Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spinach, Beet, Bacon, Egg, and Blue Cheese Salad

Beet, Bacon, Spinach, Egg, and Blue Cheese Salad

This recipes name doesn't have you at hello, does it? It doesn't quite lure you in with that boring title. Don't let that fool you. You ought never to judge something by what it seems. Isn't that what were taught? Don't judge a book by it's cover. For a non-food example- when you see my daughter roaming the halls at school in her new DC skater shoes and flat hat, you might be apt to think

Oh, there goes that beautiful girl who hasn't blossomed into a lady with fashion sense quite yet 

 Or, most likely,

 She looks like a punk.

She wants you to think the latter. She thinks it's cool.

We took the two oldest kids to Denver before school started to celebrate the end of summer. We went to the zoo and to the movies. We ordered room service dessert, and we went to the mall to get my daughter some shoes...more specifically, to get her a pair of TOMS. But once we got there, somehow the plan changed. Wouldn't these DC shoes be better? I love these DC shoes! Can I get the cool shoes? Mom! Toms are dork shoes! They look like you. 

What?! How are these dork shoes?! They are pretty shoes.


I made her try on a pair of the TOMS. She stomped around the store barely giving them a second glance before she ripped it off and put the DC's back on. In a last ditch effort, I showed her the converse rack- wouldn't these be nice?


Not a chance. She was set on the DC's. So, she got them. And now she now walks around looking like she has boats on her feet. Sigh. 


Jeremy had to have a talk with her that went something like "a person is a punk because of how they behave, not what shoes they wear...and I know my little daughter is NOT a punk. That's why I'm letting you get these." He's biased though because he used to wear punk shoes which he was not allowed to straight lace. I used to wear Adidas and Converse. Isabella and I were not going to see eye to eye on this. She has a very strong fashion sense, that child, and I need to let her be her because I would literally die if someone took away my nude patented leather ballet flats and made me wear some neon high tops.

At least theres a cute pop of blue

I let her be her, but I hightailed it out of that store right quick when my son brought me these with inquisitive eyes.


He's 5. He can be who I want him to be a little longer. I joke. I actually thought those were very cute, albeit funny, on him.

Anyway, all that to say you can't judge until you know, whether it's shoes on a person or salads with lame names. You just can't know. My daughter is a gem, and this salad is simply off the hook.

My Grandpa Grillo made this for us one night after my Grandma prepared some fresh beets. I remember it distinctly because I had never been so enamored with a salad. I had never found myself going back for second and third servings of salad ever before that. I had also never had a salad as my main meal before and been satisfied. This one though? With the long and uninteresting name? It was perfect. Everything about it. I can still see my grandpa, sitting there in his chair, hovered over his giant silver metal bowl, clanking his fork around eating hearty mouthfuls of salad. He is notorious for his salad making skills. And, eating a big salad in an oversized bowl has become mandatory at our house. You need plenty of room for tossing you know. The one I used for the picture above is too small.

Beet, Bacon, Spinach, Egg, and Blue Cheese Salad

We can't consider this the healthiest of salads with the hard boiled eggs, blue cheese, and bacon. But, when you consider how many greens and beets you are eating and really, really enjoying, it sort of evens itself out. The trick is in your proportions. I make sure to pile on the greens and beets while the rest is used scantily for flavor enhancement. It's a good deal. With all the fiber, protein and fats going on you'll definitely feel satisfied with this as a main meal.

You can dress this with the warm bacon vinaigrette below, or just use your favorite blue cheese dressing. I think my Grandpa made an Italian dressing from scratch with hefty chunks of blue cheese in it. It's pretty amazing.

Spinach, Beet, Bacon, Egg, and Blue Cheese Salad
serves 4

For the salad:

12 cups fresh spinach (about 3 cups a person)
8 fresh beets, roasted and chopped (red or a mix of red and golden)
8 strips of bacon 
Blue cheese, crumbled
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Toasted walnuts or sunflower seeds for crunch (optional)
Kosher salt

For the dressing:

3-4 tablespoons bacon grease (leftover from frying the bacon)
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
11/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly Ground black pepper

Roast the beets, peel, and chop into thin strips. Place in a bowl and cover until ready to use.

Fry the bacon over medium heat in a heavy bottomed skillet until crispy on both sides and save the drippings for the dressing (8 strips of bacon should yield about 4 tablespoons of fat, which you'll need for the dressing). Drain cooked bacon on paper towels, and when cool enough to handle, crumble into a bowl. Cover until ready to use.

Boil your eggs. Try this perfect method.

To make the dressing: To the skillet of bacon drippings, add the vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, sugar, a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Dressing will separate as it sits, so whisk again just before serving.

Place a bowl of spinach out on the table surrounded by bowls with all the toppings (beets, eggs, blue cheese crumbles, toasted walnut pieces, crumbled bacon). Let each person add their desired amount of toppings salad bar style. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with salt. Add a splash or more of red wine vinegar to your bowl for extra zip if desired.

I loathe chewing fresh spinach (tastes great but makes my teeth gritty) so I used baby field greens for my lettuce. Spinach would be classic though.


  1. I'm not big fan of Toms, myself, but Converse are way cooler than DCs! Oh man, it's interesting how different fashions appeal to different people.

  2. Look out Mama! Haha. I totally did stuff like that to my mom. I remember buying hot pink converse and she wasn't so thrilled about it. I like to think my fashion sense is still a bit bold, but not too crazy now!