Apple Bacon Spinach Salad with Spicy Maple Walnuts

30-minThis apple bacon spinach salad is packed with all sorts of goodies: bacon, spicy maple walnuts and crisp Granny Smith apples!


Is it strange that I crave salads?  I am a crazy salad lady.  They are one of my favorite things to eat and one of my favorite things to play with on this blog.

My perfect salad has a few important components: something leafy {but not lettuce!}, something crunchy, something creamy {usually cheese}, and something sweet.

Well, I have a salad for you, with all of those components: this apple bacon spinach salad!  But I feel like I’m misleading you guys a little bit.   This salad…well, there’s spinach, an apple and a bit of onion.  And then there’s bacon…cheese…and walnuts that are tossed in maple syrup.

So maybe you guys should know.  This isn’t ‘diet food’.  Because sometimes your salad needs bacon.  And cheese.  And candied walnuts.

Apple Bacon Spinach Salad with Spicy Maple Walnuts

I got my secret salad formula from one of my family’s favorite salads…one that comes out every year around Christmas, and is sure to come out once again this Christmas.

The ‘committee salad’ was apparently voted to be the best salad by a committee of some sort.  It has toasted almonds and sunflower seeds, avocado, lettuce, and oranges {or pomegranates}.  I guess you can say this salad here is inspired by the committee salad, as a delicious, fresh, flavorful salad that would make a perfect holiday side dish.

I would love to challenge the committee to taste this salad…I think this apple bacon spinach salad would win in a salad showdown!

Apple Bacon Spinach Salad with Spicy Maple Walnuts

This apple bacon spinach salad is a mix of flavors: sweet, salty, and spicy.  You’ve got crisp, tart Granny Smith slivers, salty, crunchy bacon, and those walnuts!  Toasted, then tossed in maple syrup with cinnamon and cayenne.  Wait…does that sound familiar?  I guess with the Mexican-Spiced Dark Chocolate Bark with Sea Salt and Pepitas I made earlier this week, I’m on a bit of a cinnamon and cayenne kick.

Not only is there a mix of flavors in this salad, there’s also a mix of textures…soft spinach, crunchy apples and walnuts, and bacon.  Whatever texture that is….bacony texture.

I tossed the salad in an apple cider vinaigrette that was sweetened slightly with a touch of maple syrup.  It goes perfectly with the maple-apple flavors happening in the salad.

Keep this one in mind for a deeelish holiday side dish!

More holiday side dishes for us!

Apple Bacon Spinach Salad with Spicy Maple Walnuts

4.8 from 5 reviews
Apple Bacon Spinach Salad with Spicy Maple Walnuts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This spinach salad is packed with all sorts of goodies: bacon, spicy maple walnuts and crisp Granny Smith apples. A salad worthy of a holiday feast.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4-6
  • 6 cups of loosely packed spinach
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
  • Walnuts, recipe below
Spicy Maple Walnuts
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Maple-Apple Vinaigrette
  1. Cook the bacon in a frying pan over medium heat. Using a paper towel, wipe excess bacon grease from pan, but leave a thin coating.
  2. Add the walnuts and cook over medium-low heat. If the bacon grease starts smoking, remove from heat immediately and reduce heat to prevent walnuts from burning. Cook for 5 or so minutes until lightly golden.
  3. While cooking walnuts, combine the maple syrup, cayenne, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Once walnuts are toasted, transfer them to the bowl and toss until thoroughly coated. Allow to cool before adding to salad.
  4. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  5. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl.
  6. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette just prior to serving.
For the spicy maple walnuts, start with ¼ tsp cayenne, then add more to taste. I used ½ tsp cayenne for mine, and they had a slight bite.

Products used in this recipe:

 Apple Bacon Spinach Salad with Spicy Maple Walnuts

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