Summer Spinach Salad with Sweet Vinaigrette

Time to Chill

I’m really feeling the changes going on in our family, lately. This summer hasn’t felt the same as those in the past…we’ve been going through the growing pains of kids turning into teens (and parents turning into grouches!) We’re trying to stretch and mold ourselves to this new way of being a family. Fitting in time together being our priority even when that means dealing with the many moods of puberty. Oh, the joy. But, when those little moments of connection happen, boy do I ever appreciate them. I’m even learning to laugh at the daily irritations more often…oh, except yesterday when I’m sure our neighbors could hear me in the midst of a mom-lecturing-teenager mood of my own.
Time for something cool to eat to help cool me down. Not just for bad moods, but this tastes good anytime the summer heat gets to you.

Summer Spinach Salad with Sweet Vinaigrette

I use a combination of spinach and romaine hearts, because I like a crunchier salad than you would get if you just used the spinach. Use whatever greens you like.

Baby spinach leaves
Romaine heart leaves
Fresh sliced mushrooms
Sliced scallions (green onion)
Grape tomatoes
Boiled eggs, chopped
Bacon or Turkey bacon, chopped

Wash spinach and lettuce leaves thoroughly and pat dry or put through salad spinner. Tear romaine into bite-size pieces and combine with mushrooms and scallions. Toss with dressing and top with tomatoes, eggs and bacon.

A note about bacon: To make a healthy choice, I use the kind that has not been cured with nitrites or nitrates — the brand I buy is called “natural uncured” bacon. Read the labels on bacon and most lunchmeat packages, and you’ll see that most of them are cured with nitrites, which are detrimental to our health. Because bacon is high in fat but adds so much flavor, you don’t need a lot in this salad to make it taste great. Or, if you prefer to stay away from meat, you could use some crumbled blue cheese and/or some toasted pecans.

Sweet Vinaigrette

1/2 cup canola oil
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Or, combine all in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously. Makes enough for about 6 meal-sized salads.

I just remembered that this salad goes great with a nice chilled glass of white wine. Mmm…that’s better. Cheers to calming down and cooling off.

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