Greek Fries

These crispy Greek fries are the ultimate side dish! They’re showered with Mediterranean-style toppings: feta cheese, onion and herbs. Sure you can eat French fries with ketchup…but what’s the fun in that? Here’s a unique way to dress up your fries, Mediterranean style. Make homemade Greek fries! These crispy Yukon gold taters are thin sliced and baked with a homemade seasoning blend starring oregano, garlic and dill. Out of the oven, they’re showered with feta cheese crumbles, fresh parsley and red onion, which add just the right Greek-style vibe. Better yet, serve them with lemon dill sauce for dipping! They’re the best pair for a falafel burger or baked shrimp. Let’s get cooking! What are Greek fries? What are Greek fries? Are they authentic to Greek cuisine? Well, yes and no. The authentic Greek-style French fries that you’d get at a restaurant are called Patates Tiganites (here’s an authentic recipe from a Greek recipe writer). These are thick-cut potatoes, usually a waxy potato like Yukon gold, fried and topped with dried oregano. You’ll also find that Greek or Mediterranean restaurants may make French fries and top them with feta cheese and herbs. Some restaurants in Greece even serve them this […]

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

These crispy Greek fries are the ultimate side dish! They’re showered with Mediterranean-style toppings: feta cheese, onion and herbs.

Greek fries

Sure you can eat French fries with ketchup…but what’s the fun in that? Here’s a unique way to dress up your fries, Mediterranean style. Make homemade Greek fries! These crispy Yukon gold taters are thin sliced and baked with a homemade seasoning blend starring oregano, garlic and dill. Out of the oven, they’re showered with feta cheese crumbles, fresh parsley and red onion, which add just the right Greek-style vibe. Better yet, serve them with lemon dill sauce for dipping! They’re the best pair for a falafel burger or baked shrimp. Let’s get cooking!

What are Greek fries?

What are Greek fries? Are they authentic to Greek cuisine? Well, yes and no. The authentic Greek-style French fries that you’d get at a restaurant are called Patates Tiganites (here’s an authentic recipe from a Greek recipe writer). These are thick-cut potatoes, usually a waxy potato like Yukon gold, fried and topped with dried oregano.

You’ll also find that Greek or Mediterranean restaurants may make French fries and top them with feta cheese and herbs. Some restaurants in Greece even serve them this way. There’s no real “authentic” definition to what exact toppings go on Greek fries. So our recipe for Greek fries is a spin on Mediterranean flavors and the style of fries we enjoyed while traveling in Santorini.

Use a waxy potato, like Yukon gold

Standard French fry recipes use russet potatoes, to get that fluffy on the inside texture that restaurant fries have. But in our research, we found that Greek fries recipes use a waxy potato like Yukon gold. This has a smoother texture on the interior, with a bit sweeter flavor. It definitely tastes like a different type of French fry! Use this type of potato if you can find it: but russet potatoes work just as well.

Greek fries

The seasoning for Greek fries: a homemade blend!

Another thing that makes this Greek fries recipe special: our homemade Greek seasoning blend! This blend features dried herbs and spices that are often used in Greek cuisine. These seasonings really make the dish! Make up a batch and you’ll have leftover to use in other recipes: we love it sprinkled over potatoes, sauteed vegetables, and fish. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Dried oregano
  • Dried dill
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and black pepper

Toppings for Greek fries

The toppings in these Greek fries are what make it shine! Here are the fry toppings you’ll need to add the Mediterranean-style flair to this recipe:

  • Feta cheese crumbles: As you crumble them, break them into smaller pieces with your fingers. Very large chunks won’t stick to the fries.
  • Red onion: If you don’t like spicy red onion, rinse the chopped onion a few times first, then drain completely. This helps to soften the flavor.
  • Fresh parsley: Curly parsley is the way to go if you can find it: it brings the best Greek flavor like in our quinoa tabbouleh. If all you can find is flat leaf or Italian parsley, that works too!
How to make Greek fries

Sauces for dipping Greek fries

The last element to these easy homemade baked French fries that adds a Greek vibe is the dipping sauce! We have a few different sauces that would work well here. Pick from the following:

How to cut fries

The part of making these healthy Greek fries with the most technique is cutting the fries! There are two methods you can use: hand-cutting or using a fry cutter. Here’s what to know about how to cut fries by hand:

  • Watch the video first: Go and watch this video.
  • Make a base: Slice off the ends of each potato, then slice off part of the side to make a base.
  • Cut planks, then strips: Place the potato half cut side down and cut off a 3/8-inch slice, then lay the slice on its side and cut it into several long 3/8-inch wide strips. Repeat until all potatoes have been cut into fries!

A shortcut? You can use a fry cutter! It’s rather large so you’ll need to have good storage space. But it works like a charm! Here’s a link to the French fry cutter we use.

Mediterranean French fries

Tips for making Greek fries perfectly crispy

Last up: how to make these Greek fries perfectly crispy? Here are a few of the tips we use to make a crispy baked fry:

  • Soak the fries 10 minutes while the oven preheats. This gets the perfect soft inside and crisp exterior.
  • Use parchment paper. This helps with clean-up and makes for crispy bottoms. Don’t use a silicon baking sheet, or they’ll get too soggy.
  • Space apart as much as possible, keeping them in a single layer. No stacking! You need maximum space around each fry to get them crispy (even better, use a “half sheet” baking sheet that’s large enough to fit the entire oven rack).

And that’s it! We hope you love these Greek fries as much as we do!

This Greek fries recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based and dairy-free, use dairy-free feta crumbles.

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Greek fries

Greek Fries


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

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These crispy Greek fries are the ultimate side dish! They’re showered with Mediterranean-style toppings: feta cheese, onion and herbs.


Ingredients

  • 6 medium Yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2  to 1 3/4 pounds)*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon homemade Greek Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup feta crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped curly parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 4 lemon wedges, for serving
  • Optional: tzatziki, lemon dill sauce (our favorite), or aioli, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenly space the oven racks to ensure even cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into fries: (Watch this video or use a fry cutter.) Wash the potatoes, leaving the skins on. Slice off the ends of each potato, then slice off part of the side to make a base. Place the potato half cut side down and cut off a 3/8-inch slice, then lay the slice on its side and cut it into several long strips. Repeat until all potatoes have been cut into fries. The pieces can be uneven, but aim for as uniform of thickness as possible. See the video for full instructions!
  3. Soak in cold water (10 minutes): Place the cut fries into a medium bowl and rinse with cold water until water is clear. Then fill the bowl with cold water and allow to rest for 10 minutes (while the oven preheats). Then drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with a clean dish towel.
  4. Season the fries: Add the fries to a dry bowl and toss them with the olive oil, Greek seasoning and kosher salt. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the fries in straight lines on the paper, placing them as far apart as possible.
  5. Bake: Bake the fries for 20 minutes. Take them out of the oven and carefully flip each fry. Return to oven (reversing the pans on top and bottom racks). Bake additional 8 to 10 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown, watching carefully as the bake time depends on the fry thickness and your oven. (If the majority of the fries seem soft, continue to bake a few more minutes.)
  6. Season: Taste and add a few more pinches salt if desired. 
  7. Garnish: Transfer fries to a platter and top with the feta cheese crumbles, breaking larger chunks into small pieces with your fingers. Add the finely chopped parsley and red onion. Serve with lemon wedges and tzatziki or lemon dill sauce.

Notes

*This makes a good amount of fries, but much less than a restaurant portion (that’s as intended!). The largest quantity of fries that fits on two baking sheets is 2 pounds, you can increase to that much if desired (adjust seasonings accordingly).

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Greek inspired

Keywords: Greek fries

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

Brussels Sprouts with Maple Glaze

Here’s how to make the best Brussels sprouts recipe…ever. They’re baked until impossibly crispy and drizzled with a maple balsamic glaze. Every now and then, a recipe comes along that blows us out of the water. Such is the case with these Brussels sprouts. These really are next level, and here’s why. They’re impossibly crispy, baked until they’re caramelized and the outside layers flake off into darkened crunchy chips. Then they’re draped in a tangy maple balsamic glaze that heightens the flavors to their peak. One bite of these, and everyone around the table will be asking how you did it. How to cook Brussels sprouts to perfection Sure, you can fry up these mighty sprouts. They’re delicious, but it’s messy and it uses a lot of oil. So to us, the optimal cooking method for Brussels sprouts is roasting them until crispy. But there are a few tricks to getting that perfect charred caramelization. Here’s what to know: Roast at high heat, in a single layer cut side down. 450 degrees Fahrenheit is the ultimate temperature for roasting vegetables. Place all those cute sprouts cut side down for the best caramelization. You’ll want them in a single layer: no […]

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

Here’s how to make the best Brussels sprouts recipe…ever. They’re baked until impossibly crispy and drizzled with a maple balsamic glaze.

Brussels sprouts

Every now and then, a recipe comes along that blows us out of the water. Such is the case with these Brussels sprouts. These really are next level, and here’s why. They’re impossibly crispy, baked until they’re caramelized and the outside layers flake off into darkened crunchy chips. Then they’re draped in a tangy maple balsamic glaze that heightens the flavors to their peak. One bite of these, and everyone around the table will be asking how you did it.

How to cook Brussels sprouts to perfection

Sure, you can fry up these mighty sprouts. They’re delicious, but it’s messy and it uses a lot of oil. So to us, the optimal cooking method for Brussels sprouts is roasting them until crispy. But there are a few tricks to getting that perfect charred caramelization. Here’s what to know:

  • Roast at high heat, in a single layer cut side down. 450 degrees Fahrenheit is the ultimate temperature for roasting vegetables. Place all those cute sprouts cut side down for the best caramelization. You’ll want them in a single layer: no stacking!
  • Use parchment paper to line your baking sheet: not a silicone mat! Parchment paper makes them the crispiest; silicone mats make them soggy.
  • Bake one tray at a time. To get maximum airflow in your oven, bake only one tray at once. (We learned this the hard way.)
  • Don’t stir! That’s right, don’t even think about stirring! Throw them in for 25 minutes and they should crisp up beautifully.
Brussels sprouts

Accent with a maple glaze (optional!)

These Brussels sprouts are absolutely delicious roasted with olive oil and salt. The outer layers fall off and make crunchy, salty chips that are irresistibly good. Most of the time we eat them plain: because we like them savory! But want to take them over the top? They’re fantastic with a little sweet nuance from a tangy sweet glaze.

For the maple glaze, all you’ll do is heat equal parts maple syrup and balsamic vinegar until they reduce into a slightly thick syrup. We added a shake of soy sauce for good measure. Drizzle that over your Brussels sprouts, and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven.

More flavor variations

Want to get creative? There are lots more ways to flavor Brussels sprouts. Here are some ideas:

  • Spicy: Make a spicy variation by adding hot sauce to the maple glaze (about 1 teaspoon), or try these Spicy Brussels Sprouts.
  • Honey: Another great flavor pairing is honey! Drizzle simply with honey or even hot honey.
  • Hoisin: Brussels go well with Asian-style flavors. Toss with purchased or homemade hoisin sauce.
Brussels sprouts with maple glaze

How to make a larger serving of Brussels sprouts

Did you read all our tips above about crispy Brussels sprouts? Let’s see if you were paying attention. How many trays can you have in the oven at once? One tray. That’s right: to get the maximum airflow around your sprouts while they bake, the oven must not have any other food in it.

How to roast more than 1 1/2 pounds at one time? You can do this if you have a larger baking sheet that covers the entire baking rack. That’s an 18 x 13 pan, also called a “half sheet pan“. You could comfortably fit about 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of Brussels sprouts on a half sheet pan, making sure they have a little space around each.

How to cook Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts nutrition

Are Brussels sprouts healthy? Gone are the days of soggy canned sprouts being forced on kids to get their vegetables. These crispy sprouts taste good, they’re almost as addicting as French fries. So are they good for you? Here are the nutrition facts for 1/2 cup plain cooked Brussels sprouts:

IngredientCaloriesProteinCarbsFiberFat
Brussels sprouts28 calories2 grams6 grams2 grams0 grams

Keep in mind that oil and the glaze add calories to the nutrition info! Here are some of the top benefits of these mighty sprouts. Brussels sprouts are (data source):

  • Low in calories and relatively high in fiber.
  • Full of Vitamin K and Vitamin C (137% and 81% of your daily need respectively), and other vitamins and nutrients.
  • Full of antioxidants which may decrease inflammation and increase heart health.
Brussels sprouts with maple glaze recipe

More ways to cook Brussels sprouts

This Brussels sprouts recipe is a favorite healthy side dish, perfect for any easy dinner (or even Thanksgiving). But there are lots of other great ways to prepare this healthy vegetable. Here are some more Brussels sprouts recipes that show more ways to cook them:

Brussels sprouts recipe

This Brussels sprouts recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Brussels sprouts

Brussels Sprouts with Maple Glaze


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

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Here’s how to make the best Brussels sprouts recipe…ever. They’re baked until impossibly crispy and drizzled with a maple balsamic glaze.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (To get them perfectly crispy, make sure this is the only pan in the oven and you’re not roasting anything else at the same time.)
  2. Slice off any hard ends of the Brussels sprouts, as needed. Slice them in half lengthwise and place them in a large bowl.
  3. Mix the sprouts with the olive oil, kosher salt, and lots of fresh ground black pepper.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper*, then pour the spouts onto the sheet. Turn them all cut side down.
  5. Roast for 25 minutes until very browned and tender (don’t stir!). 
  6. While the sprouts are roasting, place the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes on medium low heat until thickened slightly and reduced (this should result in about 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons glaze). 
  7. When the sprouts are done, pour over the maple balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.

Notes

*Don’t use a silicone baking mat, since these can also make the Brussels sprouts less crispy. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can skip it and roast directly on the sheet.

  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Brussels sprouts, Brussels sprouts recipe

More easy side dish recipes

This recipe is one of our top easy side dish recipes…ever! Sprouts are always a hit. But here are a few more ideas for vegetable side dishes:

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

Pumpkin Soup

Is there anything more autumnal than creamy pumpkin soup? A few weekends back, Chicago was seeing its first fall weather of the year. The air was crisp, a few leaves were turning yellow and red, and Jack and I were making our traditional Sunday trip to…


Is there anything more autumnal than creamy pumpkin soup? A few weekends back, Chicago was seeing its first fall weather of the year. The air was crisp, a few leaves were turning yellow and red, and Jack and I were making our traditional Sunday trip to the farmers market. When we got there, I caught sight of a massive kabocha squash with vibrant orange skin. As soon as I saw it, I knew how I was spending my afternoon. On a cool day like that, there’s nothing I love more than making a big pot of soup. I scooped up […]

The post Pumpkin Soup appeared first on Love and Lemons.

Carrot Fries (Ranch Seasoned!)

These carrot fries are full of big flavor, sprinkled with ranch seasoning and baked until lightly crispy! Everyone will ask for the recipe. Good news, fry lovers: there’s a new fry in town. Carrot fries! This healthy fry recipe is full of all the nutrients of this popular vegetable: but tastes like your favorite greasy comfort food. Even better: they’re coated in ranch seasoning! This play on the standard pairing of carrots and ranch gives a savory zing to each bite. Of course, you can dip them in ranch too for double the fun. They’re baked, and there’s a little trick to give them a lightly crispy exterior. Everyone will love them! We couldn’t stop sneaking bites off the baking sheet. Ingredients for the best carrot fries You’ll need just a handful of ingredients for carrot fries: and most of them are the spices you’ll need of the ranch seasoning. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand: Carrots: medium to large carrots work best, since they’re easiest for cutting fries Olive oil Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill, dried parsley Cornstarch Salt How to cut carrots into fries The hardest part of this recipe is actually cutting the […]

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

These carrot fries are full of big flavor, sprinkled with ranch seasoning and baked until lightly crispy! Everyone will ask for the recipe.

Carrot fries

Good news, fry lovers: there’s a new fry in town. Carrot fries! This healthy fry recipe is full of all the nutrients of this popular vegetable: but tastes like your favorite greasy comfort food. Even better: they’re coated in ranch seasoning! This play on the standard pairing of carrots and ranch gives a savory zing to each bite. Of course, you can dip them in ranch too for double the fun. They’re baked, and there’s a little trick to give them a lightly crispy exterior. Everyone will love them! We couldn’t stop sneaking bites off the baking sheet.

Ingredients for the best carrot fries

You’ll need just a handful of ingredients for carrot fries: and most of them are the spices you’ll need of the ranch seasoning. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

  • Carrots: medium to large carrots work best, since they’re easiest for cutting fries
  • Olive oil
  • Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill, dried parsley
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt

How to cut carrots into fries

The hardest part of this recipe is actually cutting the carrots into fries! How to get those perfect rectangle fry shapes? Well, it’s similar to the steps for cutting fries out of a potato. Here’s what to do:

  • Slice off the ends of the carrot.
  • Square off each of the sides of the carrot to make a rectangular box shape.
  • Cut into 3/8-inch wide slices, then cut each slice into strips.
Carrot fries

The tricks to crispy baked carrot fries

Here’s the thing. When you bake carrots, they turn out beautifully tender: like with these Roasted Carrots. But that’s not what you want with fries! We don’t have a deep fryer and typically don’t like frying at home (it’s messy and not worth the effort). So we’ve found a few tricks to making lightly crispy baked carrot fries! They don’t come out crunchy like they would in a deep fryer, but they’re lightly crisp and totally satisfying. Here’s what to know:

  1. Coat in cornstarch. Cornstarch helps to form a crispy coating for the carrots, which can turn soggy and tender in the oven.
  2. Place on parchment paper. Don’t use a Silpat or silicon baking sheet, which can make for soggy fries! Paper is the way to go.
  3. Spread apart on the baking sheet. Spread the fries as far apart on the baking sheet as possible: this allows for maximum airflow and enhances crispiness. Bake a maximum of 2 pounds of carrots in the oven at once.
Carrots

Are these healthy fries?

We think so! These healthy carrot fries are part of a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet. Here’s why these fries pale in comparison to those from your favorite fast food chain:

  • The ingredients are just carrots, minimal olive oil and a bit of salt. These are all healthy, whole food ingredients. They’re basically baked carrots!
  • They have all the nutrients of carrots. Scroll down for more on that.
  • The serving size is moderate. The serving size is much less than a restaurant would serve, so that helps to keep the calories down.

Carrots nutrition

Carrot are one of the best vegetables you can eat! They’re not just good for your eyesight. Here are some of the top nutritional benefits of this tasty orange veggie (source):

  • Low in calories, high in fiber: One cup of chopped carrots has only 52 calories and 3.6 grams of fiber. (source)
  • Packed with Vitamin A (beta carotene): This root veggie has 428% of your daily vitamin A in 1 cup! It’s present as beta-carotene, an antioxidant that could help in cancer prevention. Your body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A.
  • High in Vitamins C, K and potassium: Carrot are also are high in these vitamins.

Yes, all these good things are present in a recipe of carrot fries! So why not give them a taste?

Carrot fries

Dipping sauces for carrot fries

These carrot fries are delicious on their own, as an easy healthy side dish for dinner. But of course you can spice them up with a dipping sauce! Here are a few we’d recommend:

Serving these fries

These carrot fries are a fantastic healthy side dish to complete a meal. They’d be perfect with all sorts of dinner ideas — here are a few of our top choices:

This carrot fries recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Carrot fries

Carrot Fries (Ranch Seasoned!)


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

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These carrot fries are full of big flavor, sprinkled with ranch seasoning and baked until lightly crispy! Everyone will ask for the recipe.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots, medium to large
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel the carrots. Cut the carrots into thin fries: slice off the ends, then square off each of the sides to make a rectangular box shape. Cut into 3/8-inch wide slices, then cut the slices into strips. 
  3. Place the fries in a large bowl. Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, dried dill, dried parsley, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Drizzle the carrots with the olive oil, then add the spices and cornstarch. Mix thoroughly to combine.
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread the fries on the paper, placing them as far apart as possible. 
  5. Bake 12 minutes on one side, then flip the fries and bake 12 to 17 additional minutes until the fries are dry and slightly browned; watch them carefully as the cooking time can depend on the thickness and the heat of your oven. Thinner fries will turn out crispier than larger fries (you’ll likely have some variation).
  6. Cool a few minutes, then serve immediately. (Note: Fries are best right out of the oven; they become softer as they sit.)

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Carrot fries

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

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

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