Back in my day, spinach salad was topped with crispy bacon, the fat of which was kept warm and whisked up as the base of the dressing. This warm dressing was then poured over the salad just before it was served, so its heat would wilt the spinach. Nice, huh? I associated spinach salad with fancy dinner parties I went to with my parents when I was a child.
But I always hated it. The spinach salad, I mean, not the dinner parties themselves. Something about that bacon fat… I don’t know… just didn’t do it for me, especially after the salad had sat for awhile at room temperature. And call me crazy, but I don’t think bacon should go in ice cream, either.
Bacon & I haven’t spoken at all for about 25 years, ever since I discovered the connection between nitrites and migraines. But it’s no big loss for me since I never liked it in spinach salad anyway…
But then I discovered I really love spinach salad if it has the right things in it, like this spinach salad: spinach… bell peppers… pomelo.. feta… sunflower seeds… And pickled onions… ohhhh, the pickled onions.
Can we just talk about those guys for a sec? The onions themselves are healthy enough, but then… but then… when you make them into pickles by fermenting them, they produce all kinds of good bacteria that will make their new homes in your gut. These little dudes are warriors who will fight off the bad guys, burn fat, resist inflammation, get rid of unwanted cholesterol, and even control excess… ahem, gas. More and more studies show that gut health is vital to your overall health, and one major way to keep your intestines in top shape is to consume more of these friendly bacteria (i.e., “probiotics.”) So let’s get going with these pickled red onions, people! Even if you don’t do the whole salad…
But of course you should do the whole salad!! Because it comes together in a flash and the whole thing together is like music in your mouth. The olive-oil based dressing is mustard-y, garlicky, and the perfect foil to the strong flavours of the spinach and onions. The pomelo adds sweetness (and helps you absorb the iron in the spinach, by the way) and the soft feta adds just the right amount of creaminess. I threw some sunflower seeds on top, but pecans would also be amazing. It’s perfect for a light lunch or a compliment to any dinner.
Especially a dinner party, in my opinion!