1-Pot Green Curry with Chickpeas, Kale, and Sweet Potato

This comforting curry is inspired by our DIY green curry paste, which is a fusion of classic Thai green curry paste with flavors like lemongrass, garlic, and citrus, as well as whole spices like coriander and cumin seed.
I dreamt up this dish after ma…

1-Pot Green Curry with Chickpeas, Kale, and Sweet Potato

This comforting curry is inspired by our DIY green curry paste, which is a fusion of classic Thai green curry paste with flavors like lemongrass, garlic, and citrus, as well as whole spices like coriander and cumin seed.

I dreamt up this dish after making a dressing with this beloved green curry paste and pouring it over fresh kale, Instant Pot chickpeas, and perfect roasted potatoes. While delicious, I knew it would be next level if cooked and married with coconut milk.

1-Pot Green Curry with Chickpeas, Kale, and Sweet Potato from Minimalist Baker →

Orecchiette with Bacon and Wilted Frisée

This easy weeknight pasta recipe will satisfy all your senses: with chunky bits of bacon and delicate wilted frisée and a mountain of freshly shredded Pecorino cheese. Quick and easy is the name of the game with this orecchiette pasta dish. It’s satisfying and flavorful, and even manages to get some greens in there in […]

This easy weeknight pasta recipe will satisfy all your senses: with chunky bits of bacon and delicate wilted frisée and a mountain of freshly shredded Pecorino cheese.

Quick and easy is the name of the game with this orecchiette pasta dish. It’s satisfying and flavorful, and even manages to get some greens in there in a surprisingly delicious way.

Bowl of orecchiette on a vintage wood board with a silver fork

Much like escarole, frisée is a unique, sturdy green that’s a bit too bitter to really enjoy as part of a salad. For me at least!

And other than soup, pastas are our favorite way to handle these slightly-bitter greens; in this case, slightly wilted and coated in bacon-y goodness which really does wonders to allay the bitterness.

Overhead, bowl of pasta with bacon and wilted frisee on a wooden board with pepper flakes and pecorino cheese

We first made this pasta months ago; I even shot it and wrote up a draft, but never published it because something just wasn’t quite right. Turns out, it was the pasta shape that was the problem. We originally used bucatini, which is one of our all-time favorite pasta shapes, but when used in this recipe it makes it really hard to get a nice ‘bite’ that includes all the goods in a single forkful. All the bits and toppings tend to settle in the bottom of your bowl.

That’s where orecchiette is so perfect: the little pasta ‘ears’ basically serve as scoops for the good stuff.

Anyone else reminded of those little rubber poppers you’d get from the quarter machines? You know, the ones you’d flip inside out, set on the table then hold your breath until they went flying? Just me?

Also: I will never spell orecchiette right on the first try. Heck, I can barely spell it right on the second, I usually end up having to google it and copy the spelling from there. It’s even worse than mozzarella or prosciutto!

Orecchiette: impossible to spell, effortless to eat.

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Apple Butter Grilled Cheese

Fall for this autumn-inspired grilled cheese: with a layer of apple butter, thinly sliced fresh apples, sautéed shallots and thyme, and perfectly gooey, melty cheese that blurs the line between sweet and savory. I call this French-toast style grilled cheese, battered and butter-toasted until it’s perfectly golden brown, and let me tell you, it is […]

Fall for this autumn-inspired grilled cheese: with a layer of apple butter, thinly sliced fresh apples, sautéed shallots and thyme, and perfectly gooey, melty cheese that blurs the line between sweet and savory.

I call this French-toast style grilled cheese, battered and butter-toasted until it’s perfectly golden brown, and let me tell you, it is life changing, falling somewhere in between a traditional grilled cheese and a monte cristo.

The perfect cheese pull!

No, your tastebuds aren’t tricking you, this next-level grilled cheese somehow manages to be both sweet and savory.

In one bite you’ll taste the alpine-style cheese, nutty and mild and ultra melty. The next brings a hint of autumn spice and fruity sweetness from the apple butter, and a fresh crunch from the slices of thinly sliced apple. But then! There’s the shallot, sautéed with a bit of butter and thyme, for a subtle savory push. And finally, the eggy bread, cooked to golden brown perfection that’ll have your brain thinking you’re eating a slice of perfect French toast.

It’s a culinary mind melting experience, and I am here for it.

Apple butter grilled cheese cut in half, with apples, apple butter, and shallot.

Cooking a grilled cheese French-toast style involves basically brushing the bread with an egg/milk mixture instead of butter. Doing so walks the line between sweet and savory, taking your tastebuds on a wild adventure. The egg wash also produces a gorgeously golden brown finish (and let’s face it, we all eat with our eyes first anyway).

If you’ve ever had a Monte Cristo sandwich, it’s a similar idea (although sometimes Monte Cristos are deep fried and topped with powdered sugar, and, well, let’s just be reasonable here). You could even go full MC with this recipe and add a layer of thinly sliced ham or prosciutto in the mix.

Not only does the egg wash produce the most gorgeous golden brown crust, but it also gives the sandwiches a hint of egginess that just screams EAT ME FOR BRUNCH. Thought I’d be equally satisfied eating it for lunch. Or dinner, too, really (you know I’m always down for some B4D).

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Perfect Spinach Salad

This classy spinach salad is a salad to impress! Smoky pecans and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette make the best counterpoint to this leafy green. Here’s a salad to impress. It’s everything a classy spinach salad should be, full of texture and flavor contrasts. You’ll barely notice you’re eating this healthy leafy green when it’s covered tangy balsamic vinaigrette. There’s crunchy smoky pecans, almost bacon-like glazed with maple syrup and soy sauce. Add hard boiled eggs or a crisp-tart apple, and you’ve got a stunning side salad that will make everyone ooo and ahhh. (It happens every time we serve it…really.) It’s almost like the little black dress of salads: it’s brilliant for any occasion. Ingredients in the best spinach salad You may notice this salad has a vague retro vibe. In fact, it’s a spin on my Grandma’s 1970’s spinach salad…with a few tweaks! For the dressing we went with a classic balsamic vinaigrette, which complements the flavors perfectly. Instead of bacon, smoky glazed pecans create the illusion of meat but make the salad vegetarian. (For a fully plant based salad, we’ve got options too!) Here’s what you’ll need for this classic spinach salad: Hard boiled eggs or apple: Hard […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This classy spinach salad is a salad to impress! Smoky pecans and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette make the best counterpoint to this leafy green.

Spinach salad

Here’s a salad to impress. It’s everything a classy spinach salad should be, full of texture and flavor contrasts. You’ll barely notice you’re eating this healthy leafy green when it’s covered tangy balsamic vinaigrette. There’s crunchy smoky pecans, almost bacon-like glazed with maple syrup and soy sauce. Add hard boiled eggs or a crisp-tart apple, and you’ve got a stunning side salad that will make everyone ooo and ahhh. (It happens every time we serve it…really.) It’s almost like the little black dress of salads: it’s brilliant for any occasion.

Ingredients in the best spinach salad

You may notice this salad has a vague retro vibe. In fact, it’s a spin on my Grandma’s 1970’s spinach salad…with a few tweaks! For the dressing we went with a classic balsamic vinaigrette, which complements the flavors perfectly. Instead of bacon, smoky glazed pecans create the illusion of meat but make the salad vegetarian. (For a fully plant based salad, we’ve got options too!) Here’s what you’ll need for this classic spinach salad:

  • Hard boiled eggs or apple: Hard boiled eggs require forethought, so to whip this up in a flash substitute a crisp-tart apple. It’s just as good!
  • Smoky pecans: The secret to bacon flavor without meat! Glaze whole pecans in a mixture of soy sauce, maple syrup and smoked paprika.
  • Spinach: Baby spinach is more tender with a sweeter flavor; or, use chopped standard spinach.
  • Shallot: Thinly sliced shallot is the best trick for green salads. Its delicate oniony flavor is gentler than red onion.
  • Feta (optional): A sprinkle of feta cheese looks like confetti and brings a salty pop.
  • Balsamic vinaigrette: Tie it all together with this incredible homemade dressing.
Spinach salad

How to make smoky pecans (or use plain!)

One of the best parts of this salad is the pecans masquerading as bacon. Of course, if you’re running short on time: you can skip this step and just use plain pecans! But to make a truly magnificent spinach salad, it’s worth the time. Here are a few notes about the process:

  • You’ll need a skillet and 6 to 8 minutes. This is the time it takes to heat the glaze to cover the nuts.
  • They may come out soft or crunchy: either works! Making glazed nuts requires hitting the perfect sugar caramelization step to get them to dry into a crunchy glaze. If they come out soft: that’s ok! In fact, they taste more like bacon that way.

The best spinach salad dressing

What’s the best dressing for a spinach salad? Balsamic vinaigrette. Why? Spinach can have a bitter flavor undertone, so the tangy and subtly sweet notes of the dressing are the perfect pairing. Our favorite balsamic vinaigrette is very easy to whip up at home. All you need is 4 ingredients:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Olive oil

The only other thing to note is to add the olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk vigorously. This is the key to getting a perfectly creamy emulsion. The Djion mustard also helps to make a fantastically creamy texture.

Balsamic vinaigrette recipe

Using hard boiled eggs in salad

This spinach salad is absolutely classic with hard boiled eggs, as it harkens back to that 1970’s bacon and egg salad. And, they add a great amount of protein! One egg has 7 grams of protein. This is specifically helpful when you are looking for a side dish with protein to round out a vegetarian dinner.

If you can, make up a batch of hard boiled eggs in advance. This makes the salad quicker to put together. Store the hard boiled eggs refrigerated with the shell on (this keeps them fresher).

Apple makes this spinach salad quick and easy (and vegan)

Often we don’t think ahead enough to have time for hard boiled eggs. So if we’re serving this for an easy weeknight meal side dish, we like to use an apple instead! Using a crisp-tart apple makes a great flavor and texture contrast and fills out the salad. Of course, it doesn’t have the protein that a hard boiled egg does. But it’s a great stand-in! Of course, you can also add apple to salad with the eggs: even better!

You can also use this as a vegan variation. Use a crisp tart apple and omit the feta cheese crumbles: or use a dairy free cheese crumble of your choice.

Best spinach salad

Other adders to this salad!

Here are a few more ingredients you could add to this salad that make it incredible tasty:

  • Mushrooms: Thinly sliced raw mushrooms are common in a classic spinach salad. Add these if you like!
  • Bacon: Can’t live without actual bacon? Swap the smoky pecans for bacon.
  • Prosciutto: Cured ham like prosciutto or jamón serrano would also work well.
  • Croutons: Try these Homemade Garlic Croutons.

Ways to serve this spinach salad

There are so many ways to pair this spinach salad! In fact, it’s one of the most versatile green salad recipes we have. Use it to round out a vegetarian dinner, or it pairs well with seafood and chicken. Here are our top ways to serve it:

Spinach salad

A few more spinach salads

Love spinach salad? Us too. Here are a few more variations on this easy side dish for all the seasons:

This spinach salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free. For vegan and plant-based, use the variations listed above.

Print
Spinach salad

Perfect Spinach Salad (No, Really)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This classy spinach salad is a salad to impress! Smoky pecans and a creamy balsamic vinaigrette make the best counterpoint to this green.


Ingredients

  • 2 hard boiled eggs or 1 large crisp tart apple
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans*
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup or sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 pinches kosher salt or flaky sea salt
  • 1 recipe Best Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves or chopped standard spinach
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the hard boiled eggs: Make the hard boiled eggs, if using (or make them in advance). Chop them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Make the smoky pecans: Add the pecans, soy sauce, maple syrup and smoked paprika to a small non-stick skillet over medium heat. When it just starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low but still slowly bubbling. Simmer 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the last minute when the liquid is mostly evaporated, stir continuously until it is totally cooked out and the nuts start clumping together. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer the pecans to a sheet of parchment paper in a single layer. Sprinkle with 2 pinches kosher salt and allow to cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Make the dressing: Make the Balsamic Vinaigrette
  4. Prep the fresh ingredients: Thinly slice the shallot. If using apple instead of hard boiled egg, thinly slice the apple. 
  5. Serve: Place the spinach on plates or in bowls. Top with hard boiled eggs or apple slices, smoky pecans, sliced shallot, and feta cheese crumbles.

Notes

*You can also use plain pecans and skip the soy sauce, maple syrup, and smoked paprika. Or, you can make maple glazed pecans.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Spinach salad

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

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The post Roasted Green Beans appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Butter Parmesan Gnocchi with Squash, Corn & Tomatoes

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The post Butter Parmesan Gnocchi with Squash, Corn & Tomatoes appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Easy Pizza Burgers

Pizza may seem an unlikely flavor for a veggie burger, but it’s one of the best we’ve tried! Think chickpeas infused with Italian seasonings and vegan parmesan, coated in bread crumbs, baked until golden brown, and topped with red sauce. Hello, flavor …

Easy Pizza Burgers

Pizza may seem an unlikely flavor for a veggie burger, but it’s one of the best we’ve tried! Think chickpeas infused with Italian seasonings and vegan parmesan, coated in bread crumbs, baked until golden brown, and topped with red sauce. Hello, flavor match made in heaven!

These chickpea-based burgers are plant-based and simple to make, requiring just 10 ingredients and 30 minutes. Let’s do this!

Easy Pizza Burgers from Minimalist Baker →

Roast Chicken with Caramelized Shallots

I used to be one of those that was surprised when people said, “I don’t have time to cook.” To me, cooking and shopping for ingredients, which take the better parts of my days, has always been a pleasure for me rather than a burden. However, now I get it. Making dinner after a long day at work can be a challenge. In France, people…

I used to be one of those that was surprised when people said, “I don’t have time to cook.” To me, cooking and shopping for ingredients, which take the better parts of my days, has always been a pleasure for me rather than a burden. However, now I get it. Making dinner after a long day at work can be a challenge. In France, people don’t get home from work until 7 or 7:30pm, and not everyone wants to put on a kitchen apron when they get home and get moving on dinner.

Even during the lockdown, when we found ourselves having more time around the house, I was busier than ever. It was a challenge tracking down ingredients, and cooking all the time led to lots of dishes. I was also doing my best not to let anything go to waste, which meant that instead of tossing radish leaves, I made radish leaf soup. A bag of lemons that started looking past their prime became jars of lemon curd. And a compunction to update older blog posts (and photos) as I revisited them during the lockdown, from French Chocolate Mousse Cake and Carrot Salad to Cosmopolitans, it’s no wonder after the lockdown ended, I felt like I needed a vacation!

Continue Reading Roast Chicken with Caramelized Shallots...

Easy 1-Pan Salmon Red Curry

We have a thing for curries and salmon, so we recently decided to marry the two.
The result is a 1-pan, incredibly satisfying and flavorful dinner that’s ready in just 30 minutes. Let us show you how it’s done!
This curry starts with briefly marinatin…

Easy 1-Pan Salmon Red Curry

We have a thing for curries and salmon, so we recently decided to marry the two.

The result is a 1-pan, incredibly satisfying and flavorful dinner that’s ready in just 30 minutes. Let us show you how it’s done!

This curry starts with briefly marinating the salmon in a mixture of salt, coconut aminos, and chili garlic sauce for an extra boost of flavor. In a pinch, this step can be skipped!

Easy 1-Pan Salmon Red Curry from Minimalist Baker →

Cozy Thai-Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipe was supposed to be Vietnamese pho. But for some reason, pho keeps eluding me. So, after throwing a brief fit, I came back to the kitchen with a new idea: a brothy, Thai-inspired chicken noodle soup.
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Cozy Thai-Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup

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While it isn’t pho, it’s equally delicious. This soup is everything we were craving: cozy and comforting with the perfect amount of noodles and flavor.

It’s also super simple to make, requiring just 1 pot and easy-to-find ingredients.

Cozy Thai-Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup from Minimalist Baker →