I’m always on the hunt for new salad recipes. Finding fresh ingredients is a little harder in the winter, so I turn to canned goods and in-season fruit. This Bacon Artichoke Spinach Salad marries two ingredients I didn’t think would work together, but do: artichoke hearts and oranges.
This salad was born in part as a way to use some of the Nueske’s bacon my aunt and uncle sent me for Christmas. Nueske’s is a family-owned company out of Wittenberg, Wisconsin, and makes award-winning bacon. I used their applewood smoked bacon for this recipe and it turned out beautifully.
The first time I made this salad, I just used juice from the oranges in the dressing, instead of actual orange segments in the salad. The result was fatty and salty. I like rich food, but it needed more orange. So the next time I made this, I took the time to segment the oranges. Kind of a pain, but worth it.
In the new and improved salad, the artichoke hearts, Parmesan and bacon add heft and rich umami flavors, while the oranges provid the much-needed acid and brightness. The shallots add a little crunch and a zip of sharpness. The ginger-honey-miso dressing has it all: fat, salt, acid and heat, plus a little sweetness. All hail Samin Nosrat!
When you make this Bacon Artichoke Spinach Salad, try to find juicy oranges. I know, I know: All navel oranges look the same. But the secret is picking an orange that seems slightly heavy for its size. This handy guide from Taste of Home has some more tips on picking the perfect orange.
When buying artichoke hearts, try to find hearts packed in oil. Trader Joe’s has marinated grilled artichoke hearts that I always grab. You can even reserve the oil in the jar and use it for the dressing. Happy salad-ing!
Bacon Artichoke Spinach Salad
For the salad:
- 1 pound bacon
- 3 oranges, washed
- 8 ounces spinach
- 12- ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- ½ a shallot, about 2 tablespoons, sliced thin crosswise
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup canola or other neutral oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon white or brown miso paste
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper (white, if you have it)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and place bacon strips side-by-side in pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crispy. Transfer to paper-towel lined plate to cool.
- While bacon is cooking, segment the oranges: First, cut the ends off each orange, then carefully cut off the rest of the rind. Next, with a very sharp medium knife, cut each segment out of its membrane, getting as close to the membrane as possible. You should end up with a pile of orange segments free of their fibrous membranes.
- Carefully chop bacon while still warm, using a paper towel to protect fingers if necessary. Toss all salad ingredients together – the warm bacon should wilt the spinach slightly.
- Assemble the dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shaking well, until ingredients are emulsified. You can also whisk ingredients in a bowl.
- Store salad dressing separately until ready to serve.