pound–I think I went a little overboard)

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon kosher salt

pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half with a large,sharp  chef’s knife.  Remove and discard the seeds and strings. Brush the cut  sides with olive oil. Arrange the squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut off the top thirds of three heads of garlic, and brush the cut sides with olive oil. Place them cut side up on the baking pan with the squash. Roast until the squash and garlic are very tender, about 45 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the unroasted garlic cloves and saute for 3 minutes more. Stir in the vegetable stock, sherry, and spinach. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Scoop the squash flesh into a food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins and add to the food processor. Puree the squash and garlic, adding a bit of the liquid from the soup, if necessary. Transfer to a clean, large saucepan.
  4. In a food processor, puree the spinach mixture in batches, adding each batch to the squash mixture. Or use an immersion blender to puree the spinach mixture into the pot, then add it to the squash mixture. Add the cream, salt, and nutmeg and mix well. Heat through and season with pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve.


I guess I’m on a pear kick, so here’s another one. This is a variation of this Epicurious recipe. It has great fall flavors and can be made in very little time. It is easy to double the recipe so you can make a lot for a big group.



  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 8 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves, stemmed if needed
  • 2 firm but ripe Bosc pears (do not peel), quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut into long, thin slices


  1. To make the dressing, in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to blend. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Place the onions in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 30 minutes. This crisps the onion and takes away the raw onion taste. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the cranberries with 2 tablespoons of the dressing to soften them. Set aside for at least 20 minutes or until ready to serve the salad.
  4. To assemble the salad, place the spinach, onions, and pears in a large bowl. Give the remaining dressing a last-minute shake and pour over the salad. Toss to coat evenly. Arrange the salad in a large serving bowl or divide it evenly among 8 salad plates. Scatter the cranberries over the top(s). Serve immediately.

Here is a spin on an American classic. I started with Alton Brown’s recipe, and adapted it. Depending on your preference, you can use either regular bacon or soy bacon instead. 

The turkey bacon comes from Applegate Farms.  I highly recommend taking a few minutes to look around their website. We got the eggs at the Carroll Street farmer’s market, and they came from Bar None Ranch in Berlin, NY. 

I am writing the steps in the order that makes sense to share some pans and hopefully cut down on the cleaning time. You need to use at least three burners for this recipe, so be prepared. I know the several steps and multiple burners seems daunting, but the steps are mostly quick and easy. The whole thing should take 30 minutes or so. 

Do you have a spin on a classic American Salad? Maybe you do a cooler Cobb or a whimsical Wedge…Or maybe you have a classic that you are looking to spin but are not sure how. Send your ideas and I’d love to try them out!


5 ounces baby spinach

Olive Oil (I lost count of how much)

2 Large Eggs

6 pieces of turkey bacon

3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 large white mushrooms, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup red onions, thinly sliced

1 small baguette, cubed


1. Place the spinach in a large mixing bowl.

2. The Eggs

Hard boil the eggs. I did it this way: Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with water by one inch. Bring the water to a boil. Then, turn off heat and cover. Set timer for 15 minutes. When a few minutes are left, prepare a bowl of ice water.

Remove from heat and immediately place eggs in ice water. Chill for a few minutes. Carefully peel. Then, slice and set aside.

3. The Turkey Bacon

While the eggs are cooking, start to fry the turkey bacon. Fry until crispy, turning when you feel like it (Clearly, I am still a novice with meat…just cook it until it’s done.) Then, crumble it, tear it, or cut it into small pieces.

4. The Mushrooms

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a small saute pan, and heat it up over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir. Add the white wine. Stir occasionally until mushrooms cook down and are slightly browned.

5.  The Croutons

Once the turkey bacon is done, clean out the frying pan and put a few tablespoons of olive oil over low/medium heat. Spread the cubed bread onto a single layer on the frying pan. Cook bread for 10-15 minutes, turning every so often. Taste a few pieces as you go because there is not much better than baguette frying up in some olive oil. Plus, you thought you were just making a salad, so why is it taking longer than you expected?! (Don’t worry–you will soon be happy with the results.)

6. The Dressing

Once the eggs are ready, start making the dressing: In a small saucepan, heat 3 Tablespoons olive oil over low heat. Whisk in the vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Putting it all together!

Add the mushrooms and onions to the spinach, and toss. Add the bacon and dressing, and toss to combine. Top the salad with sliced egg and croutons.