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!
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
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.
Wilted Spinach Salad
- 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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How to Make Wilted Spinach Salad – Step by Step Photos
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.
Add two minced cloves of garlic to the skillet and sauté in the bacon fat for about one minute.
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.
Heat and stir the ingredients until everything is heated through and the vinaigrette ingredients have combined.
Add 8oz. fresh spinach and carefully stir until the heat partially wilts the spinach. Remove the skillet from the heat.
Crumble the cooked bacon over the skillet and fold to combine. Taste the salad and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve warm!