This delicious Spinach Salad recipe is one that I have been making for years! Crispy bacon, creamy cottage cheese, and a sweet and tangy poppyseed dressing make this salad a satisfying dish that goes well with almost any meal. It’s also easy to make with ingredients I always have on hand. One taste and you’ll understand why it’s our favorite!
Why This is our Favorite Spinach Salad:
I love a good salad. And if a hearty main dish salad isn’t on the menu, then a quick side salad usually makes an appearance at the dinner table. Often it’s a ‘clean-out-the-fridge’ kind of salad- a way to use up extra produce at the end of the week. But when I want something just a little bit extra.. that’s when I turn to this spinach salad.
Make no mistake, this salad still comes together really quickly using simple ingredients that I usually have on hand. But the flavor is anything but ordinary. Spinach and crispy romaine are topped with salty bacon, creamy cottage cheese, and a simple poppyseed dressing made with pantry staples. The result is a sweet and savory salad that keeps everyone coming back until the bowl is empty.
Easy enough for a weeknight, but ‘fancy’ enough for company or holiday dinners. This Spinach Salad recipe is ambitious like that. If I have it, sometimes I’ll throw strawberries, sliced avocados, or mandarin oranges into the mix. But it really isn’t necessary. This salad is deliciously complete just as it is.
Ingredients for our Favorite Spinach Salad:
- Spinach– We like to use baby spinach in this salad.
- Lettuce– Romaine lettuce gives a nice crunch to the salad.
- Bacon– You can use whatever bacon you like here. I like to use the precooked bacon from Costco.
- Mozzarella Cheese– Fresh grated mozzarella is better than pre-shredded in this salad.
- Cottage Cheese– I like to use large curd cottage cheese in this salad.
- Sugar– You’ll need regular, white granulated sugar for this dressing.
- Oil– Any neutral-flavored oil works here. I’ve used avocado oil, vegetable oil, and light olive oil.
- White Vinegar– Good old white, distilled vinegar is what we use in this dressing.
- Poppy Seeds– Adds great crunch and color.
- Dry Mustard– This recipe calls for dry mustard powder, but if you don’t have that, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard can be used also.
- Salt– I like to use kosher or sea salt.
- Green Onion– Green onion adds a lovely, mellow flavor to the dressing.
How to Make this Spinach Salad Recipe:
- Prep lettuce. Wash and chop lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large serving bowl with the spinach and toss lightly to combine.
- Drain the cottage cheese. Pour the cottage cheese into a sieve and rinse with cold water to remove the creamy liquid. Drain well and add to the salad. Add shredded mozzarella and crispy bacon.
- Make the dressing. In a small jar or bowl add all of the dressing ingredients. Add a lid and shake, or whisk until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.
- Toss the salad. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Or, serve the dressing on the side.
Tips & Suggestions:
Can I make spinach salad ahead of time?
You can prep this salad earlier in the day. Reserve the bacon and add it right before serving. The poppyseed dressing can be made well in advance. It will last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Don’t add the dressing until you are ready to serve. Undressed leftover salad will last for up to 2 days in the fridge. You will likely have more dressing than you need for the salad, so add just enough to lightly coat, then add more to taste if desired.
What else can I put in this spinach salad recipe?
This recipe is super adaptable. This variation is our very favorite, but here are some other ingredient combinations that you can try:
- Swiss Cheese, Mandarin Oranges, Diced Avocado & Fried Onions
- Strawberries, Chopped Pecans & Feta Cheese
- Blueberries, Toasted Walnuts & Goat Cheese
- Diced Hard Boiled Eggs & Sliced Mushrooms
- Avocado, Strawberry & Slivered Almonds
- Fresh Peaches, Sliced Almonds & Smoked Gouda
What goes well with your favorite spinach salad?
One of the things I love about this salad is that it is delicious with so many different meals. Here are a few recipes it goes great with:
- Healthy Turkey Meatloaf
- Grilled Lemon Chicken
- The Best Turkey Burgers
- Baked Ziti
- Crockpot Italian Chicken
- Turkey Paninis
- Turkey Stroganoff
More Delicious Salad Recipes:
- Broccoli Salad
- Chopped Kale Salad
- The Best Fruit Salad
- Waldorf Salad
- Everyday Simple Citrus Dressing
Favorite Spinach Salad
- Rinse lettuce and chop into bite size pieces. Add to a large salad bowl with spinach.
- Drain and rinse cottage cheese. Add to the salad bowl with the shredded mozzarella cheese and crispy bacon pieces. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Chill until ready to serve the salad.
- You can pour the dressing over the salad when ready to serve, or let people add their own dressing to their salad portion. Enjoy!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie