Spinach, Portabella, Bacon & Blue Cheese in Walnut Dressing

Total Time
21mins
Prep
15 mins
Cook
6 mins

From the *Carnival Experience* cookbook & Peter Leypold (Executive Chef of Carnival Cruise Lines), this was by far my favorite salad enjoyed on our recent Carribean cruise. I entered this recipe as written, but suggest you read my notes at the end of the prep steps for a suggestion to abbreviate the prep + optional ingredient subs. This is definitely a company-worthy salad & I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. :-) (Time includes making the dressing & assembling the salads, but assumes all ingredient prep has been done in advance)

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Ingredients

Nutrition

Directions

  1. For Dressing: Whisk together all ingredients. Season w/salt + pepper as desired & set aside.
  2. For Salads:.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F Toss 1/4 cup walnuts w/1 tsp powd sugar. Place on baking sheet & bake 6-8 min, stirring occ. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.
  4. Combine spinach, sliced mushrooms & crumbled bacon in a lrg bowl. Add dressing & toss to coat.
  5. Divide mixture onto 6 salad plates & sprinkle w/toasted walnuts + crumbled blue cheese. Serve immediately.
  6. NOTE #1: I frankly did not notice that much of a distinction between the plain walnuts mixed w/the dressing & the toasted & slightly sweetened walnuts atop the salad. For that reason, I will likely just combine the 1/2 cup walnuts w/the dressing, add the tsp of powd sugar for a hint of sweetness & eliminate the toasting step.
  7. Note #2: As an option, feel free to sub pecans in this recipe or even use pine nuts which I think work very well w/spinach salads.
  8. Note #3: For those of you (like me) who do not keep red wine vinegar in your pantry, make your own using a 1:3 ratio. For this recipe using 1/4 cup, that would be 1 tbsp red wine mixed w/3 tbsp white vinegar. Too easy, huh?