Wilted Spinach Salad

$6.33 recipe / $1.58 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
5 from 1 vote
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If you’re looking for a quick, filling, and light summer meal, I’ve got you! This Wilted Spinach Salad can be a light main dish or a side to go with your summer grilling. And, as always, this classic salad has plenty of things you can add in or sub to make it your own. Pair it with a crisp glass of white wine and you’ll have the perfect meal for enjoying outdoors on a balmy summer day!

overhead view of wilted spinach salad in the skillet.

What’s in a Wilted Spinach Salad?

The classic wilted spinach salad is made by cooking bacon, then using the bacon fat to make a warm vinaigrette which is then poured over fresh spinach to slightly wilt the spinach. Hard boiled eggs and red onions are also often added to the salad.

My version of a wilted spinach salad is a little bit different. I’ve really been digging the convenience of canned beans lately, so I swapped the usual hard boiled egg for some cannellini beans. I also used a bit of garlic instead of fresh red onion, and I made my vinaigrette right in the skillet instead of trying to pour off the bacon grease into another container. The result is a quick, super filling yet light, and delicious meal.

What Else Can I Add?

You probably already know by now that I love recipes where you can add all sorts of ingredients and make your own customized creation. This salad definitely fits that category! Here are a few other ingredients you can add to the salad below:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Red onion
  • Crispy fried onions
  • Blue cheese
  • Goat cheese
  • Boiled baby potatoes (this would almost be like a mix between German potato salad and spinach salad)
  • Apples (instead of white beans)
  • Walnuts (instead of white beans)
  • Thinly sliced radish
  • Chicken

How Are the Leftovers?

This salad is definitely best when made fresh, as you want the spinach to be just lightly wilted. If you reheat the salad, the spinach will wilt further and become quite flat. It will likely still taste great, but the texture will not be as good as the first day.

Close up overhead view of a bowl of wilted spinach salad.
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Wilted Spinach Salad

5 from 1 vote
Wilted spinach salad with bacon, white beans, and a tangy Dijon vinaigrette is a quick, easy, and light summer meal.
Close up overhead view of a bowl of wilted spinach salad.
Servings 4
Prep 5 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. bacon ($2.06)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 2 15oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained ($1.78)
  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar ($0.18)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard ($0.12)
  • 1 tsp sugar ($0.01)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)
  • 8 oz. fresh spinach ($1.99)

Instructions 

  • Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it is brown and crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the bacon grease in the skillet.
  • Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté over medium heat for about one minute.
  • Add the rinsed and drained beans, vinegar, Dijon, sugar, pepper, and salt to the skillet. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the beans are heated through and a sauce has formed.
  • Add the fresh spinach to the skillet, carefully stirring it into the hot beans until it is partially wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Crumble the bacon over top and fold to combine. Taste and add salt or pepper to your liking. Serve warm!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 443kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 23gFat: 18gSodium: 438mgFiber: 12g
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close up side view of wilted spinach salad in the skillet.

How to Make Wilted Spinach Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked bacon in a skillet.

Cook 6oz. bacon in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy. Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and leave the bacon grease in the skillet.

Garlic being sautéed in bacon fat in the skillet.

Add two minced cloves of garlic to the skillet and sauté in the bacon fat for about one minute.

Beans and vinaigrette ingredients added to the skillet.

Add two rinsed and drained 15oz. cans of cannellini beans to the skillet along with 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp sugar, ¼ tsp pepper, and ⅛ tsp salt.

Heated beans and vinaigrette in the skillet with a spoon.

Heat and stir the ingredients until everything is heated through and the vinaigrette ingredients have combined.

half-wilted spinach mixed into the beans in the skillet.

Add 8oz. fresh spinach and carefully stir until the heat partially wilts the spinach. Remove the skillet from the heat.

spinach and white beans topped with crumbled bacon.

Crumble the cooked bacon over the skillet and fold to combine. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve warm!

Finished wilted spinach salad in the skillet.

Try These Other Spinach Salad Recipes:

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  1. I made this for one person – so I ended up with more beans and I absolutely loved it.

  2. Thank you, I have just made this for lunch and it hit the spot perfectly. I am was happy to learn a new bean recipe with a different flavour profile.

  3. Love recipes like this; Thankyou!  I can see this over some thick sliced toasted rustic bread. Yum

  4. I wonder if you add in sun dried tomatoes I’m super excited to try with and without.

  5. I made this tonight and it is now in my permanent rotation. I like the flexibility of the ingredients and that I was able to use ingredients that I had on hand. As suggested, I added some leftover French-fried onions. We opened a nice bottle of white wine.

  6. Sounds yum. A vegetarian/vegan version would be swapping olive oil for the bacon fat and in place of the bacon pieces, sundried tomatoes in olive oil. I think I’d like it better in the coming summer.

    1. Ooh, great suggestions!! I was thinking of adding a quick-pickled red onion and goat cheese as well.