Hearty Spinach Salad

I grew up thinking spinach was disgusting.  And it was.  Because the spinach of my youth looked a lot like this:

Canned Spinach. Blech!

Nothing can make that look or taste appetizing to me.  And don’t even get me started on the nasty smell.  All of the Popeye cartoons in the world would still not make me want to eat it. Canned spinach is the reason kids hate vegetables.

Luckily, as often happens, in my food journey somewhere along the line I discovered that spinach actually comes from a plant, not a can.  And the fresh stuff is pretty darn good!  In fact, it’s one of my favorite ingredients, and not just for salad.  You can chop up fresh spinach and put it in just about anything, from casseroles and omelets to meatloaf.

I haven’t eaten bacon since before we started Project Veggie.  You could make this without it (just saute the onions in a little butter or olive oil instead).  But I didn’t do that.  I miss bacon sometimes.  And combined with the spinach and apple juice and all the other good stuff in here, it was REALLY good. The potatoes, bacon and eggs also give this salad some nice substance, making it perfect for a main dish.

Hearty Spinach Salad. Much better!

Hearty Spinach Salad

1 – 10 oz. package fresh baby spinach
4-6 small red potatoes, cooked and diced
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2-4 bacon strips
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. pepper

Combine spinach, potatoes, eggs, and mushrooms in large salad bowl.  Cook bacon and remove to drain on paper towels.  Cook onion in bacon drippings until tender.  Combine cornstarch, apple juice, vinegar, sugar and pepper.  Stir into skillet with onions.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Pour over spinach mixture.  Crumble bacon on top and toss to combine.

Served with french bread on the side. Make sure you dig down and get all the good stuff from the bottom of the bowl!

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